Which HVAC / Insulation option?

I am buying a new house and am in the process of choosing insultion and HVAC options. I have the option to choose any combination or all of the following. Does anyone have any recommendations?
- Upgrade to 12 SEER cooling unit (~$1,500) - Thermostically controlled attic fan ($400) - Silver Shield radiant barrier ($1,450)
The house will be in central North Carolina which has pretty long, hot, humid summers. It is a two-story colonial with ~3,000 sq. ft. of living space.
Thanks in advance
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Hello, all.
My opinions on these, and a little more. Note up front to spammers, I am not an expert on any of this, just offering opinions.
What is the standard cooling unit SEER rating? I would have assumed that they would install the best already, but I guess that is how they keep initial home prices down. I bet if they already had the 12 SEER as standard and added the 1500 to the home price, you would not have known the difference, so I say go with that. Gets tucked into the loan anyway. You are talking an extra 5-10 bucks a month on the payment if that.
Attic fan. Probably no good during the hot, humid summers, but oh those spring and fall days when the temperature is cool outside, and you pop the windows and turn that puppy on. I say get it as well.
The radiant barrier is questionable. I personally cannot understand how something painted on the inside of an attic can repel radiant heat, but then if I knew everything, oh well. If you have a little extra cash, you might check with some local companies that do that and see if they can do it cheaper after the house is in, if you choose to go with it. If I could see some definite proof that the stuff worked, I would install it in my house, but the jury is still out.
Now, you did not ask for this, but I will throw it out anyway. If you have a choice, get the continuous vent soffet installed. There have been many feeds on attic temps and ventilation, and this is just a good idea to begin with, if you have the choice. And if your builder will allow you to do your own phone wiring and CATV, come up with a plan for multiple CAT5e and RG6Q cabling to each room, run to a central location, figure out which rooms will end up with surround sound and run speaker wire now, (even if you say you won't have surround, you never know what the future holds) and things like that. I realize this is a broad statement, but wire is cheap. The more you do now, the better you will be when it comes to home LAN setup, phones, rearranging furniture and being able to move the phone or TV to the other wall, etc. You may be able to find a reputable Low Voltage Wiring/structured wiring installer in your area that can help with this.
Good luck!

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First suggestion....
In your contract specify a combination of metal ducts with external insulation only and flexducts.
Do not accept composition ducts where they are made out of cardboard.
Do not accept metal ducts with insulation inside. Do you really want to breath insulation for the rest of your life in the house?
Attic fans cause a negative pressure in the attic and suck the ac treate air out of your house. Forget it. Ask for a ridgevent instead (probably included).
Those radiant barriers are suspect value wise. Go to www.google.com and do a little research.
I would probably go with the standard ac unit. Builders usually screw up sizing any way so when it breaks in 10 years you get get the right one.
Be sure to have the house checked by an engineer several times during construction.
And if the builder offeres you one of those 3rd party warranties, don't take it if it includes a binding arbitration clause. They are garbage.

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Which HVAC / Insulation option? Group: alt.home.repair Date: Tue, Jul 1, 2003, 11:17am (EDT+4) From: snipped-for-privacy@nc.rr.com (JerkWaters) I am buying a new house and am in the process of choosing insultion and HVAC options. I have the option to choose any combination or all of the following. Does anyone have any recommendations? - Upgrade to 12 SEER cooling unit (~$1,500) - Thermostically controlled attic fan ($400) - Silver Shield radiant barrier ($1,450) The house will be in central North Carolina which has pretty long, hot, humid summers. It is a two-story colonial with ~3,000 sq. ft. of living space. Thanks in advance
_____________________
John wrote
I would go with a 14 or 16 SEER unit and forget the other two. A new house is going to have the proper attic ventilation most likely, if not make sure of it.
If the fan worked, why would you need the radiant barrier? If the radiant barrier worked, why would you need the fan?
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What brand are they selling you? Size? For that markup, it must be a Goodman, 3 ton..LOL Actually, on NEW contruction, I cant imagine using less than a 12SEER here....particularly since there are rumors that NC will do like CA, and make it manditory that 12SEER units be used in new building. I havent been able to get an clear answer from the state board, but suffice to say, we are already using only 12SEER in all new homes, and the upgrade is to 14SEER. Last nice large home we did was Geothermal over in Clemmons, out near Richard Childress's place and it was rated over 18SEER.

