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slimngrizzly

New home- Heating and A/C... What to do????

14 posts in this topic

Folks, im putting up a new place on some family property. Its a 32x36, 1150 sq/ft garage with 2nd story living quarters up above it. 2x6 construction, blown in insulation throughout, just a simple "box", nothing fancy. I want to make it affordable for me... but do it right.

I am going to put the in-floor heat in the lower level garage floor but I am just lost and confused as to what to do for the rest???

Propane, electric, geothermal, forced air, heat pump, blah blah blah.... Theres so many options and cost differences. I think the geothermal sounds like the ticket, but is it going to pay off on a place this small? Is it worth borrowing more to get it???

Anyone have any good thoughts, ideas, suggestions on whats worked well for you in heating and A/C for your home? Any do's or dont's?

Thanks so much for any advice, good or bad!

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if you are running the in-floor on the main level, that heat will rise and heat some of your living quarters. My aunt has a rambler house with in-floor in the basement and they have forced air as a backup. they rarely run their forced air( 0 degrees or colder), as the main level stays warm from the in-floor in the basement.

Maybe put a few electric baseboards in the living area to supplement the in-floor below.

Insulate the walls and roof well, and not the ceiling/floor in between the two levels.

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My son works in HVAC, and they are installing a lot of air source heat pumps. These can be used for both heating and cooling, but they only work down to about 20 degrees or so for heating, so you will want another source for your main heat. My electric co-op offers a reduced electric rate for a dual-fuel setup like this. There is one unit on the market called a "mini-split", where the heat pump is installed outside the building and the inside installation is 1 or more wall-hung units. These are considerably less expensive than geothermal to install.

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If you can afford it, give yourself some options. When I remodeled my home it had forced-air fuel oil and I added electric baseboard throughout my home. Would have used an electric plenum heater but my basement ceilings are too low to fit it. The advantage I got was individual room zoning which is nice.

Anyway, I installed the electric heat on a dual-fuel contract with my electric supplier so the rate for heating is less than half per kwh. I calculated where the break-even point is and when fuel oil is less, I use the forced air and when the electric heat is less, I use the electric. To do it right I had to consider the efficiency of both system, the BTU/hr output, and the price per unit cost.

Electric has been the choice ever since fuel oil exceeded $1.03/gal. I haven't recalculated since my electric went up from $.035/kwh to .042/kwh but my guess is that it will still beat the forced air price.

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We put wirsbo in basement of a cabin (1200 feet main floor, and walkout basement) with "duel-fuel cost" electric boiler, and off peak water heater. Have hi-efficiency forced air gas furnace, and a/c. We rarely use the a/c, and the in floor heat really does keep the furnace from being used too much.

I think this was a good balance, but if "living" there maybe the geothermal would pay off. But we don't so this works out well.

I had bad thermostat last winter, so boiler was on constantly for two months (ouch$) so can't give you good cost estimate. Once it was fixed, the cost was low on both electric and gas.

Good luck, have fun building! smile

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We have the in-floor heat in our main floor (slab on grade) and we also ran the in-floor heat thru the floor trusses for the 2nd floor right under the plywood. The upstairs is its on zone then. As far as the AC we do not have any AC. Did not think we would need it being right next to the lake. Still cools down nice at night. Many web sites that show the process for running in-floor thru floor trusses.

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I've installed some in floor heating before but never in a garage. In the houses I worked on, there was a layer of two inch thick foam that we put the tubing on top of. Now I'm not sure how well that would work in a garage since you are going to have a heavy weight on it. Also, might be a problem when you get a crack in the concrete and have oil from your vehicle seeping through the crack and coming in contact with the tubing. As I recall, the tubing was rather sensitive to chemicals. I haven't installed any in five years so things may have changed. Also, If your going to put it in an area that may freeze, your probably going to have to add some sort of anti freeze to it, which means either a closed system or the need for a backflow preventer if it is hooked into a potable water system. Just some things to consider.

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So Jerkbait.... Do you like what you have...? Why or why not?

Yes, we love the infloor heat. We talked about running duct work for AC, but decided not too. This is our 2nd summer and yesterday was the warmest. I think the high was 94. Even as warm as it was the lake in the evening still cooled the air down. Still comfortable sleeping. If we weren't next to the lake I think we would have ran the ducting for forced air. If you don't like AC then running the in floor thru the floor trusses is a good option. Basically the haet rises from the main floor only on the coldest days does the upstairs heat kick on. Nice having a warm floor in the winter. The heat warms everything not just the air. we actually have to keep the temp. cooler than we did with forced air heat. One disadvantage is you need to be careful with some cooking supplies, like Crisco or chocolate, stuff like that can melt if to close to the floor. Just need to keep it in the upper cabinets.

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Keep in mind that code will require a seperate unit for the upper level if you want any forced air heat or a/c this is to prevent co2 from being transfered from the garage to the house

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Also, if you want duel fuel (reduced cost electric for boiler), you will need two sources for heat, and if I recall wood burning does not count. The local power company will help you learn options, if you don't already know. Having hot water heater on duelfuel/off-peak helps a lot for cost.

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We're currently building a 30'x40' home at our lake lot. We're going to live in it for about 6yrs then we're going to build a house and turn this into a garage. We built in the headers for the garage doors already so we just have to remove a few interior walls and cut some holes in the wall for garage doors.

Anyways we put in a wood burner with tubing in our floating slab. 2" insulation foam and then the tubing on top of it. That will be the main source of heating, then we're installing a mini split heat pump that will be used for our heating for early fall and late spring when we don't want to run the wood burner all day long. The mini split heat pump will also be our cooling in the summer for the days when we need it. It's just a unit outside with basically a fan inside (we only got one fan but you can run more for each room if you want). I can't tell you how well it's going to work, but just thought I'd let you know what we're doing in our 30x40 building that will eventually be turned into a garage.

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What town are you building in or near, I can help you out by explaining all the options. chad711@gvtel.com

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