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Old 03-21-2011, 09:17 AM   #1
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


IS SUPER INSULATION WORTH IT ????? HERE ARE RESULTS ON OUR DIY HOUSE.

Purchased this 3000 sq. ft. house in 1975 (built in 1973). I immediately began SUPER insulating it 2 + rooms each winter. By 1983 upon completion, we turned our furnace OFF. Didn't need it with 3 children.
Cost $2300 minus $2000 Fedral Rebate = $300. My neighbor with identical house has volunteered he pays in excess of $250 month for Natural gas.

1990 we became empty nesters. Thinking we needed a furnace we had house evaluated. Result - No furnace on market is small enough. Had the smallest apartment furnace available installed which would then also serve our Central AC in summer. Natural Gas Furnace.

2005 ORIGINAL AC died. NO CENTRAL AC UNIT ON MARKET SMALL ENOUGH. Had the smallest avaiable unit installed.

2008, a 30 minute TV program (broadcast nationwide) done using our house as centerpiece. I also removed the drywall in one room to see how everything looked after 25 years. Looked like new.

Our Energy Star rating is 9.8 out of a possible 10. Not bad for a retrofit.
Energy usage for all of 2010 - Heating, cooking, clothes dryer and hot water $493. Our highest electric bill for the hottest summer in 100 years was $55 for the hottest month.

Retirement and new home search. After all these decades SURELY new home builders and furnace manufactures would show improvements.
Once you live in a house like this with such a tremendous comfort factor, you never again want any thing else.

Search Results:
1.)Could not find a single builder that properly insulates new home in our area so we decided to stay put.
2.)There is STILL no furnace/AC on the market small enough for our house.
3.) Self designed and self installed Solar Hot Water System.

For home builders and Furnace/AC Maufacturers - GET MOVING!!!!!

For us, we just enjoy it and ride our tandem bicycle. Isn't that what seniors are supposed to do!!

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:52 AM   #2
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


Just out of curiosity, what is your location (climate zone)?

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Old 03-21-2011, 10:51 AM   #3
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


A Rheem Modulating Furnace, model RGFD (now probably superceded) 60,000 BTUH on lowest fire will output 22560 BTUH.

If you keep a constant temperature (probably do with your situation, it will just cruise along and maintain temp.

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Old 03-21-2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


I met someone who did the same super insulation 25 years ago. He heated his home with a small electric heater in the old furnace ducting and claimed that his monthly bill never exceeded $35.00 dollars a month.
It has made me wary of much of the high efficiency furnace dogma that my industry shills.
PS I have a 49 year old gas furnace with the vent going back through the return air plenum on its way to the chimney. I know the concerns that will be mentioned here about that style. I check it out every year.
When my new UEI meter read efficiency levels for it at 83% I called in the company rep tech for side by side testing that also came up with the same results.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


Quote:
Originally Posted by how View Post
PS I have a 49 year old gas furnace with the vent going back through the return air plenum on its way to the chimney. I know the concerns that will be mentioned here about that style. I check it out every year.
If I had a unit like that I'd be spending so much money on CO detectors that I could scrap it and buy a 95% furnace and still be money ahead. I might sound overly concerned, but being in the industry, I've seen too many close calls and actual deaths from CO poisoning that I wouldn't be able to sleep with that unit in my home. There is a reason they aren't made anymore.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:43 PM   #6
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


BRAGGART! What's the R value in the walls, attic, and foundation/crawl space? I'm impressed by those results in 1983. Because my house is limited by stone walls and 8 inch joists under the sorta-finished attic, I'd have to use cutting-edge aerogel to accomplish what you did 28 years ago in a 700 sq ft bigger house.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:02 PM   #7
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


hopefully this isn't some advertising spam because I really do want to know how he did it.


Even that long ago, the costs of adding the insulation seem to be quite minimal. I really want to know what he used and the entire system involved.

for heat, it sounds like that would be best served by electric heat. Each room would be individually heated and controlled and there would be no waste in pumping heat into rooms unnecessarily. No losses from exhaust which, from how this sounds, would be able to heat the house itself.

cooling would be a little trickier but I would look into some direct use (or via water to water exchanger) geothermal with individual fan coil units in each room.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:24 PM   #8
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


Actually, I'd like the question of the zone answered, because I have a rebuttal to the notion of shutting off the furnace in a 3,000 sq ft home with five residents north of zone 5: IMPOSSIBLE.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:06 PM   #9
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


Superinsulation is an approach to building design, construction, and retrofitting that dramatically reduces heat loss (and gain) by using much higher levels of insulation and airtightness than normal. A superinsulated house is intended to reduce heating needs very significantly and may even be heated predominantly by intrinsic heat sources (waste heat generated by appliances and the body heat of the occupants) with very small amounts of backup heat. This has been demonstrated to work even in very cold climates but requires close attention to construction details in addition to the insulation (see IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Implementing Agreement Task 13).
Superinsulation is one of the ancestors of the passive house approach. A related approach to efficient building design is zero energy building.
There is no set definition of superinsulation, but superinsulated buildings typically include:
  • Very high levels of insulation (typically Rip40 walls and Rip60 roof)
  • Details to ensure insulation continuity where walls meet roofs, foundations, and other walls
  • Airtight construction, especially around doors and windows
  • a Heat recovery ventilation to provide fresh air
  • No large windows facing any particular direction
  • Much smaller than conventional heating system, sometimes just a small backup heater
Nisson & Dutt (1985) suggest that a house might be described as "superinsulated" if the cost of space heating is lower than the cost of water heating
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superinsulation
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:11 AM   #10
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No furnace small enough for super insulated house


True modulating furnace, 2 stage AC or heat pump is your best bet

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