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ICFs vs. conventional foundation and walls


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By David in Salem, OR on 9/19/2005


Are ICF's the way to go cost-wise both in the building phase and over the long haul? Don't the long-haul savings depend on the heating/cooling source you choose? If so, what is the best choice for HVAC? My plan is a one-story home on a daylight basement (about 5,000 square feet living space) in Oregon (mild winters, hot summers). I'd like to go top-to-bottom ICF's. Is that the way to go? Thanks from Oregon.  


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By Jon in Ellicott City, MD on 9/19/2005


IMHO - If you can handle the additional upfront costs, you'll never regret building with ICF.
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By John in Erie, CO on 9/19/2005


ICF's definitely cost more up-front, period. But over the long haul, you won't regret it. HVAC savings will vary based on what units you choose, but ICF will make all of them use less energy.

Now, if you are heating/cooling basement space, compared to an uninsulated foundation, the savings will be huge.

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 9/19/2005


It is hard to say whether or not ICF costs more than stick; for me ICF was a cost savings over stick. However my lumber bids are also from back when lumber was at the peak price in 2004 (e.g. my original OSB roof deck bid was over $20/sheet; I saw this recently at under $10 for the same sheet).  However given that example, I would say that ICF is definitely higher cost than framing.

However you have to compare apples to apples, ICF is truly a Cadillac building process. If you are going for lowest cost, comparing ICF to stick will likely show sticks to be cheaper. But if you are building top-line, to get sticks even close to ICF performance for infiltration you need to use Icynene foam insulation (or a competitor such as a bio-based product), which starts at $1.25/s.f for a 3-1/2" frame (2x4 stick) and goes up from there. You can build a stick house as tight as ICF, but not easily and not likely.

Considering the reduced HVAC needs and energy costs, ICF will always pay you back. I currently own two houses in the same area. One is 2,700 conditioned space and typical construction. The other is 3,800 conditioned space and ICF. The stick house costs over 3x as much to cool, and the HVAC can't keep up when it gets over 95F. The ICF house will hold 72F, even when it exceeds 105F outside (a sure indication that my HVAC system is oversized for the application - a bad thing). ICF is definitely worth the investment. I wouldn't waste my time with ICF if I weren't going to do the whole house, though. Take ICF to the eaves or don't use it at all.

If I were starting over today (I am finished, thank you very much, not starting over any time soon), I would look closely at SIP and Superior Walls for the basement. With properly installed SIP, you will get the same level of energy efficiency as ICF.


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By David in Salem, OR on 9/20/2005


Thanks, Kenneth, for your answer. In our area, heat pumps are popular for HVAC. I am considering two separate air-source heat pumps (one for the main floor, one for the basement). Both levels are about the same square footage. We have plenty of acreage, so I might also consider a ground-source heat pump--but the cost is quite high. Have you used a heat pump, or do you like other heat/cooling methods? Again, thanks (from Oregon) for your assistance.
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By David in Salem, OR on 9/20/2005


Thanks, Jon. Did you build your own forms, or let an experienced contractor do it? Do you think $11 per sq. ft. of wall is a good price from an experienced contractor to erect the forms and pour the concrete? Thanks again from Oregon.
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By David in Salem, OR on 9/20/2005


John, thanks for your answer. Would you recommend building the blocks yourself or letting a reputable company do it? I'm leaning toward the contractor-build option. I've been quoted $11 per sq. ft. of wall to form it up and pour their supplied concrete. Again, thanks from Oregon.
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By Jon in Ellicott City, MD on 9/20/2005


I set all the forms myself, including the rebar/bracing/scaffolding. It wasn't that hard. If I had a helper or two, it would have been a breeze. 

Not knowing anything about you or your house, I couldn't make a recommendation on whether or not to build your own block. I can only say that the process went pretty smoothly for me. I expect that most people who are moderately skilled could handle the task easily.

My final cost will come in around $8 per square foot. That includes all material costs, concrete, concrete pump, and $1,600 for an experienced crew to pour the walls. I asked about the cost of getting the crew to set the forms and got a quote of about $2.50 per square foot. So, based on that, I'd say that your $11 quote is in line. 

For me though, that $2.50 translated into $7,500!!! That's a big chunk of change - way more than I could justify.


