Quality HVAC contrators often encounter larger homes with multiple heating and air conditioning systems that were installed at various times during the home’s history. Unfortunately, these various systems are not always brought together to function as a cohesive home comfort system.
This was the scenario Tom Casey, Jr. found with a new customer living near his office in St. Johns, Fla.
The customer, Dr. Scott Liggett, had the home’s systems upgraded independently, without an overall plan for the home.
Being a direct oceanfront home, there were several challenges, especially controlling humidity year-round, which none of the existing systems addressed. Additionally, Mrs Liggett had allergies that were triggered by the home environment. This was a case of homeowner dissatisfaction with the overall comfort and performance of the existing systems.
Thankfully, Tom Casey, Jr. chief quality officer, and the team from his new company, Griffin Service, soon found the right prescription for home comfort.
As any good doctor will do, Casey took the time to listen to the client’s goals and objectives, and examined “the patient” before suggesting a remedy.
“We found several challenges, including incorrectly sized and installed ductwork in portions of the home, as well as microbial contamination in the units and supply plenums due to low airflow issues,” Casey explains. “We calculated all loads, and determined that some of the systems were incorrectly oversized, exasperating the lack of humidity control. Inadequate IAQ systems had been installed, which were actually doing more harm than good.”
The Griffin Service team removed the three systems, including substantial portions of the duct systems. An assessment of the attic areas found that attic temperatures were reaching excessive levels, and negatively impacting system comfort and performance. To cure this serious comfort malady, the team performed an extensive air sealing service, including the RGD boxes, to reduce stack effect and infiltration of hot, humid outdoor air.
They next added a reflective radiant energy barrier to the underside of the roof joists to substantially lower the attic temperature.
“We then installed new ductwork to each area, routing it back to reconfigured mechanical rooms to accommodate the addition of zones and dehumidifiers. All new ducts were professionally sealed and insulated, to ensure proper airflow. All zone ducts were planned in routed in such a way to bring the zone dampers into the conditioned space for more reliable performance as well,” Casey says.
• 3 American Standard AccuLink inverter heat pumps.
• 3 American Standard variable speed air handlers.
• 3 American Standard electric resistance heaters
• 2 Nexia communicating zone systems, with controls and modulating dampers.
• 3 Aprilaire 95-pint ducted dehumidifiers.
• 3 Solace Air PMAC air filters
• 3 Solace Air UV air purifiers
• Three air handlers were installed — one upflow, one downflow, and one horizontal, to accommodate onsite conditions and meet the customers’s objectives. New heat pumps were installed, one of which was relocated for proper operation. Each new air handler was fitted with Aprilaire ducted dehumidifiers and Solace polarized media air cleaners.
• New control wires for the Nexia automatic control system were run throughout the home to enable automatic zoning operations.
• New power supplies were installed for the dehumidifiers.
• RGDs in the great room were completely reconfigured for proper airflow in the space. This including relocating certain supplies and returns, as well as upgrading to adjustable style registers to direct airflow strategically to specific areas loads. The crew completed this from scaffolding more than 30-ft. high.
The team followed ACCA Manual J8 for design, and home performance standards established by the Building Performance Institute (BPI).
The team also followed Griffin Service’s exclusive 40-point “OpX” checklist for each system, including testing systems in all modes, including voltage, amperage, static pressures, temp drop, temp rise, superheat, subcooling, and other key readings. Additionally, they commissioned the Nexia integrated controls for sizing all zones, associated airflows, and to confirm all modes of operation.
“We worked extensively in this occupied, ultra hi-end oceanfront home, under a hard deadline, juggling multiple disciplines and scopes of work, like a maestro conducting an orchestra,” Casey reports.
“The end result is comfort they never experienced in this home before, with utility bills lower than ever before. It had this client sending us texts, ecstatic with the results and the newfound
enjoyment of his home.”
That sums it up. A properly designed home comfort system leads to the full enjoyment of a living environment. And the best home “doctors” know the best methods to diagnose and cure uncomfortable and expensive conditions.
Congratulations once again, to Tom Casey and Griffin Service!