Monday, October 26, 2009

HVAC 101

What would you like to know about HVAC because I can probably tell you. Several months ago that was not that case but when you move into a house that has no central heating and it drops below 40 degrees, you quickly learn. You know what else happens? You freeze your ass off and start sleeping in more layers than this dude.

So anyways, what would you like to know? Would you like to know about gas furnaces versus heat pumps? Would you like to know how many BTUs it takes to heat a 1200 s.f. home? Would you like to know that if you plan on adding central a/c you need more BTUs? Would you like to know how much it'll cost to rewire an entire panel? (A shitload) Would you like to know about returns and should you even care about the return panel size? (The answer is no for just heat but yes if you include a/c). Where to change the filter? Can I tell you about efficiency and the difference between an 80% efficient gas furnace versus a 95% efficient gas furnace other than the obvious which is one is more efficient than the other?

What can I tell you about permitting...or not permitting because there are folks who will do it both ways. (For the record - I went the permitted route.)

Can I tell you about t-stats? Or having your ducts wrapped? (BTW you only need them wrapped if you install a/c because that's where the condensation comes from and it can build up and cause leaks, flooding and other water related problems.)

Do you care if you need a double wall pipe? Are 15kw heat strips too much, too little, or just right?

Oh wait. We haven't even discussed the possibility of a gas pack.

Sigh. It's a lot for an economics major who really meant to be an English major but couldn't get her shit together and so she wound up majoring in the one subject where she had enough credits to actually graduate on time which in and of itself is kind of head-scratch-worthy only we won't go there because it's totally another saga post for another blog day.

But at the end of the day I waded through a bunch of crap, made the decision and pulled the trigger.

I wound up with a 95% efficiency, 90,000 BTU Goodman gas furnace. The way I saw it, I already had natural gas at the house, gas prices are supposed to be pretty reasonable this year, and oh yeah, the amount I would have spent on electrical work to install a heat pump could feed a family of 10 in Africa for a year. Or gone towards 2 pairs of Jimmy Choos. It all depends on your priorities.

So yeah. I bought a furnace and it feels pretty damn awesome.

Plus I am sure you are all pleased to know that I have finally stopped sleeping in flannel PJs with wool socks, a hat, an extra sweater and mittens (so sexy - right?) because my wee little house is finally snuggly, toasty, cozy warm.

Of course, for the record - I'll probably add a/c in the spring. All I need to do is drop in a coil, have my ducts wrapped and upsize my return panel.

PS This post is totally dedicated to all of my enginerd friends. I hope I done you ladies proud!

PPS I am assuming that because you are enginerds - totally HOT enginerds BTW - that this is even kind of in your bailiwick.

PPPS I have no idea what bailiwick even means but I just like how it sounds.

PPPS I totally took a picture of the "Antique-This-Hasn't-Worked-in-a-Century-Oil-Furnace" that they removed before putting in my "Oh-My-God-This-Is-What-Heat-Feels-Like-Furnace:"

Now if THAT ain't country, I'll kiss your...


Nancy said...

THANK YOU for HVAC 101! Really - I found it very interesting and timely because we have a 35yo oil burning furnace in our basement leading to steam heat radiators in our house and our AC in 99% humidity summers are window rattlers. With steam heat radiators I have slept in the past in flannels, with socks, and under a sleeping bag and about 5 blankets. Now that I'm hitting 50, I'm my own furnace :)
My husband talks all kinds of talk of gas (propane? is that gas?) furnace and central air.

harmzie said...

Wow! Thanks for the dedication! I have nary a hot clue about HVAC (except I know what it stands for, and a lot of people don't, so that's something!) My HVAC aptitude consists of barking orders like "make it work NOW!" (at a human, not at the furnace, although that may or may not have occurred or have a possibility of occurring).

I build roads. Nenette does something with computers. But it's way hot that you grabbed that steer by the horns, wrassled it down and made it your bitch. And then took a picture of it! (bitch)

P.S. T-shirt guy? I think I had a minor claustrophobic anxiety attack just watching that!