Home Repair (alt.home.repair) For all homeowners and DIYers with many experienced tradesmen. Solve your toughest home fix-it problems.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 12
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

I've got some wild temp swings between an office, machine
room, and production room (and the bathroom is almost
always too cold 9 months out of 12). This part of the
building has its own separate 1.5 ton heatpump for these
areas, but it's on one thermostat in the office.

Active zoning should take care of those temp issues, and
the air-handler/heat exchanger is down below in a nice,
easy-access crawl space. All the ducting is simple to get
to as well.

The folks who do the retrofit bladder system for zoning
want a MINIMUM of $7K. It appears I can get a computer good
for four zones, four stats, and the various dampers for
probably around $700-800.

Seems simple enough, but I always approach such things with
caution.

Has anyone done this? Any overlooked "gotchas"? Any
suppliers/brands better than others?

Given that the tiny machine room will probably call for
cooling when nobody else does, there might be too much back
pressure on the fan, as the duct in that room probably
represents less than 5% of total system airflow capacity.
(I might put in a larger duct and vent.)

I still might also need a bypass damper. Are those
"passive" (too much pressure opens a spring- or weight-
loaded damper); or are there active ones controlled by the
computer?

I thought perhaps a variable speed blower might be the way
to go, but that means a new fan, and still a likely chance
for a coil freeze or overheat, unless the computer has the
added smarts to run the blower longer and the compressor
less.

It'd be nice if the system was smart enough to use
(recirculate) the waste heat from the machine room first,
before calling for heat from the heatpump.

A central computer where I could add functions or modify
standard heating/cooling "events" would good. For example,
I'd like to start the blower for a while first to
redistribute the air before switching on a compressor, or
perhaps periodically run the blower for all zones just to
recirculate the air. (I do that now manually. This alone
helps quite a bit.)

And, a central computer with a heatpump "anti-slump"
timeout would be good too.

If anyone's done their own zoning on a forced-air system,
I'd be interested in hearing your experiences, suggestions,
and recommended DIY-friendly HVAC suppliers.

Thanks in advance,

Frank
--
  #2   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 12
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

Bubba writes:

self-snips

If anyone's done their own zoning on a forced-air system,
I'd be interested in hearing your experiences, suggestions,
and recommended DIY-friendly HVAC suppliers.

Thanks in advance,

Frank


Not to get all over you but it works this way:
If it sounds to good to be true ($700-$800).....
it probably is ($7k)


Maybe you missed a few items...

- That's PARTS ONLY that I obtain (CPU, stats, dampers), I do the 2-3 days labor and
dialing in... (And oh yes, I know the building well -- I designed it, had it built,
but did all the electrical and was on site everyday. Short-sighted at the time, I
declined a 6 zone system and settled for two, one of which handles the rooms in
questions. Live and learn.g)

- I don't have a massive regional radio ad and marketing campaign to pay for in that
parts budget, nor is there a home office and staff to fund. I don't at all begrudge
their asking $7K, it's just that I'm willing to investigate this further on my own,
given that I have some appitude for this stuff.


After you replace a few compressors, fan motors and blower wheels,
along with a multitude of other problems with the system never working
right, refrigerant leaks and ridiculous energy bills, you might begin
to understand that "Zoning" aint for the average joe.


Well, not exactlty an average joe... extensive background with several kinds of
engineering, and a lot of practical DIY experience across many areas (including
being a multi-unit landlord for many years) -- enough overall experience to know
that each trade has its interesting twists and that it's good to get as many data
points as possible.

So why a compressor failure? Blower & fan failures? Would that be due to no anti
slump? Coil freeze? Too much back pressure?

I hope I addressed those concerns by getting a smart enough CPU that will either
"baby" the compressor or could have "events" added to its program so that the system
would be treated gently.

Not sure why the energy bill would be higher... Can you give me more background on
that one?

Thanks for your reply, and any added advice you might have.