$400??? Its new construction?? Lord, I wish I was your General Contractor...with the electricians adding the rough in pulls, thats worth about....umm...$200 to add to the ticket at time of final.

Cant hurt.. A Raynor Built home, with R38 walls, and R38 ceilings would be better..Not to mention the total U value will be higher after the brick and roofing material are added. They are going to do a blower door test too right? Last one we had done was one of the best ever east of the Mississippi..

Ah...home sweet home... I cant see it from here, and if its like most that we get to see after the homes built, the thing wont cool worth a damn, I suggest you seriously consider dual units, one upstairs, and one down. You didint mention who your builder is, but I know of one that is out there slapping up nice looking, expensive homes in the Central NC area, that are seriously lacking in the AC department. One unit, in this area, simply isnt going to cut it on a home of that size, when we have weeks like last. The upstairs will be suffering from lack of air, and will be 4 to 10 degrees warmer than the downstairs....its very hard to get one unit to move that much air...you are talking a home that is about twice the size of the average home in the area, and hell, we have builders that cant get a 1500SF home to cool right here. Todays a great example of that humidity...its like a soup out there...course, that storm heading our way isnt helping much..and we have finally ended the 10 year drought.. Its just nasty this year.
If you have the specs on everything they are talking about adding...you can mail them to me and I could look it over for you. Blueprints are better..as they normally have all the information on them to run a quick manual J and D....and if yoru installer has not done a room by room manual J, you get one done PRONTO. If you have the framing done, and you want a 2nd opinion on the work they are talking about, I have no problem while we are out one day in the next couple, to ride over and look at it. I dont mind that...no charge..no costs...and of course, no fighting with the company that is installing the units.. Picture that....another contractor, just wanting to make sure you get what you pay for...an with no gain...wow....amazing...well..thats us. Thats why we have the base of customers we have.Thats why our builders like us...
Other thoughts that come to mind...since its new, and your HVAC guy will be running the bathroom fans as well, consider the Panasonics..pricey now, but well worth it. Make SURE that they do NOT use vinyl duct for the bathroom fans...codes changed, and it needs to be metallic, and if its over 14 feet, it must be ridgid metal 4 inch duct. He should also be running the dryer vent, and it should be ridgid metal duct, with no screws used in it..
Good luck...hope all works out for you.

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No doubt about it with a 2 story home in particular if both floors are 1000ft. sq. go with two systems. It is about impossible to do well with one system even zoned system. I've owned houses both ways. At night you can get back a little of the extra cost by setback on the first floor and conditioning primarly the second. With the energy companies owning the government energy cost are only going one way. Louis
On Tue, 01 Jul 2003 11:17:46 GMT, "Jerk Waters"

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Upgrade to 12 SEER cooling unit (~$1,500).......Yes - Depending where you are check into a heat pump.
Thematically controlled attic fan ($400).......Yes - Reduction of latent heat above 2nd floor will improve cooling
Silver Shield radiant barrier ($1,450)..............Yes, if installed correctly. If installed under roofing material (not inside attic) it will cut heat gain through roof by 10 to 20 percent. If installed inside attic between rafters, it is usually 5% effective. Ask how it is done. If offered in attic ask how much to install under ceiling sheet rock (between rock and attic). More efficient but will give attic fan a run for your money.
Ask about zoning a two story home in your area. It is more efficient to cool a house from the top down... Usually about a $1500 to $2000 cost increase, but you may be able to reduce the equipment one size. (and offsets cost) - something to consider.
Frank
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I wonder about the silver foil & how it is installed (the top core of the truss). The heat is reflected by the foil but other heat is coming in, wouldn't that cause an extreme heat build up? Wouldn't that affect not only the shingles but maybe some of the roofing? I am talking about those hot days. Website residential info www.arthurhewett.com & www.thingsanditems.com Arthur

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