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Old 01-22-2012, 09:09 AM   #16
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information information infomration. you as the consumer must gather as much as you can in order for the new system to work correctly.
I would like to make sure that you understand that each and every install is a custom job. There is no standard install. there are easy ones and hard ones. there are well done ones and hack jobs. Educate yourself on how these systems work and what they need to best survive, including annual service.
With that said here are the steps.....
1. have an energy audit (blower door, ir camera etc) done by someone who will not be selling you the repairs. this will allow you to understand where you home is losing heat or cool. Fix all or some of these issues before you buy a new system.
2. after heat loss repairs are done, have a second blower door done. this will allow you to size your new hvac system correctly.
3. have a professional perform a manual J heat/cool load analysis. this will tell you how large or small you heating and cooling system needs to be.
4. have a manual d analysis done to determine if you duct work is correctly sized for the heating and cooling load found in the manual j analysis.
5. teach yourself about static pressures, register volume, throw and sound. also understand return air sizing and large media filter options. learn about the proper install processes like mastic and tape. Learn about fiber board ducts, flex ducts, sheet metal ducts etc... learn about the proper way to install things. including the electrical connections. in other words become a self trained inspector.
6. find a contractor. dont go low, or high priced. somewhere in the middle of the road. check up on this company with the internet and or other customers, but be aware other customers may not know what a good install is.
when its all done, sit back and enjoy the comfort!!!!
my story is that I had a 22 yo 5 ton system replaced and didnt see any change in the electical bill. we went from a 10 seer to 16 seer. I searched the internet found a lot of information. I bought a manometer, a hand held anemometer, mastic, tape, steel duct work, caulk and insulation.
I found that the static pressure in the system was about 1.5 inches of water. I found that the flex duct was installed wrong in the entire house. I found that the plenum was designed wrong. I found duct leaks everywhere. I found the return was not big enough. I found that the rooms with the doors closed were over pressured. I found that the 220 volt feed lines were rubbing on the cabinet of the heat pump. I found the wrong gauge wire was used. but here is the kicker... the system was working.
I removed all the flex duct and replaced it with steel duct. I double wrapped the attic ducts in r26 insulation. I had a new plenum designed and built. I sealed up the outside envelope of the house with about 100 tubes of caulk (wood sided house!!!). I changed the register grills for less restriction and better throw. I added a second return and 4 inch media filters. I sealed up as much of the ductwork as I could reach (most is in the wall!!). I added transfer ducts in the rooms with doors. I added a programmable thermostat too!!! (with wifi for remote control and data logging)
when I was done, the static pressure was down to .5 or so. The CFM totals from the supply registers went from about 700 cfm to a little under 1400. The electric bill droped 25 percent for the last 6 months. The amount of dust in the house is way down, even with three dogs. Yes this was all very hard, messy and time consuming work (did I tell you that I hate attics????? ). but the results are outstanding in terms of comfort and economy. now if I could just swap out the 5 ton for a 4 ton system, I would be really really happy (short cycling still, but offsets for 4 degrees helps) and find a supplier of turning vanes!!!
bottom line is that you as the homeowner have to become informed, have to find the issues and have to either fix or have the issues fixed before the install. you must be aware of installer workmanship and watch out for shortcuts from your installers. but if you pick a real pro, there will be no shortcuts!!!!!
as an aside, thank you to all the members of this and other boards who helped me to become an informed consumer!!!


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Old 01-22-2012, 09:45 AM   #17
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Winston-Salem NC
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Bob, on the right side of the keyboard in the middle is a BIG key that says "return" on it.
You shouldn't be so afraid to use it.

There's also nothing wrong with going back and adjusting the text layout...
it makes reading easier. Especially when the information is new.

btw, thanks for compiling it.


Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-22-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 01-22-2012, 01:38 PM   #18
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Yep, should have taken a little more time with that post.

I hate to capitalize, I am a really bad speller, so I use word to spell check. Word does not put the returns in correctly, when you cut and paste into this forum.

sorry about that I will try harder next time!!!!!!!!!!


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