This article is part of our ongoing home construction specification plan series.
Assembling a Home Construction Specification Plan — Spec Plan I: HVAC
An essential “ingredient” for every new home is the HVAC system — your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning — as maintaining a proper indoor climate is critical toward providing a comfortable living environment. Homes today are much more energy efficient than those built a generation or two ago as therma pane windows, better insulation, and improved duct work play a significant role in reducing energy usage while providing adequate levels of heating and cooling. Let’s take a look at what you need in an HVAC system that does its job well and brings real home energy savings to you.
Get In The Zone
Zone control will help distribute heating and cooling much more efficiently. For homes with two or more stories and for all homes 2500 square feet and larger, it makes sense to divide the home up into energy sections. If you spend most of your day on one level or in one area of the home, then why waste energy by heating or cooling the rest of the house at the same temperatures? Consider installing more than one system if your house is very large or use zone damper systems where multiple thermostats and ducts provide varying levels of energy control throughout the house.
Let’s Get Efficient
With so many people concerned about their personal energy usage, finding ways to save on energy costs is important. Consider solar or wind power as supplements to your regular HVAC system, but if that isn’t practical you can always make your home heating and cooling system as efficient as possible with the equipment you choose. A properly designed and installed duct work system with adequate duct sealing is a start — avoid losing heating or cooling that should be used to regulate room temperatures. Check the energy ratings on your heating/cooling pack, furnace or central air conditioning unit and go with those HVAC systems offering provable energy savings. Contact your electric or gas company for information on selecting the right equipment for your home’s needs. Some utility companies will provide a free energy audit to help you choose the best HVAC system.
Consider Humidification and Dehumidification
If the air is too dry in your home, that can cause a number of health related issues including sore throats or nose bleeds. Adequate humidification control adjusts to what is going on outside of your home and it will lessen static electricity and help preserve wood furniture as well as your tiling, woodwork and doors.
Air Quality Matters
The quality of your home’s air shouldn’t be taken for granted. As today’s homes are better sealed than ever before, heat and cooling leakage levels are much lower. However, tightly sealed homes can be breeding grounds for germs, stale odors, dust, etc. Change your air filters frequently and consider various types of electronic air cleaners which can help remove indoor air pollution.
Finally, when you move your furniture into your home, you’ll want to make sure that all vent and register areas are kept unblocked to maximize air circulation and to provide even distribution of your home heating and cooling. Choosing the right HVAC system will save on energy, provide adequate heating and cooling, and keep the inside air clean with the best systems eventually paying for themselves.
To help you build your home, please download a free copy of our construction spec worksheet.