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Ask me anything about HVAC heating air conditioning air quality control

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  • Sep 29th, 2016 8:52 am
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Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2006
1790 posts
116 upvotes
alphagator wrote:
Jul 16th, 2016 2:03 pm
Hi,
I am wondering if u guys can recommend central humidifier (1800 Sq ft.)and basic programmable thermostat that don't cost too much. Also are the installation for these two items fairly simple?

Thanks
Depends on the type of furnace you have. Single stage, 2 stage or modulating. The thermostat will also somewhat depend on that as well.
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2006
1790 posts
116 upvotes
Jamal79 wrote:
Jul 18th, 2016 6:44 pm
Should I use my HRV / ERV? I have two of the Clean Comfort VH20100 http://www.cleancomfort.com/ventilation ... es/VH30100.

Home is brand new and builder made a comment to that an HRV it's required to pass inspection but really no need to use and in fact will be very expensive to operate. I have two of these (two furnaces / ACs) and they're sitting unplugged.

In terms of dollars and cents is the operating costs of these units offset by decreased energy consumption or is energy savings not the point? I understand the basic concept of having a ventilator in new homes that are built very well sealed, but my question is mostly about the costs involved. I'm in Toronto if that helps.

Thanks,
Yes you should run it. Builders should stick to what they do best (in theory), and just build the damn house. Fresh air exchange in new built homes is a major issue. This is long term health we are talking about. You are talking about min money here. Looking at the specs, that thing is a variable speed motor. MAX power draw is like 66 watts. You likely wouldn't even see it on your bill unless you tracked every single thing in your house.
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2006
1790 posts
116 upvotes
Kozak99 wrote:
Jul 18th, 2016 11:39 pm
hey,

I am in a middle of a renovation and decided to move a duct from a walking closet to the bedroom. I removed drywall on the first floor as a part of the reno and saw the vent that I wanted to move for a while. In my master bedroom there is only one air supply duct, and there was one in the walking closet. It would be pretty easy to move it since everything is open, but the walking closet has a window. Is that OK if I move it, a buddy of mine suggested that it could be a problem due to the window being there would be too much heat loss in the winter. Its a small walking closet and the door to the master bedroom is usually open anyways.


Thanks,
Technically code requires it in the room as it is specifically a room. Doubt it would ever be an issue, but COULD get caught by an anal inspector if you were to ever sell. With a window in there, it most certainly would be a fair big colder.
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2006
1790 posts
116 upvotes
Bart_ wrote:
Jul 21st, 2016 12:43 pm
Hey, I have an electric furnace filter which looks like this:

[IMG]https://www.angieslist.com/files/styles ... k=qck37-na[/IMG]

Should I look at having it replaced with a traditional filter & housing? Early 80's bungalow.
Yes. Total PITA. MUST be cleaned monthly or their efficiency drops like a stone. They are noisy, use hydro, and emit ozone.
Newbie
Nov 21, 2015
45 posts
12 upvotes
Toronto, ON
nighthawk26 wrote:
Jul 21st, 2016 7:49 pm
Technically code requires it in the room as it is specifically a room. Doubt it would ever be an issue, but COULD get caught by an anal inspector if you were to ever sell. With a window in there, it most certainly would be a fair big colder.
Thanks, I guess I will just keep the old duct and use the a Y splitter to extend the new duct.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
6142 posts
910 upvotes
I'm about to finish my basement. As part of the finishing process I was thinking of adding an HRV.

I got a home energy audit done (Enbridge is giving out rebates for it and insulation upgrades) and my house is at the cusp of achieving 3-5ACH50. My basement right now is the most energy leaky part of the house, but during the process the sill plate/header will be very tightly sealed and insulated combined with R20(R19) wall insulation. The auditor suggested an HRV.

I was already thinking about it and at this point am likely going to agree with him. The house was built in early half of 2006 so it's not built to the 2007 higher energy saving building code but I've had the Attic insulation topped to R50, all gaps completed caulked even the electrical outlets are sealed with those Gaskets.

Just need some validation on this idea, and some pointers or brands.

Background: I have a Nest so the downside is I won't be able to properly integrate this in to the HVAC system for a really efficient system. The way the HRV will be added will be the "Shortcut way" it will be tied in to existing HVAC trunks and controlled on it's on separate controller interconnected to the blower. I was thinking of using the Venmar EVO5-700 for it's integrated HEPA.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
10125 posts
1868 upvotes
I completely agree with adding an HRV
As you say attaching it to the HVAC is not ideal, it will carry a lifetime energy efficiency penalty, but its still much cheaper then a leaky house assuming you have an ECM motor. As for models i can't advise.
What type of basement insulation are you going with?
Lisa: I found the new Al Gore book.
Marge: "Sane Planning, Sensible Tomorrow"
Lisa: Yeah, I hope it's as exciting as his other book, "Rational Thinking, Reasonable Future"
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
6142 posts
910 upvotes
Quentin5 wrote:
Jul 22nd, 2016 3:27 pm
I completely agree with adding an HRV
As you say attaching it to the HVAC is not ideal, it will carry a lifetime energy efficiency penalty, but its still much cheaper then a leaky house assuming you have an ECM motor. As for models i can't advise.
What type of basement insulation are you going with?
No ECM motor currently, I'll likely only have the HRV Run when the Heat runs. Typically it takes about 15-20mins cycles to maintain our temperatures in the winter. I might play with the algorithm and use a R-pi to make it more efficient based on what I have to work with. The Furnace will be replaced when it finally dies (next 5-6 years estimated), it's an "95%" efficiency unit, the weak link is the blower. I think the HRV motor is ECM I believe since it's energy star rated.

