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Old 10-09-2021, 09:55 AM   #1
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Default Heating systems for new home

After learning more about how efficient mini splits are Iím reconsidering them for a new house.

The new house is gonna be on a 4 ft crawl space, due to ledge.

I was leaning towards a forced hot air system with a heat pump (heat and cool)

Probably a direct vented propane stove for back up.

Some proís and conís of each:

The forced hot air system:
would cost a lot more. Probably double or more.
Would turn the 4ft crawl space into a 3ft crawl space for duct work.
Would allow integrated humidifier
Would allow integrated air quality control (fresh air intake)
Not sure how close to a mini split efficiency you can get.

Mini Split:
Super efficient
Probably easier to control ďzonesĒ
No way to humidify with them.
No way to manage fresh air (that I know of)
Kinda ugly wall units.
Ever so slight fan noise.
Need to get plumbing to each head unit.

You have to be careful with tight energy efficient homes these days with indoor air quality. Need to pimp in sone fresh air. I could put an independent system.

The new house will be a post and beam an I would like to manage humidity some in winter to minimize to much beam checking. And health wise. Iíve not had the best luck with central humidifier systems. Assuming they have better stuff these days. Lots of issues with these. Types that make steam are expensive to run. Cool mist type systems are prone to mold.

I also plan to add Solar. And I think we have ruled out geothermal (which is basically a heat pump).

Any thoughts on this topic.
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:13 AM   #2
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I have mini splits in Mass. We love them for their room by room control, efficiency, low maintenance, and quiet. A couple of thoughts based on your post:

Agree they do not look as good, but after you live with them, they tend to disappear.

If you would like fresh air, I recommend an energy return ventilator. This is a separate system that pulls air from outside in an energy-efficient manner.

Do you mean humidifier or dehumidifier? I've never thought of humidifying a home
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Old 10-09-2021, 11:08 AM   #3
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I'm curious why you ruled out geothermal...other than possibly cost. We installed geothermal in our newly built CT home 26 years ago and couldn't be happier with it. A good percent of our system was subsidized by CL&P (now Eversource) credits but I'm guessing such benefits aren't as lucrative these days as they once were.
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingScot View Post
I have mini splits in Mass. We love them for their room by room control, efficiency, low maintenance, and quiet. A couple of thoughts based on your post:

Agree they do not look as good, but after you live with them, they tend to disappear.

If you would like fresh air, I recommend an energy return ventilator. This is a separate system that pulls air from outside in an energy-efficient manner.

Do you mean humidifier or dehumidifier? I've never thought of humidifying a home
Humidifier. Beam checking occurs when the wood dries out... generally during low humidity winter. Farmers used to keep a kettle on the wood stove, and a kettle of soup simmering.
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
After learning more about how efficient mini splits are Iím reconsidering them for a new house.

The new house is gonna be on a 4 ft crawl space, due to ledge.

I was leaning towards a forced hot air system with a heat pump (heat and cool)

Probably a direct vented propane stove for back up.

Some proís and conís of each:

The forced hot air system:
would cost a lot more. Probably double or more.
Would turn the 4ft crawl space into a 3ft crawl space for duct work.
Would allow integrated humidifier
Would allow integrated air quality control (fresh air intake)
Not sure how close to a mini split efficiency you can get.

Mini Split:
Super efficient
Probably easier to control ďzonesĒ
No way to humidify with them.
No way to manage fresh air (that I know of)
Kinda ugly wall units.
Ever so slight fan noise.
Need to get plumbing to each head unit.

You have to be careful with tight energy efficient homes these days with indoor air quality. Need to pimp in sone fresh air. I could put an independent system.

The new house will be a post and beam an I would like to manage humidity some in winter to minimize to much beam checking. And health wise. Iíve not had the best luck with central humidifier systems. Assuming they have better stuff these days. Lots of issues with these. Types that make steam are expensive to run. Cool mist type systems are prone to mold.

I also plan to add Solar. And I think we have ruled out geothermal (which is basically a heat pump).

