At first we thought a ductless heatine and cooling system would be most efficient, but don't like the looks of having a unit that's visible on the wall, ceiling and/or floor. The house is going to be about 4500 sq. ft. so we want to heat and cool it in the most energy efficient way possible. Really confused and need some help from someone other than a sales person. Also, I've heard you reference on your radio show “instant water heating systems.” What brand would you recommend? I'd also like to have soft water for the bathrooms and laundry room only. Are there systems that accommodate that? Or do they soften water throughout the whole house? I didn't want anything that used salt. Love the show, and wanted to get advice from trustworthy guys! Thank you so much if you can get to this email. –Jan”
You are asking all the right pre-construction questions. We hope our answers will improve your comfort and lifestyle for decades to come.
1) A central heating system with a supply register and a return air grill in every room is absolutely our number one choice. The system requires twice as many ducts because of all of the extra return air registers. So, expect to pay more. The inlet register should be placed on the floor beneath the largest window/door in the room. The return air register (outlet register) should be on the ceiling and across the room. With supply and return grilles in each room you won’t believe the even temperature. And the heating/cooling efficiency and comfort are unbelievable. Some areas of the country boast dirt-cheap electric prices. In these areas be sure the system is electric – otherwise use gas. Get the most energy efficient furnace you can purchase. Make sure it has a variable speed motor and a dual flame burner. Follow these tips to the letter and your comfort system will rule!
2) Of the three types of tankless water-heating units that we’ve used we are most familiar with the Rinnai. Rinnai was one of the first two brands sold in the US. On top of which, our friends in the plumbing fixture industry constantly raved about the brand. Because you are building a new home, and because it is so large, we would recommend installing one 235,000 BTU unit at each end of your home. Tankless water heaters take a tiny bit longer to get the hot water to the faucet, but you pay nothing to warm water during 90 percent of the day when you don’t need the heat. As we are sure you are aware this converts to big time savings forever more. Oh, and don’t forget, tankless units can be easily repaired. We suggest one tank for bathrooms and one for kitchen and laundry. By the way, if there is no water shortage where you are, you will love the endless showers.
3) Soft water can be supplied directly to any part of the home that you wish. It’s a simple matter of running the water lines accordingly. Besides your bathrooms and laundry we suggest that you also include your dishwasher. Your plumbing contractor will know exactly what to do. If your tap water is so alkaline we suggest the addition of a two-galloon reverse osmosis system. You will find that the ready supply of salt, alkali and bacteria free water smells and tastes great. We have always used Aqua-pure because we are still able to get filters for systems that we purchased over 22 years age – really important.