Everybody remembers the Alamo: that rustic, enduring remnant of an epic 1836 battle for Texas. In truth, there was much more to the Alamo structure than what we see today, but what still stands is one of America’s most popular tourist sites.
The city of San Antonio has done an admirable job of preserving the city's history in other ways, such as with its many historic homes, a large number of which are occupied.
When some of those homeowners need a new comfort system, they often call on Lone Star Air Conditioning & Heating. This seven-year-old company owned by Jerome Burkholder has found a very profitable and satisfying niche in installing comfort systems in historic homes around downtown San Antonio’s King William District. The development features homes built from the 1860s to early 1900s in the Greek Revival, Victorian and Italianate styles.
One of Burkholder’s latest historic home projects came his way through his association with Poteet Architects and Rubiola Construction, who designed and performed some exterior and interior structural renovations on a home from the early 1900s.
The resulting structure is a fantastic melding of old and new, and a worthy Quality Home Comfort Award winner.
The Lone Star Team found a closet air conditioning system that had been installed as cheaply as possible, and that just didn’t suit this high-end home.
The main living areas of this 6,150 sq.ft. beauty — that’s been upgraded to a Contemporary style — are now served by four Carrier Infinity systems. Three of those systems are 17.0 SEER 24ANB1 condensers with two, five-ton 59MN7 98.5% AFUE furnaces and one four-ton unit.
“I prefer the Infinity line because of the controls it provides. These people go to a lot of work on these historic homes and its worth a little bit extra to have the best controls possible,” Burkholder says. “I like the Infinity line’s lack of warranty issues. I’ve installed every brand, and don’t have any problems with Carrier. I see no reason to install anything else.”
“These controls are very easy to explain, but they also offer much more than just temperature selection. You can also control humidity, and control it remotely from a home computer or iphone.”
Four control panels are positioned next to the home’s main computer. They control the comfort on the first, second, and third floor, and in the master bedroom.
The other system Lone Star installed in the main house is a two-ton Greenspeed heat pump system with a SEER rating of 19.1. The pool house uses an LG Flex Multi system with a SEER rating of 17.5. The mini-VRF was Burkholder’s only option for conditioning the small pool room, which had absolutely no space to run ducting.
Working with the architects, the home owner, and general contractor, it was decided they would run the ductwork in an architecturally and aesthetically pleasing manner throughout the house, with linear bar diffusers that were positioned to not take away from any of the design.
The owner of this home, who requested to remain anonymous, works for a major provider of cloud computing services. He appreciates the power of wireless controls and wanted to be able to control his systems from anywhere.
“To solve this we installed Carrier Infinity systems with Infinity Touch Wi-Fi controllers,” Burkholder says. “They didn’t want to have thermostats throughout their house; so we located them in a control room by using remote sensors.”
The owner also wanted a dependable and high quality indoor air quality product to protect his small children. This was addressed by using Carrier Infinity air purifiers with a MERV rating of 15. The Carrier Infinity systems also come with controls that regulate the humidity levels. UV lamps were also installed to prevent microbial growth in the systems.
“Being that this was an historical home, we had to comply with the San Antonio Historical Department, which also brought up some challenges,” Burkholder explains.
“The condensing units were installed in the rear of the property with the refrigeration lines and controls running underground through sleeves. This made the equipment invisible from the River Walk and street.”
The pool house had a flat roof and offered insufficient usable space. They resolved that issue by installing an LG Flex Multi Zone system (shown at left), with concealed ceiling mount cassette air handlers for delivery.
The homeowner is an advocate of energy efficiency, (he drives a Tesla) and he wanted the house to be a model of energy economy.
“We addressed this by installing high efficiency equipment that was EnergyStar rated,” Jerome says. “We also suggested, and they agreed, to have Icynene spray foam insulation throughout the house for a better R-value and less infiltration rate. The HVAC systems in this home were designed to meet the standards stipulated in ACCA Manual J8.”
PRODUCT KEYS TO SUCCESS
• Three Carrier Infinity 24ANB systems with 59MN7 modulating gas furnaces.
• Carrier Infinity 25VNA Greenspeed heat pump system
• Four Carrier Infinity Air Purifiers
• Four Carrier UV lamps
• LG LMU369HV Flex Multi system with cassette air handlers
• Four Carrier Infinity Touch Wi-Fi controllers
• Four Carrier Infinity Remote sensors
• Pierce linear bar diffusers and grilles
• Daniel Pinales, Joseph Perron, Daniel Burkholder, and
• Jerome Burkholder, owner, Lone Star AC & Heating, San Antonio, TX
Challenges Overcome, Comfort Victory Won
Going into this project, Burkholder says he and his team knew they would face a variety of structural challenges. It was a very old house on the San Antonio River Walk, in a historical district, with a very energy-conscience homeowner.
“We met all of these issues and left the homeowner with an energy-efficient product he could be proud of and feel good about,” Burkholder concludes. “We did this by implementing the highest standards, and installing high efficiency equipment. Indoor air quality issues were also addressed and answered on this project. All materials used were of high quality, from the ductwork to the attractive bar diffusers.
And now, all that remains to be seen by the casual observer is the historic beauty of this home, which the owner enjoys, while living in modern-day comfort.
Congratulations to Jerome Burkholder and Lone Star Air Conditioning & Heating, for making a historical home a model of modern-day comfort, and thereby earning their first Quality Home Comfort Award.