I don’t often do this but I wanted to let you know about a great seminar geared for Design Professionals hosted by our Austin AIA Office. For more Info and Registration here’s the link.
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This is a topic that’s hard for me to cover in one blog post! I’m coming up on my 20th year as a professional builder and I think that my understanding of HVAC design & execution is something that I’ll always be learning. So, let’s start with some obvious mistakes that aren’t even visible to most builders or buyers.
Mistake #1 – Oversized Systems.
I would venture to guess that 75%+ of the homes built in America this year will have HVAC systems that were designed on the first day of HVAC rough-in. The HVAC sub took the house’s square footage and divided by his sf/ton ballpark number and started to run ducts all in one day. Here’s an example from my area here in the Hot/Humid South. Most AC subs use 500sf/ton of house so a 2000 sf ranch style house would typically get a 4 Ton AC system installed. The problem with this is that every house has different orientations, different windows/doors, and very different insulation/air sealing than a house built even 5 years ago. Most houses in Texas have too large an AC unit for the house’s normal loads and so that 4 ton machine in a 2000 sf house might actually be 1 (or even 2) whole ton(s) too large. Too large of an AC means that on most days the AC will cool the house rapidly (maybe only needing 7-10 minutes to cool) and all those short cycles are terrible for dehumidification, will shorten equipment life, and are using more energy than is really needed to cool the house. Longer equipment run times are actually better with AC compressors. See this great blog post by my blogger buddy Allison Bailes for a detailed analysis on this subject.
The Smart Builders know that their houses need a true HVAC design done by an ACCA accredited professional. I have a third-party HVAC designer do an Energy Model and Manual J (load calculations) on every house I build. Then I take those to my HVAC contractor to solicit a bid. Continue ReadingRead More »
Have you ever lost a project because you were too “expensive”? I sure have! Last year I gave a “ballpark” estimate to a client & architect based on a schematic design and the clients couldn’t image why the cost to build the house with my company was “x” amount higher than another builder. Aren’t the plans and specs the same? How could there be such a difference in price between builders? Well, you know the ending… I lost the project.
But, I had a chance to drive by that other builder’s work a few weeks ago and I’m getting a pretty clear picture of why they were less expensive. So, I’m going to do a few blog posts that I’ll call “Rookie Builder Mistakes”. Let’s start with this house I visited (not one of my houses)Read More »