I'm going to 1 inch XPS + Roxul R14 (R15 in the states for some reason). The header area is going to use 2" XPS with Spray foam on the edges after the headers has been sealed with Caulking.

Just to clarify, according to the audit I'm "too air tight" I kinda went overboard sealing all the air gaps, the draftiest areas are the sliding door, the exhaust vents and the front door. I can't even get perceivable air movement from windows or electrical sockets during the blower test.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
10125 posts
1868 upvotes
tebore wrote:
Jul 22nd, 2016 3:43 pm
No ECM motor currently, I'll likely only have the HRV Run when the Heat runs. Typically it takes about 15-20mins cycles to maintain our temperatures in the winter. I might play with the algorithm and use a R-pi to make it more efficient based on what I have to work with. The Furnace will be replaced when it finally dies (next 5-6 years estimated), it's an "95%" efficiency unit, the weak link is the blower. I think the HRV motor is ECM I believe since it's energy star rated.

I'm going to 1 inch XPS + Roxul R14 (R15 in the states for some reason). The header area is going to use 2" XPS with Spray foam on the edges after the headers has been sealed with Caulking.

Just to clarify, according to the audit I'm "too air tight" I kinda went overboard sealing all the air gaps, the draftiest areas are the sliding door, the exhaust vents and the front door. I can't even get perceivable air movement from windows or electrical sockets during the blower test.
It costs more but 2lb spray foam to R20 is ideal for the walls (vet the installer carefully), fluffy insulation has much higher mold propensity :(
You can't be too airtight (if your house was a Passivhaus building it would be 0.6ACH50 or less), thats what the HRV is for, and you should be able to get away with attaching it to your HVAC but its not close to ideal and separate vents would be far preferable.

some links
basement-insulation-wet-help-solve-mystery-2022933/
http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blo ... ement-wall
Lisa: I found the new Al Gore book.
Marge: "Sane Planning, Sensible Tomorrow"
Lisa: Yeah, I hope it's as exciting as his other book, "Rational Thinking, Reasonable Future"
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
6142 posts
910 upvotes
Quentin5 wrote:
Jul 22nd, 2016 3:54 pm
It costs more but 2lb spray foam to R20 is ideal for the walls (vet the installer carefully), fluffy insulation has much higher mold propensity :(
You can't be too airtight (if your house was a Passivhaus building it would be 0.6ACH50 or less), thats what the HRV is for, and you should be able to get away with attaching it to your HVAC but its not close to ideal and separate vents would be far preferable.

some links
basement-insulation-wet-help-solve-mystery-2022933/
http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blo ... ement-wall
Sorry I shouldn't have said "too tight" (Maybe too tight for passive ventilation?) He said that the house is ~7ACHs however right now it's "uncontrolled/conditioned". If you don't run any appliances that will pump air out we'd never really get air changes. He explained it that if I didn't have an HRV to help control/condition the air changes you'd need to run enough fans to get your air changes. Which to me makes sense I'd only get air changes during laundry, shower and cooking and it's straight cold outdoor air taking it's place.

I could do separate vents for the basement but the rest of the floors wouldn't really workout for obvious reasons.