Frank
--
  #3   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 12
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

Bubba writes:

On Mon, 03 Mar 2008 22:19:43 -0000, Frank Stearns
wrote:


Bubba writes:

self-snips


more snips

Maybe you missed a few items...

- That's PARTS ONLY that I obtain (CPU, stats, dampers), I do the 2-3 days labor and
dialing in... (And oh yes, I know the building well -- I designed it, had it built,
but did all the electrical and was on site everyday. Short-sighted at the time, I
declined a 6 zone system and settled for two, one of which handles the rooms in
questions. Live and learn.g)

- I don't have a massive regional radio ad and marketing campaign to pay for in that
parts budget, nor is there a home office and staff to fund. I don't at all begrudge
their asking $7K, it's just that I'm willing to investigate this further on my own,
given that I have some appitude for this stuff.


After you replace a few compressors, fan motors and blower wheels,
along with a multitude of other problems with the system never working
right, refrigerant leaks and ridiculous energy bills, you might begin
to understand that "Zoning" aint for the average joe.


Well, not exactlty an average joe... extensive background with several kinds of
engineering, and a lot of practical DIY experience across many areas (including
being a multi-unit landlord for many years) -- enough overall experience to know
that each trade has its interesting twists and that it's good to get as many data
points as possible.

So why a compressor failure? Blower & fan failures? Would that be due to no anti
slump? Coil freeze? Too much back pressure?

I hope I addressed those concerns by getting a smart enough CPU that will either
"baby" the compressor or could have "events" added to its program so that the system
would be treated gently.

Not sure why the energy bill would be higher... Can you give me more background on
that one?

Thanks for your reply, and any added advice you might have.

Frank


Nope, actually I didnt miss any items.
There is no "dialing in" on the system. It has many settings. They get


Sure there is. In the various kinds of engineering I do, we routinely test;
generally at very conservative settings until we know something is going to work.
And I do appreciate the dangers of modifying a system to do a job is was not
designed to do.

What I'd probably do, especially if I'm adding programming to the CPU (or perhaps
getting my own 6x6 industrial controller and programming the whole thing myself), is
run the zoning controls (dampers, stats, CPU) NOT CONNECTED to the ductwork, but out
in the shop. Emulate conditions; see how the added programming is working. Next move
the stats into the spaces, dampers still not connected, and see if everything still
looks good.

set properly. No guessing. It doesnt matter how well you know the


Seems that many of the systems done by "professionals" relies on a lot of guessing
-- I've observed much HVAC nonsense, both in residential and commercial settings:
noise (wrong duct and/or blower size or bad layout or wrong diffusers), hot/cold
spots, short or long cycles because the thing wasn't sized correctly. and so on.


building or that you "built it" etc. That has nothing to do with


Maybe, maybe not; I do have the advantage of having been in this space for 15 years.
I know its thermal (and other) quirks; I know that at one time the coil froze way
too often (didn't blow the comp, though, knock on wood; but it did trip the
overpressure limit a few times). I mitigated that -- all on my own. Two HVAC pros
couldn't figure out what was going on (only that I should replace nearly new
hardware for no good reason... well, $$$ for them).

I finally figured out the problems by looking (the pros wouldn't even go down in the
crawl space and look!). Freezing is now a far more rare occurrence.


installing a zoned system properly. Your EE'ing counts for nothing
either....sorry.


Only that I'm generally conversant in new areas and understand much of the common
design logic. But you don't know me, so that's a fair statement -- and I know what
you mean. I've rolled my eyes at amateurs in my fields as well.


The fact that you have no idea why an improperly installed zone system
will fail a compressor, blower or blower wheel tells me you need to
leave it to someone that does.


Gee, I thought I covered that: back pressure, insuffient air flow over the coil such
that it freezes (or return air that's "overly conditioned" due to poor return
locations), etc, etc.

If you'd like, provide a high-level overview of the more esoteric aspects that I
missed.