Any thoughts on this topic.

mini splits ARE NOT super efficent in the winter. if you get the Mitsubishi with the hyper heat they are not "super efficent in the winter" and they should not be considered your primary heat source. we do alot of remodeling.
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Old 10-09-2021, 03:25 PM   #6
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mini splits ARE NOT super efficent in the winter. if you get the Mitsubishi with the hyper heat they are not "super efficent in the winter" and they should not be considered your primary heat source. we do alot of remodeling.
Have not heard "not super efficient" before. Our mini splits are virtually our only hear source in Mass, and they've done extremely well even on extremely cold days, like 5 or 10 below in the record cold of 2-3 years ago. Super cheap to run too--comparisons are tricky, but I think less than half the cost of oil.

We have Mitsubishi, I don't think our model has "hyper heat"
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Old 10-09-2021, 06:43 PM   #7
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My son-in-law installs Mitsubishi mini splits for a large company in northeastern MA. He is constantly advising people that they should not rely on the mini split as their only heat source, even the hyper heat units. Regarding efficiency - as it gets colder the efficiency drops.


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Old 10-09-2021, 06:55 PM   #8
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Iíd go with the forced hot air all day long and run the ac thru that. If u do the mini splits up here you definitely need the hyper heat heat. Cost wise Iím not sold on them and I donít like the look of them.
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Old 10-10-2021, 06:38 AM   #9
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I have central air with a forced air system and have been in homes with mini-splits. My home's temps are consistentó Ī.5į óbut those with mini-splits I've been around tend to have cool areas, especially when working and anywhere near seating, etc.

I also much prefer the simplicity of one return filter, one unit, one set of controls, etc.

That being said, I don't love forced air heatóI much prefer baseboard or forced hot water for its evennessóbut both systems would be air, so I'd still choose the central system.

I've not looked in a while, but I've gotta think the new heat pump furnaces are super efficient?

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Old 10-10-2021, 06:54 AM   #10
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Default Condensing furnace

The mini-splits are great in the summer. Highly recommended for cooling and mild weather heating but as stated above, not efficient for cold weather.

As for winter use, a condensing furnace is your best bet if you plan on forced air. I personally prefer radiant heating. I also prefer the ones with on-demand hot water for even more efficiency!
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Old 10-10-2021, 09:59 AM   #11
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Default Mitsubishi Hyper Heat

We built a small house last year with a 3-ton Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Pump and ducted air handler that provides heat and AC. There is a backup resistive heat strip that turns on below 5 degrees. The ducts provide air to every room. It works very well for us. The new house is very well insulated, and itís important to do a good job insulating the duct work. We arenít at the house much in the winter, and the highest electric bill was less than $200.
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Old 10-10-2021, 10:01 AM   #12
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Default Heating system for new home

With the exception of a wood-burning stove, just about all other forms of heating systems rely on electricity, and to that end, I would suggest that you include a whole-house generator in your heating plans. At the time of original construction the cost of including a whole-house generator is reasonable. If you wait, and do it as an after-construction addition, the cost will be much more.

A whole-house generator should also be considered if you are on your own well and on your own septic system.
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Old 10-10-2021, 10:13 AM   #13
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Still not sure what folks mean by not efficient in cold weather. My mini splits are super low cost to operate in total, and I'm always warm. Since I'm warm every day, and paying low monthly bills, I'm not sure why I should care if they are less efficient on some days?
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Old 10-10-2021, 10:34 AM   #14
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For a new house, your first thought should be to make it superinsulated and very tight. The cost to do this is relatively little extra, and the savings in heating/cooling costs pays for the extra cost in little time. The size of the heating/cooling system will be substantially smaller, with corresponding less cost. The house will be much more comfortable in all seasons, without cold spots.

When the air inside a home is so dry in winter that humidification is wanted, the reason is almost always far too much air leakage. Human occupancy produces moisture, and excessive air leakage flushes out that moisture, resulting in dryness. Excessive air leakage is something that costs money, makes the house more uncomfortable, and cannot be controlled. The old adage "the house should be tight, but not too tight - the house has to breathe" is woefully wrong. The occupants have to breathe, while the house has to avoid moisture accumulation problems. The only way to achieve the best result is to make the house as tight as possible and provide mechanical ventilation, so that the right amount of fresh air is provided all the time. In this climate (heating-dominated), efficiency is gained by heating the incoming fresh air with exhaust air, through a heat exchanger. The device is a heat recovery ventilator (HRV).

