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ICF house?


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Dorothy & James's Forum Posts: 58
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By Dorothy & James in Tampa, FL on 6/19/2007


Anybody building an ICF house in the Tampa Bay area, or another part of Florida? I am interested in the product but have many questions. Like how do you run the exterior wall plumbing, and how do you install outlet boxes so they are secure?

Thanks, Dorothy


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By Brian in Dome-ville, FL on 6/20/2007


I am not building a traditional ICF house, but mine's similar (see the hoskens project construction log).  On the inside, electrical box holes are cut with a saw or a heat loop, the box is placed in the hole, and spray foam is used to fill in the edges.  It's secure and it can be once the foam cures.  Externally, the ICF is usually finished with stucco, so it's the same as any other stucco house.  For plumbing thru the wall from the inside to outside, you'll have to place a PVC chase tube, I believe.  The ICF company for whatever brand ICF you will use has all these questions answered already so don't worry.
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By georg in gainesville, FL on 9/15/2007


Dorothy,

I know there are people who will disagree with me, but I think that ICF is (one of) the best exterior wall construction method available. Especially in Florida, b/c of wind and water resistance, termite resistance, energy efficiency, labor (installation) savings, etc. that ICF offers.  I'm sure somebody who sells these systems can give you even more benefits.

Anyway, I am watching the construction of an ICF house here in Gainesville, FL and have a pic of the rough plumbing on the exterior wall.


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By georg in gainesville, FL on 9/15/2007


I thought I would put up a couple more ICF pics. These are of an interesting phase of construction. The first couple courses of ICF blocks have been laid and the window & door bucks have been set in place. 

-georg

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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 9/16/2007


Dorothy,

ICF is a great system for areas of the US that vary in temperature by greater than 20 degrees from the norm. Florida does not. Its temperature average is approx 70 and it rarely goes above or below 90 or 50 for long. 

Jason put a link to a study done by the University of Miami if I remember correctly, (see the thread " Looking for Contractor Consultant in Orlando" for more info; it is a long thread, but you will learn heaps) who studied the energy-cost savings using a control normal block house and one ICF. The energy saving were pennies. Spend the money on foam insulation for the roof and quality windows (vinyl, low-E windows) instead. Hence, we went with pre-cast walls and saved ourselves $7K-$10K in the process over ICF. Our walls were only $2.5K over our bids for block and I bid out for everything incl. SIPs. Remember, listen to the salesperson, they'll all want to be your best friend but take everything they say with a healthy pinch of salt and check it out. If they have an angle, question everything. 

If you use ICF, get an A/C person who knows what they are talking about. Taking the square footage under air and guessing your energy calcs is lazy and with ICF, risky.  Over-AC a tight house and you will get humidity problems. They should take into consideration the orientation of the house, the size and position of the windows, wall and roof insulation, the type of windows to be used, and the solar heat gain, etc. This is daunting. I went through 25 bids on this alone before I got someone who happened to be reasonable, great to work with and the only one who ACTUALLY knew what they were talking about, unlike the vast majority who only think they know what they are talking about. 

We have a Goodman AC unit. Yes, Trane has a better reputation, but they are practically the only manufacturer who did not update their units in April this year. Goodman did, and are the same company as Amana. They guarantee their units now for 10 years or lifetime; I can't remember which does which, as we will be selling our house in two years. But we have 4,438 sq ft under air and have for the entire house one five-ton unit, as its BTU's are so much bigger than Trane's. Our energy calcs came out as 4 & 7/8th tons, so we are pleased the insulation, etc. It has kept our AC cost down comparatively and therefore our electric bill down.

Hope some of this helps.

Lisa.


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By P in North, FL on 9/16/2007


Hello Lisa,

Did you ever find out what happened with lawsuit and the company in Alachua?

Thanks


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By Junior in Greensboro, NC on 6/30/2010


We purchased a three-ton Goodman unit last year and it was bad from the start. All the Freon leaked out due to a bad coil weld and valve. My installer got Goodman to replace the complete unit with a new one, and it was also bad. All the Freon leaked out of it also. It was something small with the weld, nothing major, so I told  my installer to just fix it. Spoke to him a couple weeks ago and he said Goodman never made good for the money he lost in Freon and the exchange. Here's my installers name and address; he can give you any information you want about the unit.

H 3 Sheet Metal
402 Tipton Pl
Greensboro, NC 27406
336.389-9007

My installer's name was Tim.
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