September 20, 2017

Building A World Of Efficiency— Starts Behind The Drywall

The nervous system of your house

Let me cover another W.E. Brown focus group favorite—knowledge sharing. Something that is near and dear to my heart is new construction and home efficiency. It’s not obvious and so I’ve created an article and blog on the topic: The choices you make behind the drywall should be as remarkable as the ones in plain sight.

Behind the studs are the hidden gems that create your home’s central nervous system— plumbing, electrical,
heating, and air—working in harmony with the individuality of your blueprint. Some options just come down to the way you live. Ask these questions to make sure you build a healthy home.


1. How do you determine your heating and cooling load, delivery, and filtration?

Your HVAC system works with your walls, insulation, and siding to keep you comfortable regardless of weather. So HVAC options require much more data than just the square footage. A Manual J calculation determines the heating and cooling loads based on your home’s specifics like orientation to the sun, duct tightness, appliances, and occupants: People add heat and humidity to the load!

And your ductwork is just as important. Manual J calculates the exact heating and cooling load that must be delivered to each room to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Along with any heating and cooling, air cleaners, humidifiers, and ventilators will compliment any system you’re considering to boost the air quality of your home.

  • Air cleaners attract dust and other particulate matter and keep them away from your family.
  • Humidifiers restore much-needed moisture to indoor air.
  • Ventilators optimize airflow and ensure a steady supply of fresh outside air.


2. How should I design the electrical—I’m not the electrician?

Electrical code requires one outlet for every twelve feet of wall space, one bathroom outlet, one outlet on the front and back exterior of the house and so on. You get the idea, right: The government minimum.

Electrical design should reflect your routine and the way you live. Walk the floor plan during framing, think about what your family will be doing in each room and plan for future upgrades, outdoor space, convenience, and holiday lighting. You should also make sure the panel box is placed near a heavy load center, the meter is installed close to the panel box, and consider pre wiring now for that hot tub or whole-home generator— any future upgrades you now have in mind.


3. What are my plumbing options? And how big should my water heater be?

Whether through copper or PEX, get expert advice based on your water supply, lot location, and personal preferences. Copper resists chlorine, bacteria, performs well outside, is 100 percent recyclable, and has a larger inside diameter allowing maximum flow. A lot of new construction uses PEX which offers cost savings, chlorine resistance, faster installation, and holds heat better than copper making it a no-brainer for closed-loop heating applications like radiant-heat flooring. Although PEX is more resistant to bursting in freezing temperatures than copper, it’s not adequate for outdoor use.

From consult to installation, our plumbers are experienced in all construction phases. So ask if you have questions about water-heater size, or where to put the main water shutoff.

Ask now, before the drywall is smooth and painted that perfect shade of cool-gray.

Creating a more efficient world at home,

Willie

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