The thought of active humidification in winter for a house that isn't very tight should make you stop and think some more. Where is all that moisture going? If it is leaking out through the walls and into the attic space, you may wind up with condensation on cold surfaces where you don't want it, leading to rot and mold.

While geothermal heat is an option that functions well, with high coefficient of performance, the cost usually is substantially higher than for other types. However, if a new well is to be drilled for the house anyway, then the incremental cost of geothermal for a low-demand house can be more attractive.

Today's cold-climate air-source heat pumps have come a long way toward providing a good choice for heating and cooling. They can realistically provide all the heat needed down to below zero, particularly for a very well insulated house. To be sure, the energy needed to "pump" heat up from below zero air temperature to indoor temperature is greater than when the outside air is milder, so that the coefficient of performance drops accordingly. If you feel that you want supplemental heat for extreme conditions, then electric resistance heat is your best bet for the few hours each heating season when you may need it, being low cost to install.

The building science behind all of the above is well-established and easily found on sites such as greenbuildingadvisor.com and buildingscience.com.
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Old 10-10-2021, 11:12 AM   #15
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Still not sure what folks mean by not efficient in cold weather. My mini splits are super low cost to operate in total, and I'm always warm. Since I'm warm every day, and paying low monthly bills, I'm not sure why I should care if they are less efficient on some days?

I think they mean they are using data from multiple scenarios gathered over time, where you are apparently using only your own singular experience as a data point.
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Old 10-10-2021, 11:28 AM   #16
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One more positive vote for a mini spilt. No issues at all heating last winter. We do have wood and propane as a backup. Also, mini spilts space a tremendous amount of space if the home doesnít have a basement and the cost must be less the half of what a forced hot water or air system is



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Old 10-10-2021, 01:34 PM   #17
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Default Heat Pump & Cold Temps

When people use the term "efficient" for heat pumps, I think they are referring to the lowest temperature at which the heat pump will produce heat. Older technology started to lose efficiency (produce less heat) close to 32 degrees, so you needed another source of heat. Newer technology that is specifically rated for temperatures down to (or below) 0 degrees will continue to provide heat down to those colder temperatures without much additional electricity usage. Most manufacturers show a graph of efficiency vs temperature.
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Old 10-10-2021, 02:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
After learning more about how efficient mini splits are Iím reconsidering them for a new house.

The new house is gonna be on a 4 ft crawl space, due to ledge.

I was leaning towards a forced hot air system with a heat pump (heat and cool)

Probably a direct vented propane stove for back up.

Some proís and conís of each:

The forced hot air system:
would cost a lot more. Probably double or more.
Would turn the 4ft crawl space into a 3ft crawl space for duct work.
Would allow integrated humidifier
Would allow integrated air quality control (fresh air intake)
Not sure how close to a mini split efficiency you can get.

Mini Split:
Super efficient
Probably easier to control ďzonesĒ
No way to humidify with them.
No way to manage fresh air (that I know of)
Kinda ugly wall units.
Ever so slight fan noise.
Need to get plumbing to each head unit.

You have to be careful with tight energy efficient homes these days with indoor air quality. Need to pimp in sone fresh air. I could put an independent system.

The new house will be a post and beam an I would like to manage humidity some in winter to minimize to much beam checking. And health wise. Iíve not had the best luck with central humidifier systems. Assuming they have better stuff these days. Lots of issues with these. Types that make steam are expensive to run. Cool mist type systems are prone to mold.

I also plan to add Solar. And I think we have ruled out geothermal (which is basically a heat pump).

Any thoughts on this topic.
For the solar... PV or thermal?

I think how that may be integrated may affect some of the others' responses.

