July 2011 Letters to Editor
Author: Special to CH2
I live in Bluffton and it isn’t because I want to be near a Best Buy or any other chains or franchises. If I did, I could just move to the island and live near Wal-Mart. Instead, I live among the Live Oaks and the Palmettos. My neighbors are permanent residents and I am not surrounded by tourists on a daily basis. I don’t care for the traffic, but you get that on and off the island. We spend most of our free time at the beach and love every minute of it. I know where to park so I don’t have to pay $1 an hour. The May River is great, but it isn’t the beach, so I could never just settle for that alone. I go for walks and runs at the beach and in Bluffton. I am 20 miles to Savannah and just a bit more to Beaufort. If I want to go to the island, it takes me a few minutes to cross the bridge. I like being centrally located. I also like paying less in taxes. Overall, I think the two areas complement each other, but I prefer living in Bluffton.
The facts of this article are basically true, but there is so much more. The HVAC system is the single most important component in both residential and commercial construction and contributes greatly to the moisture, indoor air quality and comfort levels within … it should not be taken lightly. In our climate zone with its high humidity, ventilation (moisture control) is at least as important as heating and cooling.
To calculate size based upon square footage is archaic and unacceptable. Proper system sizing requires a Manual J load calculation (2006 IECC) plus Manual D & S duct design and sizing (2009 IECC) by law. Many states, Georgia included, require actual field testing of duct leakage also. Too frequently, our HVAC guys rely on antiquated, rule-of-thumb square footage calculations that may allow them free time at night and on weekends, but consequently shorten the life of the units and create severe moisture problems that later allow them to up sell to a whole house dehumidification system at an additional $5000. Few get it right. Their own organization, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) estimates that the average system installed in the US is 50% to 100% oversized.
I urge all faced with HVAC concerns to first access the US Department of Energy website, specifically Energy Star, to gain valuable information on the proper way to calculate load and determine capacity. Square footage, volume, orientation, fenestration, U-Values, Solar Heat Gain coefficients, air leakage, insulation R-values, square footage of the building envelope, design temperatures, reference cities and more, factor into system sizing and design. Load calcs on a room to room basis are strongly encouraged. It is the single most important component in your home … you have to live there and pay the bills … don’t leave it all up to your builder or single vendor contractor.
Editor’s Note: Amen brother. Amen. We, too, are passionate about HVAC systems! The South would slightly resemble Hell from June through September without them.