5/2/2013 9:58:00 PM Ask the contractor: Where is the best place to install HVAC?
Sandy Griffis Yavapai County Contractors Association
Q: We are building a new home in Prescott and have been given differing installation information for our HVAC system. Some representatives say to install it in the attic and some say to install in the crawlspace. In former homes our system has been installed in crawlspaces and the garage. Where should the system be installed for maximum efficiency?-Bob and Andy, Prescott
A: The three areas mentioned - crawlspace, attic and garage - are all acceptable per code. In talking with Mike Moyer, owner of Moyer's Heating and Cooling, Mike's recommendation is that, whenever possible, both the system and the ducting should be installed inside the thermal envelope (below the insulation line or above the vapor barrier). This would not be safe with an older open-burner gas style appliance, but for the best efficiency Mike suggests that you look for a dedicated mechanical room inside the thermal envelope. Installing the unit in the garage could possibly contaminate your home with fumes that would be carried in by the furnace or exposed ducting that was not properly sealed. So, sealing is of the utmost importance.
Freezing temperatures in both crawl spaces and attics will certainly adversely affect the efficiency and operation of your system.
We also took your question to Steve Voevodsky, owner of Energy Savings Heating & Cooling for comment. Prescott is considered primarily a heating market: We heat seven to eight months versus cooling two to four months of the year. Using that as a guideline, Steve feels that it is important to feed the air from the floor. The duct system should be designed to bring the air flow from the crawl into the home through floor registers. You would have to be cognizant of register placement to ensure that the registers are not covered up with furniture. And, when feeding air flow from the floor, it's important to make sure that you have adequate return air registers up high enough so that the hot air that does not rise by natural flow and will be pulled back into the system and redistributed. This will give your home a greater comfort level and should be less expensive to operate.
Both company representatives said that it is critically important when building a new home that the builder and the HVAC mechanical company consult together to ensure greater efficiency for your system.
Lots of clean-ups are going around our towns. Tomorrow, May 4, is Spring Clean-Up in Prescott Valley. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can bring your unwanted household items, yard debris and other items to a drop-off site by the wastewater treatment plant. The site is located east on Valley Road past the Ace Distribution Center.
There is a charge for drop-off and there is an allowed/prohibited list of items. Call 759-3070 for more information.
Don't forget the free slash drop-off program taking place through June 30 at all county transfer stations: Black Canyon City, Camp Verde, Congress, Mayer, Paulden, Seligman and Skull Valley. This program is a great way to assist homeowners in developing necessary defensible space around their homes. The following items only will be accepted: brush, branches, grass and leaves and yard trimmings. All slash must be removed from plastic bags. No lumber, stumps, roots, cactus, metal or garbage will be allowed. Call 771-3183 with questions.