Improper static pressure in ductwork can make a blower wheel look like
someone has bashed it with a sledghammer. Ive seen it many times.
Improper air flow through a coil will also destroy a compressor. Ive
seen that many times over too.


Certainly makes sense.


There is NO cpu that will "baby" your compressor. Try telling your cpu
manufacturer that you want a free new compressor because their cpu


Agreed. Not their responsibility.

didnt take care of your compressor. There also are not "events" you
can put in to "treat your system gently".


Specifically, I was considering a longer fan runtime after the set temps had been
reached, and also a longer antislump interval, given that such a system will tend
to short-cycle because through zoning we're changing the entire design load "on the
fly". And that's hard on everything. I was also considering a longer
minimum run interval, and dumping the "extra" conditioning into the other spaces.

I do know, for example, that the production room will tend to heat nearly as much as
the machine room. So "extra" time on the machine room could go into the production
room.

Also, programmatically, it'd seem that increasing the fuzziness of some of the zones
would be useful. A +/- 5 or even 10 degrees in the machine room would be fine.
Doesn't need to be +/- 1 degree. Production room could be +/- 3; the office would
nice a little tigher, but it doesn't matter all that much either, if it's better
for the system.

Programmatically, I'd also be looking at a logical weighting of using the blower
before calling for conditioning. (In fact, programming the blower on/off in an of
itself might get me 80% of what I'm looking for -- I do that manually now, but it's
a pain to remember to do it right.)

I've noticed in a lot of "modern" HVAC design thinking wants to hold things very
tight, perhaps too tight, unless the system is sized *exactly right* and takes into
account thermal loads from windows and other sources. Hell, around here, those
calcs are routinely blown out of the water given the number of southern windows
coupled with the wide variance of sun and cloudy days.


Its called Proper Technique, Proper Installation and a whole lot of
knowledge. Ive seen companies that do this regularly that can screw
them up. Ive seen companies that only do a few of them that screw them
up even worse.


Could not agree more. I've seen the same. The difference is that because I own the
joint I realllly want to be careful with this.

Even if I were willing to spend the $7K, I'm not entirely sure I'd find pros that
would care as much as I do, and would be willing to follow through as carefully.

If you have the "money to burn" then have a stab at it and watch the
sparks fly.
Have Fun,


Let me guess... you're an HVAC guy and hate it when consumers do their own stuff.
That's fine. Do what I do in my fields and (a) offer to eval for a consult fee (but
you'll need to provide your credentials and a reference list); (b) smile and clean
up their mess afterwards -- on an open-ended cost-plus basis.

In the meantime, as long as your responding to the posts, perhaps you could take a
stab at the original questions, if so inclined?

Thanks in advance,

Frank
--
  #4   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 775
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

Frank Stearns wrote:

I hope I addressed those concerns by getting a smart enough CPU...


You might use a $100 Norhtec 2.5-watt mcjrxs 486 clone with Ubuntu linux
(free) on a $10 1 GB compact flash ram, with a DS9490R USB-1-wire adapter
and some $2 Dallas DS18B20 12-bit 1-wire temp sensors and a $48 Systronics
8-1 output board with OWFS, and program it in bwbasic.

You can calculate dewpoints and economize with a humidity sensor like
Aagelectronica's $48 TAI8540D and a foamboard damper made with a $10
used windshield wiper motor, and ventilate as needed with a $300 GE
8002 CO2 sensor.

... as long as your responding to the posts, perhaps you could take
a stab at the original questions, if so inclined?


Don't hold your breath, waiting for Bubba's constructive help :-)

Nick

  #5   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 149
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

Frank,

You designed this building and nmade a serious error when designing the
heating and cooling. You now wish to correct this error. You claim to have
an engineering background.
Ok, it doesn't work, you do not seem to have much knowledge about heating
and cooling, and you want it fixed. Your options are to hire someone
knowledgeable (a civil engineer) or head to the library. If you hire an
engineer, expect him to visit the building. You will not get good advice
without such a visit so internet advice won't be much help.

Dave M.
"




  #6   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 347
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?