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By David in Salem, OR on 9/20/2005


Ditto my other reply--much appreciation for your thoughts from Oregon.
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By Kevin in West Chester, OH on 9/21/2005


This thread has talked a fair bit about HVAC... I had a very difficult time getting my HVAC people to consider ICF energy efficiency in sizing my units. I finally purchased a program (HVAC-Calc 4.0) and did my own load calculation to size the walls. I have no HVAC experience, but the program was easy for me to use. A few things I would have changed about the program, but all in all, I really liked it. I have heard there is also a similar program on the Portland Cement Association website (do a search, not sure offhand what it was... something like pca.com)

My house is about a 2,600 s.f. one-story, with full walkout basement (so, about 5,200 s.f total)... I sized my HVAC system as though the entire house would be 'conditioned' space. This netted me a three-ton AC unit, and an 80,000 BTU heating system, if I recall correctly. Both a fair bit smaller than the HVAC people had told me.

I had two motivations for ICF... 1) Sound - we are 200 yards from a railroad track and my wife was concerned about it being too loud 2) Energy Efficiency - which helped justify the extra up-front expense for the sound.

One frustration for my wife... it took my ICF contractor about two weeks for the basement and two weeks for the first floor... a fair bit longer than our neighbors' homes going up. So, she was always frustrated with 'why are we going so slow'. This likely isn't a big factor for most people, but it is a consideration.

Kevin


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 9/21/2005


I ended up with a traditional A/C and forced-air gas furnace. However, I considered ground-source heat pump and air-to-air heat pump. The geothermal (ground source) was simply too expensive in my application and based on the energy efficiency of the house, would have never paid back. I seriously considered a traditional heat pump, and would have gone this direction except EVERY technician I talked to recommended against it. Despite how well they work on paper, the techs recommended against them and I figured they must have some trade knowledge. I finally asked; they said they require more maintenance and the only payback advantage is that we qualify for reduced electrical rates (which they said could also be accomplished by slapping a heat pump sticker on a traditional unit). Given that, and that all except one of them didn't use heat pumps in their own houses or shop, I decided against the heat pump (the lone exception used a heat pump because the area he was in required heat pumps for HVAC, but he said he just used his breaker to shut it off so the system operated on backup heat provided with natural gas). There must be a reason the techs were 100% against heat pumps.

Finding someone to provide a good Manual J calculation was another challenge. The analysis run showed I needed a three-ton unit for 25F drop (sized for 97F), including ICF, R-50 roof, low-E insulated windows, etc. The techs then applied their "rule of thumb" and said that this was simply too small for a house this size (my ICF subcontractor said the same thing) and recommended either upsizing or installing one of the super efficient two-stage units (really just two compressors in the same box). To accommodate my HVAC tech (who does have experience with ICF) we put in a 3-1/2 ton A-coil so that if the compressor was indeed undersized we could upgrade the system simply by dropping a larger box outside. When he installed the unit, it was 85F inside and he said it would take 24 hours to cool the house. He was surprised that by the evening the house was already cycling off as the target temperature (72F) had been reached. 

I have a 12 SEER A/C, the least efficient I could buy was a 10 SEER, I think the minimum now is 13 SEER, or it soon will be. Why not more efficient? Based on the numbers and return on investment, a 10 SEER was the most cost effective, but these units are built to a price point first, and quality point second. The people buying these are interested in price only, quality is secondary. The components in a 12 SEER unit are nicer (scroll compressor vs. piston compressor, etc.). By upsizing the A-coil, my A/C is more efficient at the expense of humidity removal (I get better cooling with less humidity removal, given my oversized conditioner this is NOT good), and coupled with the variable-speed furnace, it should give me close to 13 SEER actual performance. I eliminated the higher-efficiency units because they didn't use R-22 (R-22 operates at lower pressures than Puron, the techs appreciate this when servicing units) and they are more complex, requiring special training for servicing. I figure special training equates to less-qualified techs, equates to higher cost for service, and they all agreed, especially considering the higher cost of components in these units.

Why would I want to use R-22, aren't they phasing this out? Good question, R-22 is being phased out. Given the experience we had with phasing out the first round of CFCs (including R-12), I really don't think this will be a problem. R-22 is cheaper than Puron (on a per lb. basis) today, and I think the supply is stable. It will be phased out, but given the life expectancy of the unit, I don't think it will matter. When it needs replacement at the end of its service life, R-22 will not be an option.