Also if you need/intend to go with a whole house generator that would equate to a fuel source and may help them suggest other options for the best integration of choices.
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Old 10-10-2021, 04:30 PM   #19
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Default Heaing systems for a new home

I was the poster who mentioned the generator, and you are correct about a generator equating to a fuel source. Propane is a very popular generator fuel, and my thinking is that if a house has a generator, and the fuel is propane, then I would have that be a stand alone system, not providing fuel to any other system in the house. Most fuel providers offer automatic fill programs, some with pre-buy options, some not, but in order to accurately calculate the automatic fill delivery cycle, there has to be a reasonably consistent usage curve based on house size, season, weather (temperature), and family dynamic. Since it is not really possible to calculate usage for a generator , and since you certainly do not want to run out of fuel for your generator, I would keep the generator on its own system, not associated with the main propane supply for household use. Maybe somebody who has a generator for standby purposes and also uses propane for household purposes can comment on this situation.
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Old 10-10-2021, 05:05 PM   #20
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It could be attached to a separate tank... but you would still have a supplier; and possibly get some discount pricing for the extra.

The mini-splits as far as I can tell do not supply domestic hot water... so it is a matter of how many different systems to install.

A thermal solar sized to produce just enough domestic hot water in the summer would more likely need a back-up in the winter.
One sized to produce more than enough in the winter will have too much capacity in the summer.

Just so many factors for everyone to think about with additional capital costs, suppliers, and such.
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Old 10-11-2021, 12:49 PM   #21
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They have also come out with Floor Units for MiniSplits now in case you haven't seen those. Many don't like the look of the unit up on the wall, so this is another possible option depending on your room and layout.

https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/re...modelID=MFZ-KJ
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by John Mercier View Post
For the solar... PV or thermal?

I think how that may be integrated may affect some of the others' responses.

Also if you need/intend to go with a whole house generator that would equate to a fuel source and may help them suggest other options for the best integration of choices.
PV.

I plan to have a portable generator that includes 240V with Neutral (mainly for the well). 6kW should be plenty. I will have conduits installed to allow possibly a larger backup system down the line. I would like 240V, Dual Fuel, Inverter and Electric start. The only one I can find that does all that is 10kW (bigger than I'd like, but will go with that if nothing new pops up). More and more Dual Fuel/Inverters are popping up. Most dual fuel portable inverters don't have the 240V. I wouldn't try to run the Heat pumps with a small unit. I'd use the backup propane stove for heat. We've been in the lakes region for 35 years, we do go up in winter and could have used a backup generator once for one night. Just need water and fridge.

I have a portable Dual Fuel Inverter in MA. We have natural gas for heat and no Well and I get by with 3.5kW fine.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:33 PM   #23
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I was the poster who mentioned the generator, and you are correct about a generator equating to a fuel source. Propane is a very popular generator fuel, and my thinking is that if a house has a generator, and the fuel is propane, then I would have that be a stand alone system, not providing fuel to any other system in the house. Most fuel providers offer automatic fill programs, some with pre-buy options, some not, but in order to accurately calculate the automatic fill delivery cycle, there has to be a reasonably consistent usage curve based on house size, season, weather (temperature), and family dynamic. Since it is not really possible to calculate usage for a generator , and since you certainly do not want to run out of fuel for your generator, I would keep the generator on its own system, not associated with the main propane supply for household use. Maybe somebody who has a generator for standby purposes and also uses propane for household purposes can comment on this situation.
Originally I was planning on a propane Forced Hot Air or Forced Hot Water system. But after learning how crazy efficient Heatpumps are now, and that they can be powered by PV Solar (Net Metering) I've changed my tune. We have Ultra Efficient Natural Gas forced hot air Heat (and cool) and Tankless Natural gas Hot water in MA and it works great. But we have natural gas, which is really cheap. Propane by the tank is expensive, but I believe I will have some sort of propane tank no matter what we choose. Mainly for backup Heat, Generator and maybe hot water. A plain Jane electric hot water tank might be our best bet if we have PV Solar. I'm not 100% sure PV is gonna work out. Have to see what things look like after some trees come down.

EDIT: Just reread your post camp guy. I'm not sure it's worth doing a separate tank for generator. Just size things for other uses with a little more safety margin.

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