Sunday, March 22, 2009

Right-sized HVAC units and Geothermal or Solar Heat/AC options for your home.

News : Trends : Heating and Cooling Go Green :

Right-sizing of HVAC system

I heard a story through a friend of a friend that a homeowner in Chesterfield had to replace his HVAC unit. The house was about 14 years old and, from what I understand, the unit just wore out. The homeowner had four HVAC contractors give him an estimate for the replacement and all four of them said the original HVAC unit that the builder installed in the home was definitely too small for the square footage of the home.

In fact, one of the HVAC contractors was from the company that originally put the unit in the home for the builder. So when the contractor told him that the unit was too small, the homeowner asked him why his company installed it that way. The HVAC contractor swore that there was no way they would have put that unit in that sized house but the homeowner had the original paperwork to prove it. The HVAC contractor then said it must have been installed prior to the time he was personally working for the company.

Mis-sizing of heating and cooling equipment is an all-too-common occurance, especially if homeowners are buying spec houses in which the builder wanted to save money. Or perhaps his builder didn't order accurate load calculations from the original contractor. In addition, it is tempting for homeowners to purchase replacement systems that are too small because they cost less. On the flip side, sometimes both builders and homeowners can install units that are too large for the home. Since recent technology has improved, new smaller units can often be more energy efficient and therefore the appropriate solution. In this article from HGTVPro, writer Rob Fanjoy clearly states how the right-sized HVAC equipment can save homeowners money and can create a more energy-efficient and comfortable home. An excellent write-up that all homeowners should read.

Geothermal heat pumps: Digging deep for green

The HGTVPro article goes on to talk about the benefits of using the new geothermal HVAC units. While more expensive at retail cost than a non-geo unit, they come with energy tax credits up to 30% with no limit and "they have the biggest upside in terms of energy savings and environmental consciousness. They use the earth's natural below-surface temperature of about 55 degrees to provide heating or cooling to spaces above ground." The article goes on to say that the EPA "estimates annual heating savings of as much as 70% and cooling savings of close to 50%." These are significant savings for the homeowner, especially when annualized over the life of the unit.

Need assistance?

If you're a homeowner in the Central Virginia area, specifically Richmond, and you find yourself in the position of having to replace your HVAC unit, please call us to discuss your needs. First, we'll make sure that your unit requires replacement -- that may not be the only solution. Second, if it is determined that your unit does need to be replaced, we'll make sure that you not only get the right-sized unit for your home but that you also are presented with options including geothermal units and even the new Lennox solar-assisted units. These may not only make your home more energy-efficient and "green" but also more appealing to a home buyer in case you need to sell your home in the future.

I am a licensed professional mechanical engineer and started Marshall Mechanical in 2005 to service both residential and commercial clients. Previous to starting Marshall Mechanical, I worked for 15 years at the premier architecture firm in Richmond, designing HVAC systems for some of Richmond's largest companies, including the Dominion Energy Trading Floor, MCV's Gateway Building and Owens & Minor.

You deserve to call someone you can trust to help you make the right decisions to protect the investment you've made in your home. Call or tweet us anytime -- even if you just have a simple question about heating, cooling, plumbing, air filtration or moisture control. We're here for you and we pledge never to forget that.

- Sean Cantrell, 804.323.0189. You can find both me and Mike Smith on Twitter and LinkedIn
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1 comment:

Scott said...

You mention solar....the Dominion Energy Trading Floor was designed to have solar panels on its roof. Where are they?