Please note that my house was designed for energy efficiency that the Manual J didn't account for. It is passive solar (you wouldn't know it by looking at it though ;-) with large overhangs that effectively block the sunlight in the summer (and apparently quite effective given my system's performance). I am also using ICF, with supposed R-50 wall (I would argue that controlling the infiltration provides the bulk of the cost savings, as does the tempering effect of the thermal mass even though it is not truly thermal mass in the sense of passive solar more so than the insulating value itself). I also have R-50 attic insulation (a relatively small upcharge from the R-30 code requirement). I have low-E windows (make sure you get the low-E coating on the correct window pane, your climate dictates this) with large overhangs to block summer sun, double cellular shades (about R-4, not much, but take every bit).

When you look at your house as a complete "system," you will find that it is far more cost effective to upgrade for energy efficiency with these techniques than it is to try to come through the back door and use a low-efficient house and higher-efficiency HVAC. If I installed geothermal (at any cost) in my original house example above (the 2,700 s.f.), it would still not approach the utility bills I get with a 50% larger ICF house and the least efficient HVAC unit on the market. Design for energy efficiency from a blank slate, it always pays you back. ICF is simply one way to accomplish this, it can be done with other techniques as well.


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By Kevin in West Chester, OH on 9/21/2005


Ken mentions the air-infiltration value vs. R-value... and doing just a few calculations with the HVAC-Calc 4.0 spreadsheet supports this.

In my decision-making process, I went with Phoenix ICF blocks, which offer only 2 1/8" foam on each side. My other leading alternative was Nudura with 2 5/8" on each side. I did different 'scenario' testing on the walls... using different "true" R-values. By "true", I mean 2 1/8"x ~ R-4/inch vs. 2 5/8"x R-4 (and even did a scenario with 3" w/R-4/inch)... this "true" value gives you a R-16 to R-22 range vs. Ken's comment of R-50. The R-50 is an 'equivalent' R-factor.. which includes the air-infiltration and thermal-mass benefits of ICF homes. Anyway... when I did the various 'true' R-values, it had only very minor changes on the overall HVAC requirements... helping support Ken's comment that the air infiltration is a big 'value add'. 

Ken's other point about 'passive energy-efficiency' can kind of be built into the HVAC-Calc program... you provide all the detail in terms of # of windows, size of windows, # of panes, low-E vs. not low-E (maybe Argon- or Krypton-filled or not), which way (North, S.,E.,W.) your house and each window faces... AND you also provide an assumption on window shades/blinds usage. It suggests using 0% to be conservative saying on a beautiful sunny day, you probably won't want to have your blinds pulled... which, I did use 0%. In the case of 'large' eaves/soffits that provide shade 'value', you could use some factor say 25" blinds/shades... to help account for that element of energy-efficiency... not precise, but it would give you an idea.


The HVAC-Calc program was supposedly designed/developed (and sold) by the guy who developed the Manual J calculation process.

Some things I didn't find in the program (and I only looked briefly) were SIP, Icynene insulation, or blown-in cellulose alternatives. Thus, I couldn't get a great comparison of those... but, maybe there is that option and I didn't find it. I think you could email the developer and ask him, he was very responsive. 

I made a post about this program before... so, if you want more detailed information you can search my name or HVAC-Calc and probably find it.

Kevin


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By John in Erie, CO on 9/21/2005


I installed and poured all my forms myself - that saved a bunch of money; installed-PSF of wall prices here are outrageous. My cost for all materials, window wells, structural steel, rebar, form-a-drain, VBUCK and braces, concrete, and ICF's was about $9.15 per square foot of wall.

ICF's go up slower - I've worked on or followed closely 6 different ICF projects now, and they all go up slower than stick-framing. The foundation/basements take about the same amount of time as a conventional foundation, but the main levels suffer in schedule compared to stick framing.

Costwise - cement rises just like lumber, so I've found the delta to be pretty consistent, although less volatile with ICF. A lot of cement is being redirected down to Katrina, and you'll see it in cement prices. I saw an 82-lb bag of Portland jump from $7.28 to $8.34 overnight here at evil orange.

Hence my assertion that ICF's cost more - my timing was similar to Ken's, and ICF was pretty darn competitive with stick-framing as I built my house, but the time, extra planning, sometimes extra engineering, etc., all add up.  But after living in the house, I'd do it all again.

A few weeks ago, we had a big cold front come in. Now, we live on a foothill at the edge of the mountains, so when a front comes it, it comes in... With 60-80 (higher?) mph gusts, pallets move around in the kind of wind that hits now and then... Anyway, I heard the front coming in at night, after we were in bed, and got up and shut the window so it A) wouldn't howl, and B) wouldn't get pulled off the house. About a half-hour later, my wife woke up from a sound sleep, grumbled that I should leave the windows open, and went over to open it...  As soon as the casement got open an inch, a monstrous howl shook the room, and she quickly closed the window again... "Oh, THAT's why you closed the window"...

