HVAC-for-beginners will discuss the electrical hookup for HVAC, the furnace ductwork, the furnace, air-conditioning system, and thermostat which are all part of HVAC.

Your home can be heated by various sources. To name a few there are

  • heat pumps
  • solar units that fit on top of the house using the sun's rays
  • electricity and gas furnaces
  • space heaters placed under the windows
  • ceiling cable heat

We have experienced using electric ceiling cable and space heaters for 18 – 20 years when the children were young. Our last home was heated by electric cable in the ceiling. Until we put a tinfoil like barrier in the attic, there seemed to be a tremendous loss of heat out the attic.

With ceiling cable heat, we feel the distribution of air is not as complete as a forced air furnace. Our family was always getting ill during those years of using the space heaters and ceiling cable. Since getting forced air, we have not had to worry about the illness problem. We reasoned why we had so much pneumonia, etc. and that it could have been that air was not circulated and kept freshened when heat was being radiated from above or from a space heater. That's our opinion, solely, so take it for what it is worth. We do know that once we got the forced air furnace for our HVAC-for-beginner experience, and we no longer have a problem with pneumonia related illness.

Our choice for HVAC-for-beginners in this house is the gas, forced air furnace. We've used forced air before using the electric ceiling cable, and electric under window space heater, and now we are enjoying forced-air again.

furnace and water heater in basement

The HVAC-for-beginners sub provided our furnace. If you purchase the furnace yourself, you have to have it delivered at the right time. Like the sealant sub, your furnace man has a lot of leftover materials for venting and ductwork, so we just let our furnace sub supply everything.

We reasoned that if he supplies it, then he carries it in and we don't have to worry about that.

In your contract with the HVAC man you'll want to have him include how much money he needs up front, if he supplies materials. We paid 3 different payments to him.

  1. When he delivered and installed the ductwork

  2. When he installed the furnace

  3. When he installed the air conditioner, thermostat and did the final hookup

When does the HVAC sub come?

HVAC-for-beginners can come when framing is completed. The house needs to be pretty much enclosed with all the walls in place, upstairs and down.

First the HVAC sub will put up the duct works and that includes return air ducts. Then just before the wallboard is put up the furnace will go in, This is especially true if you are dealing with cooler temperatures as wallboard mud has to be kept warm.

Changes and HVAC

Changes that we made to our house really messed up the HVAC contractor's routing of ductwork. He reminded RL over and over that on our next house to be sure and consult him as to where to put the furnace room in the basement.

return cold air duct for furnace in basement This is the cold air return duct that we actually placed on the opposite side of the support wall than the furnace room. If we had consulted with the HVAC sub, we'd have designed the basement so the furnace could be on the same side as this ductwork.

Try not to make changes to your house plans, if they can be avoided, but if you do, the HVAC sub may need to be consulted.

Our problems were related to having a basement, and where the stairs were and where the furnace was placed in relation to the stairs.

Crossover from one side of the house to the other is a big consideration. We ran into some major problems, because we didn't plan this in advance. Our HVAC sub was pulling his hair out with frustration due to several reasons:

  • Where we placed our furnace

  • The direction the stairs went

  • Where the ductwork crossed over to the other side of the basement

Talk to your HVAC-for-beginners sub early on and address all these issues with him!!! He can save you some money, and save himself from headaches untold.

Other things to consider

Look at where your cabinets and furniture are going to be placed in the house and then position your furnace air registers so they don't interfere with your permanent cabinets. Cabinets can have a register hole cut for a vent in the bottom kickplate if necessary.

If you have your furnace running during the drywall mudding, be sure to change the filters often. This will keep the dust that results from the wallboard mudding and sanding from clogging up the furnace filter and ultimately that new furnace.

If you have to heat the house in the winter, an area space heater run by a generator is preferable, to save the life of your furnace, not to mention the savings from having an exorbitant heat bill.

Lock it up and keep it.

It's a good idea to get your doors and windows in place so you can lock up your house and consequently don't have materials disappear at night.

There are so many thieves who watch for unlocked new construction homes that they can pilfer and steal items that are left out and unlocked.

I know of one couple who lost several hundred dollars of electrical materials, including copper wire. Copper wire brings a large return to the thief. It isn't good enough to get your garage door installed and leave appliances and other things in the garage, or so I was told. Some shady construction workers keep their eye open for just things like that. The garage door is left open during the day, and often things will disappear during the day.

If you are told you need an “Energy Efficiency Evaluation” then your HVAC contractor can get it for you.

HVAC-for-beginners is an important part of your housebuild.

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