Opinions on This HVAC System
Starting to build our zone7 Pretty Good House in a few weeks in Northern Wisconsin.
The main living area of the house is 2,023 square feet with a full unfinished basement (1097sf). We also have an attached garage that we want to be able to occasionally heat.
The WUFI analysis we did shows our heat load (attached) at roughly 24,898 btu/hr including the unfinished basement.
The mechanical designers we’re using are using a design temp of -25. Their detailed analysis using Manual J and other calculations shows the load for the house and basement at 51,996 btu/hr. Including the garage, it goes to 128,257 btu/hr.
I expressed an interest in using mini-splits and they’re open to that, however, they believe that given our basement and garage, using a hydronic distribution system is the most effective. Distributing heat to all areas of the home using mini-splits would be difficult if you’re including the basement (and certainly the garage).
With that, they’ve suggested an Arctic cold climate heat pump with in-floor radiant in the basement and garage and radiators on our main and second floors. https://www.arcticheatpumps.com/cold-climate-heat-pump-overview.html
The Arctic heat pump comes with a buffer tank and electric boiler for backup as the heat pumps efficiency phase out as you get into the very cold temperatures. For air conditioning (which I sort of question as necessary here), they’re using a high-velocity air handler alongside the heat pumps for cooling.
Is this a good system for a house like ours? I think of it as a low energy home with our triple pane windows, deep wall system, high level of airtightness, etc. and it seems like we should have something simpler like just mini-splits, however, distribution is a challenge.
The alternative they’ve suggested is mini-splits for the main floor and second and a bare-bones LP boiler for the basement and garage slabs that would also provide backup heat when the mini-splits aren’t working.
I appreciate any insight you can provide! Thank you.
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