You won't hear anything.

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By Randy in Dunlap, TN on 2/24/2006


All,

     Great info on this subject. Can someone give a "layman's" description of ICF and SIP, etc. and how it ties into the foundation? My first rodeo, and can't seem to find simple explanations of ICF. In simple terms, it seems to be concrete poured walls that are insulated, is that correct? Also, is an ICF foundation the same?? Obviously, the subfloor must be engineered and designed to account for the weight, yes? ICF for idiots would help me if anyone can explain. Also would like to know a percentage of increased cost for ICF vs. stick if able.

Randy


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By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 2/24/2006


I did load calculations for years while selling to HVAC contractors. I have never understood why for every one contractor who will take the time to do it right, there are 10 who will not. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to do a load-calc comparison on a ranch home. Did two load calcs. The first one was standard 2x4 construction. Heating required around 53,000 BTU net equipment output. The second calculation, I changed the outside walls to ICF, and put insulation under the basement slab floor. Dropped the BTU requirement to around 24,000. 

The biggest problem is your air circulation. You can find the equipment to do the job without oversizing, but when working with small CFM numbers, the duct system and temperature controls have to be able to deliver the correct air volume to make it work well. 6" round flex duct all over the place with one central return air grille just doesn't cut it.


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By Randy in Dunlap, TN on 2/25/2006


Richard,

       Are you saying that the benefits of ICF are overshadowed because you typically can't find an HVAC system that fits the reduced requirements of an ICF home? I have read that most HVAC contractors aren't ICF-savvy and tend to over-engineer the requirement, but I didn't realize it was a show-stopper. Thanks for the insight.

Randy


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By James in Spring Branch, TX on 2/25/2006


Kenneth, we are in the final stages of planning and have been pro-SIP. I went to the home show yesterday, and saw a closeup of ICF for the first time. I have been to a Precision Panel fab shop and was very impressed. ICF looks like they could be stronger, but from some of the posts, they sound like they take longer to put up. I also have a concern about the true R-rating. We will be on a concrete slab; the concrete columns that are poured in the ICF walls will be a part of the slab, which will conduct temp. changes. Even though there is insulation around concrete and it will be better than batt any day, does ICF have the consistency that SIP does with its insulation factors? My other concern is if it does take longer to build than stick (time is money) then why do you think the pros are for going ICF and not SIP?

James


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By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 2/25/2006


You CAN find HVAC equipment with the correct capacity. What you can’t find are contractors who understand the importance of sizing any equipment properly, let alone the air-distribution system. There are very few that will do the paperwork needed to get it right.

Example: standard home; 3,000 square feet.

Six contractors walk in. One tells you 3-ton; four contractors tell you 3.5-ton. The sixth contractor will say I need a set of prints and will get back to you. He comes back with a set of load calculations, design, and quote for a 2.5-ton system.

Now you change the construction to ICF. The requirements fall to 1.75 or 2 tons. The proper equipment applied to the project will only push 800 CFM. Now you have a duct sizing problem. You can't get the duct sized correctly to deliver the air properly. What do you do? The designer has to look for two-stage equipment and zoning systems to control humidity and provide the velocity needed for correct air discharge from the supply registers for each zone.

The first five contractors will be less expensive, and deliver larger-capacity equipment, and larger duct system. They will try to talk you out of higher-quality equipment and control systems. The sixth contractor will be the most expensive because of the proper equipment and control choices made. You have to know your requirements, what questions to ask, and what is available before looking for HVAC contractors. It's the only way to compare on a level playing field.
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By Jim in Beverly Beach, FL on 2/26/2006


Richard,

So (for a relative newbie) what you're saying is when using super-insulated with minimal-air-infiltration envelopes (ICF or SIP) you typically will need smaller duct size because of the lower volume of air delivered by the lower-capacity right-sized system, correct?

I understand zoning, but what does "two-stage equipment" mean on a mechanical and functional level?

I'm assuming you also recommend an ERV (energy recovery ventilator) in those minimal-air-infiltration envelopes.

Thanks

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By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 3/1/2006


Jim,

A quick example,

A home has a heat loss of 53,501 BTU and gain of 24,692 typically a 60,000 furnace and 2.5-ton A/C would be installed (1,000 CFM blower). Change to ICF and the loss drops to 23,350 and the cooling load drops to 16,749. The smallest furnace available is a 45,000 and smallest A/C is 2-ton with a net capacity of 23,400. (800 CFM blower) The furnace and A/C are both too large for the load. The duct must be sized to deliver 800 cfm, not 1,000 cfm.

