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Posted by Mike in Westminster, CO on 11/4/2010

The house has seen a flurry of activity over the past couple of weeks as the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing contractors came in to start their respective trades. The HVAC guys started their work first, since it is much easier for the plumbers and electricians to work around all that duct work than vice versa.

At the heart of the HVAC system is a high-efficiency, forced-gas Trane furnace, with a multi-zone damping system to control temperatures in each specific room in the house. In other words, via a remote control, I will be able set the temperature in each room to a desired degree of comfort, or I will be able to make certain rooms cooler or warmer than other rooms. On the cooling side, I had a five-ton central A/C system installed to take care of keeping the house cool in the summertime. I also had the same HVAC company install the gas fireplaces in the great room and master bedroom. The fireplaces will also be controlled with remote controls, and will be equipped with blowers to make the units more efficient. I went with a fairly large 45" fireplace in the great room, and a smaller 35" unit in the master bedroom. The total scope of the HVAC job took about a week and a half to complete, but the contractor did an excellent job on the system. Even the county building inspector, when he inspected the final work, commented on the excellent job they did. I am very pleased with their work.

The plumbers came in as soon as the HVAC guys installed the main trunks of the heating/cooling system. The plumbing took about the same amount of time as the HVAC guys to complete their job. The plumbing system is centered around PEX supply lines to distribute the water throughout the house. The interesting thing about this was that the plumbers installed the PEX the same way they would have if they had used copper; i.e. they used fittings and elbows to run the PEX through the house. What I expected was that they would just bend the PEX around corners and turns, since the PEX product is flexible enough to do this. This is how I commonly see PEX installed, but I have to admit it looks much more professional the way the plumbers installed it.

The plumbers did have a few obstacles to overcome in the way of working around floor joists and other obstacles that got in their way. They were generally able to work their way around them, but in certain areas it required me to call the framer back to move some framing around to accommodate the plumbing lines. I also had a Taco circulation pump and timer installed on the hot-water line. The pump keeps a small amount of hot water running through the PEX lines, which allows for instant hot water at all the faucet outlets through the house. I am going to especially like this feature, because I will no longer have to wait for the water to get hot when I turn the faucet on! In the end, all the water and vent/drain lines passed the pressure tests and the building inspection. Again as with the HVAC guys, I was very pleased with the plumber's job.

The electricians were the last to come in and worked around all the plumbing and duct work. The electricians followed the architects electrical plan to a tee, with just a few minor alterations made at my request. Those alterations consisted mostly of me adding some additional effect lighting in the dining room, kitchen, and master bedroom. The electrical job took a total of 7 complete days to finish.


Some of the plumbing installed
Basement ductwork
A few cold-air returns
The hot-water circulation pump and timer
The recessed lighting fixtures in the great-room vaulted ceiling.
Water heater and water pump components
Furnace and water heater

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