"Frank Stearns" wrote in message

- I don't have a massive regional radio ad and marketing campaign to pay
for in that
parts budget, nor is there a home office and staff to fund.


Frank, I'm with you on this one. Got three estimates to replace an old heat
pump along with an eclectic furnace. Prices from highly advertised
companies were, $ 8,500, $ 9,700 and $ 10,200.

Got hooked up with a 'friend of a friend' who would do the same installation
(all Carrier equipment). Total bill came to $ 2,400 and the installer made
about $ 150 per hour for his on site labor. Lots of overhead and profit in
this business.

Ivan Vegvary


  #7   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 12
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

"David L. Martel" writes:

Frank,


You designed this building and nmade a serious error when designing the


The pro hired by the general to do the HVAC did the HVAC design and made some
errors. Better than some, worse than others -- all around, a C+ (he did install two
very quiet systems -- high marks for that).

My mistake was not getting way more technical knowledge about such systems, but most
consumers would balk at involvement at that level. I don't mind, but was out of time
at that point.

The later freezing problems never were identified by two other pros -- had to figure
out that one out myself. (The original guy had gone out of business.) So far, I'm
not exactly smitten with the pros in this field. There must be good ones...

heating and cooling. You now wish to correct this error. You claim to have
an engineering background.


Pays the bills with long-time repeat customers.

Ok, it doesn't work, you do not seem to have much knowledge about heating
and cooling, and you want it fixed. Your options are to hire someone


It's not really broken, but some things have become inconvenient and it'd be better
to optimize them.

knowledgeable (a civil engineer) or head to the library. If you hire an
engineer, expect him to visit the building. You will not get good advice
without such a visit so internet advice won't be much help.


Will all respect, this isn't rocket science (though large building HVAC may be
close) -- it is a highly-skilled trade with its own particular language and
practices; I'm looking at visiting a subset of the trade for a while, if I can. And
cookbook advice I'd not take from a Netnews group in any case, at least not without
second-sourcing that advice.

Such postings can, however, lead to previously unknown vendors, along with keywords
and phrases that suggest additional lines of research.

But thanks to all the (apparently) turf-guarding HVAC guys for their replies; while
not exactly the info I was looking for that in itself has been useful.

Frank
--
  #8   Report Post  
Posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 12
Default DIY HVAC Zoning?

"Ivan Vegvary" writes:


"Frank Stearns" wrote in message


- I don't have a massive regional radio ad and marketing campaign to pay
for in that
parts budget, nor is there a home office and staff to fund.


Frank, I'm with you on this one. Got three estimates to replace an old heat
pump along with an eclectic furnace. Prices from highly advertised
companies were, $ 8,500, $ 9,700 and $ 10,200.


Got hooked up with a 'friend of a friend' who would do the same installation
(all Carrier equipment). Total bill came to $ 2,400 and the installer made
about $ 150 per hour for his on site labor. Lots of overhead and profit in
this business.


Hi Ivan -

Good story, and that's my "casual read" on the business side of HVAC. Nothing wrong
with high profit, if that's what the market suggests. But if one has another
workable route, as you did and as I might, that should be okay too.

How's that Carrier system working? They had the variable speed system I *should*
have gotten originally to better support zoning. Got talked into using another sub
for HVAC who carried York. My mistake, and I accept that responsibility. Mostly the
two systems are fine, but some of the usage patterns have changed.

Thanks for the anecdote,

Frank
--
Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
zoning questions [email protected] Home Repair 2 April 3rd 06 10:28 PM
Zoning in bathrooms Stuart UK diy 5 February 22nd 06 10:35 PM
Quick C/H Zoning Question. Pet @ www.gymratz.co.uk UK diy 3 June 17th 05 09:46 AM
Arzel Zoning Comments Paul Home Repair 0 July 24th 03 11:02 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:04 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2023, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2023 DIYbanter.
The comments are property of their posters.
 

About Us

"It's about DIY & home improvement"