By changing the 45,000 BTU furnace to a two-stage furnace, the low stage better matches the load, and the second stage is still available if ever needed. Now you take the two-stage equipment and add zoning with multiple thermostats and dampers. If designed correctly, the theory is that the weather would have to get severe for all zones to call for heating or cooling at the same time for an extended period. Therefore it could be possible to never need the full capacity of the smallest unit on the market.

You must remember that for cooling to work properly, the system must run long enough for dehumidification to take place. With ICF, SIP, and AAC, humidification must be controlled.

The ducts are smaller, the equipment is high tech with smaller BTU capacities, the actual complete system price may be higher, but you have better control, increased comfort, and even temperatures throughout the home. (If sized and installed properly.)


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By Jim in Beverly Beach, FL on 3/5/2006


Richard,

Thanks for the information. The HVAC puzzle is starting to make sense. Here is a link for what seems to be some good information about two-stage air conditioning: tencommandmentscompany.com/airconditioningandheating/Twospeed Definitely seems like a high-SEER two-stage cooling unit is the way to go.

I am trying to figure out what is the best way to space heat for our situation, maybe you can help.

We will be .3 mile from the east coast of Florida about halfway between St. Augustine and Daytona. The climate is pretty moderate there. Long cooling season and short and not severe heating season. I am leaning toward SIP (structural insulated panel) construction for a very tight and high R-value envelope.

Natural gas is NOT piped in; the cost of burying a tank is about $2,500 plus the cost of plumbing the house for gas. We are fine cooking with electric, though we would miss the mood of a gas fireplace appliance.

Initially I thought that a heat pump would be best for heat. But I have heard a lot of warnings about the repair and maintenance costs of a heat pump. Also, from what I can tell, if you size your inside coil for a heat pump there are problems with it being oversized for cooling. The site mentioned above has some information on heat pumps too:
tencommandmentscompany.com/airconditioningandheating/heatpumps.

Maybe heat strips in the HVAC system are the way to go. We would pay more for resistance heating but the short heating season and low cost of installing and maintaining such a system would balance it out and make it best. What do you think?

Here is the main air conditioning page for that site. Lots of information all all aspects of heating and cooling:
tencommandmentscompany.com/airconditioningandheating.

Jim


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By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 3/5/2006


Jim,

I can't comment on which way would be best for you without reviewing plans and load calculations. I, along with other HVAC system design professionals, know that no two buildings are alike. There are several options available. Factors including family size, home construction, weather, energy costs, area of the country, even elevation above sea level must be considered. The amount of fireplaces and fireplace style in a home must be factored in.


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By David in Ocoee, FL on 3/5/2006


Jim,

My decision to go with heat strips (electric heat coils), instead of a heat pump is based on a repair bill that I had to pay years ago when the reversing valve went bad in my heat pump. I have had and heard of some bad experiences with heat pumps. In my opinion, heat pumps are high maintenance. The truth of the matter is that the more you need heat, the less efficient a heat pump is. Example: it is 40 degrees outside and you want to keep warm inside. At 40 degrees, your heat pump will not be capable of producing the heat you need to keep comfortable. Your heat pump will then go into what is called "Emergency" cycle. In other words, the heat strips (electric heat) will turn on. That is why I said that heat pumps do not produce heat when you most need it.

Concerning the R-7 insulated tilt-up walls (you know who I mean), I agree with your assessment of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory study that I posted on the Florida site concerning the evaluation of wall R-values. If you keep the thermostat around 79 (and I do), R-7 walls are sufficient. But if you like it around 72 degrees and live in south or central Florida, I would not even consider R-7 walls. As for me, I am going to consider the middle-of-the-road approach. I am in the process of getting a quote from ThermaSAVE for R-26 SIP walls and R-30 SIP roof panels. As soon as I get the ThermaSAVE quote, I am going to get another quote for R-13 tilt-up walls and then analyze the costs. What do you think about that idea, Jim?  I wish all this were simpler, but such is life!

Thanks,

David


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By Jim in Beverly Beach, FL on 3/6/2006


I sent the same questions to a guy who has the tencommandmentscompany.com website and here is his reply:

Thanks Jim, I am glad that you liked the website.