Thanks for the insulation links
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
10125 posts
1868 upvotes
tebore wrote:
Jul 22nd, 2016 4:19 pm
Sorry I shouldn't have said "too tight" He said that the house is somewhere between the 7-5ACHs however right now it's uncontrolled. If you don't run any appliances that will pump air out we'd never really get air changes. He explained it that if I didn't have an HRV to help control the air changes you'd need to run enough fans to get your air changes. Which to me makes sense I'd only get air changes during laundry, shower and cooking and it's straight cold outdoor air taking it's place.
You should actually be very happy your reducing your bills with a tight house, your dryer and hot water tank (gas) will pull air out of the house, bringing in fresh air to take its place, and the HRV is an excellent ventilation system, constant fresh air with little penalty attached.
Lisa: I found the new Al Gore book.
Marge: "Sane Planning, Sensible Tomorrow"
Lisa: Yeah, I hope it's as exciting as his other book, "Rational Thinking, Reasonable Future"
Member
Mar 17, 2006
323 posts
57 upvotes
ur_too_crazy wrote:
Jul 18th, 2016 7:59 pm
I have a heat pump which provides me with A/C during the summer months. Recently, I noticed the temperature of the air coming out of the registers is not consistent. At times it can come out quite cool and other times just a little colder than room temperature (all while the outside unit is running). All this within the same hour. I noticed quite a bit of pollen buildup on the fins of the heat pump, so I took it apart and cleaned it with a brush and vacuum cleaner. This seems to have helped a little. Another thing that helps is by turning the power off to the heat pump and air handler for a few minutes (sort of like a reset). Is there any thing else I can try before calling a technician (I'm a petty handy layman)
So just to add onto my previous question. Decided to call a technician (from the same company that installed the heat pump when the house was new, 9 years ago). He found it was a little low on refrigerant and added some. Couldn't find any obvious leaks. When he tested the compressor, he found it was slow to start, "tired" is the way he described it. When I told him to go ahead and change it (knowing that the compressor was covered under a 10 year warranty), he became defensive and said that it's not so bad, that the company will never cover it since it's not fully blown. He installed a superboost? type capacitor to help kick start it.
Any advice from this community would be so very much appreciated. I don't know where else to turn, so I really need your help. I don't know all that much about HVAC. Is it common industry practice that a part that is obviously failing not be covered under warranty (until it craps out completely) or am I dealing with a company that can't be bothered to file a warranty claim?
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2007
776 posts
42 upvotes
leafsfan85 wrote:
Jul 21st, 2016 2:24 am
Hi everyone,

I recently moved into a ~1100 sqft + basement house and we are replacing the old boiler that is almost as old as me. We are thinking of stripping out the boiler and HWT and replacing the two with a combi. I have been recommended the Navien NCB-180 by several contractors, one other recommended an NTI, and one of the contractors recommended installing two tankless units instead as an opportunity to save $$ - one of which to use in place of a boiler. My question is on your thoughts/experience with the various boiler brands (pros/cons of the NCB-180 vs others) and the thoughts on using the tankless unit as a boiler... no one else suggested that, but maybe that was in their own interest since it means less $ for them.

On the A/C side, we have nothing now so are going with a ductless split. The main floor is <500 sqft completely open concept, the upstairs has 3 rooms ranging from 90-130 sqft each. I have had TOTALLY different recommendations on brands/head sizes (in mBTUs) and wanted to get all of your opinions.

I would also like to know if anyone knows of a way to hook up the boiler/combi and ductless system into an integrated smart thermostat like the ecobee. I would love for the two to be able to work together (and remotely) in my effort to
increase my house's IQ.

Thanks!

P.S. Please let me know if any of you have ever had work done with Imperial Energy in the GTA and your experience with them.
I suggest you start a new thread on your topic as you may be able to get more information that way - copy this discussion over. Your note seems lost in all of these HRV discussions, as I almost missed it. If you went to the two tankless system, I assume you mean a tankless boiler and tankless hot water system, and no combi?

My home design is obvious different and several contractors last month mentioned putting in a larger Navien NCB-240 combi. So glad I did NOT do it this way or the two tankless system you mentioned.

Here is the third option that I did, a tankless boiler (NHB-xxx series) with an indirect hot water tank.
Jr. Member
Jan 6, 2007
141 posts
10 upvotes
L
My heat pump started to squeal when is hot outside. What could be the problem?
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2006
1790 posts
116 upvotes
ur_too_crazy wrote:
Jul 22nd, 2016 9:44 pm
So just to add onto my previous question. Decided to call a technician (from the same company that installed the heat pump when the house was new, 9 years ago). He found it was a little low on refrigerant and added some. Couldn't find any obvious leaks. When he tested the compressor, he found it was slow to start, "tired" is the way he described it. When I told him to go ahead and change it (knowing that the compressor was covered under a 10 year warranty), he became defensive and said that it's not so bad, that the company will never cover it since it's not fully blown. He installed a superboost? type capacitor to help kick start it.
Any advice from this community would be so very much appreciated. I don't know where else to turn, so I really need your help. I don't know all that much about HVAC. Is it common industry practice that a part that is obviously failing not be covered under warranty (until it craps out completely) or am I dealing with a company that can't be bothered to file a warranty claim?
Sounds like he installed a hard start kit. Would be a common solution for what you described. He is also correct. Any amount of normal wear is not covered under warranty. There would be specific guidelines given to the technicians in which a replacement would be allowed. Now as for this "obvious leak" check. What exactly did he do? There is only really one true way to check, and it's a dye test. And he would have to com back another day. These units don't consume refrigerant like a car would oil. It was either low when it was installed, or there is a leak somewhere. It is illegal for him to just op up without finding said leak. I assume this is freon R22, and not Puron 410A?

To answer you last part. Typical warranties will be 1 year on the labour. THe Part if qualified would be 10. As part of that, they would be paid for the part by the manufacturer, and in theory, bill you for the refrigerant. The issue with changing a compressor, again if it is R22, is that you would have to pay for the R22 to be replaced. This is not at all cheap given it's phase out. My guess, is he towed the basic line, but at the same time could perhaps have gone to bat with the manufacturer, but also recognized he would likely also have a battle with you because of what he would need to charge you, and doesn't want to bother with any of it.
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