I like your conclusions. Even though the winters are so mild, because energy has become so costly and because single-glazed windows allow so much heat loss, perhaps you would want to use double-glazed or triple-glazed windows. A little radical for your locale perhaps, but a real help in cold weather. Also, there would be some savings in the hot weather.
 
If you have a design-oriented contractor, you might explore twin coils or split coils controlled with liquid-line solenoid valves. Use one coil of the proper size for good dehumidification in the cooling mode and bring on a second coil in the heating mode so that the total coil capacity would be suitable for the heating mode. This would allow a heat pump to be used without sacrificing dehumidification and without incurring the dreaded DSS also known as Dirty Sock Syndrome (bad smell). Plenty of room for transition and plenum would be necessary to ensure identical air temperatures would be in each duct.
 
Only buy top-of-the-line heat pumps and use quality, trained contractors to avoid problems.
 
Heat strips alone are not a bad idea, just spend more to seal the home and to reduce heat loss out the windows.
 
Just know that a heat pump puts out three to four times as much heat for the dollar as does the strip heater.
 
I would like to know what you decide and how it turns out. Perhaps in a year or two.
 
All the best,
 
Henry Wall

Richard,

I realize you can't comment specifically, but if you would, philosophize about these issues.

Thanks,

Jim

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By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 3/6/2006


Jim,

I understand what he is saying and have done the exact same thing. Doing it that way is very expensive. In my area, to get it right would require a good commercial refrigeration installer and engineer or two separate outdoor units, indoor units, with a common duct system, and a control expert to wire it all together. If done correctly it will work, but finding a residential HVAC contractor with the knowledge to install and work on it would be a nightmare. If using one outdoor unit and two coils indoors, the outdoor unit has to be modified to control pressures and oil return to the compressor while only using one coil for humidity. When you do this you void factory warranties. 

All the manufacturers have two-stage units on the market with humidity control for the fan operation. Matched with the proper air handler, you can accomplish the same thing using a combination thermostat/humidistat that is also available. 

Why complicate something that is fairly simple and pre-tested at the factory and ARI rated? Use one multi-stage unit, a zoning-control system with the right thermostat/humidistat, and a good duct system to get the job done.


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By Jim in Beverly Beach, FL on 3/6/2006


David,

I will be very interested in seeing how your bids come back on SIP vs. tilt-up. When you get them, post them on this thread or on the Florida thread. Maybe Richard, on this thread, can do load calculations for you once you get to that point. He seems very knowledgeable about cost-benefit concerns and how to do load calcs when you are using the tight and highly-insulated building systems. It seems like he favors two-stage heat pump over heat strip alone, like what Jason is going to be using. I talked to my local Atlanta, AC guy today and he was all about using a heat pump.

Is there some way you can get access to data on, I think it is called "heating degree days" or something like that, for different cities? That way you can see just how many heating days that you would have. For the Orlando, FL and Palm Coast, FL area there are certainly a number of days that are below 40 degrees F but not too many that are at 20 degrees F or less. Heat pump will really save some energy dollars and those high number of cool days where you need heat but it is not real cold.

Jim
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By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 3/6/2006


I use weather data all the time. It's in my software. Be careful with it.  Sometimes you use degree days and sometimes bin data. It depends on the type of equipment you are running the estimated operating-cost audit on.
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By David in Ocoee, FL on 3/7/2006


Jim,

I am also in favor of heat pumps. It is the maintenance that I am concerned with. Perhaps heap pumps have improved since I last had to deal with them. I am considering going with American Standard, because many seem to agree that it is very good equipment and they offer an extremely high SEER rating. It is my understanding that it is Trane's residential division. 

Concerning the tilt-up quote, I don't think I will be pursuing it at this point. Cara (Jason's wife) has some serious reservations about the 2/1/2 sandwich panels that they were going to use. Something about the way the truss tie straps are attached (or not attached) to the panel header. They are now consulting with poured-in-place vendors. I suspect that the cost disparity will disappear once it is all said and done. For more on this continuing saga, go to the Florida site.

Jim, now maybe we can go back to the Florida site and begin posting again without fear of stepping on anyone's toes because of the tilt-up thing. Once I get the ThermaSAVE quote and another quote from globalbuilding.net (Global Building Solutions) I will post the results on the Florida site. Global Building Solutions is another fiber-cement SIP panel manufacturer out of South Carolina. If anyone here posts a question for me, I will respond here as well, because I am subscribed to both forums at this point. Always glad to help if I can.

Take care Jim,

Dave


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