Plumbing and HVAC work in progress
A couple of weeks ago, plumbing and HVAC work began. There’s not a whole lot to see on the livecam (which is good because it’s been busted for a few days… need to reboot) but lots of work is happening very quickly. Below are some of the specifics of what’s going in.
For the pipes, we chose PVC and PEX over copper. It’s cheaper, easier to work with, and has no significant disadvantages other than it isn’t supposed to be exposed to sunlight. I am so glad we took this house down to the foundation and replaced everything because the old galvanized steel pipes were in disgusting shape.
For the bath, we went with the Origami from Bain. You aren’t supposed to use oils or salts in normal jetted tubs so we went with an airbath. It’s a nice simple design and supposedly Bain is the best brand to trust. For the tub filler, we went with the Cascade Bi-Tech 14200, which roughly matches the faucets.
For the faucets, we are either going with Dornbracht 33 500 625 or a knockoff built in China called the Taron. Apparently there was a huge lightning-induced fire at the Dornbracht factory in Germany this summer and it has caused dramatic delays in getting product from them. I wasn’t crazy about spending $500 a faucet anyway, so we may just see how the $225 knockoffs do instead. I’ll have a separate post on this shortly.
For the commodes, we’re going with the Toto Pacifica line. Notably, we are avoiding dual-flush models because I’ve heard that the “half flush” option ends up never getting used. I wanted to use wall-mounted commodes, but the cost and extra complexity in fixing any “problems” kept me away.
The only thing up in the air is whether or not we will be running a hot water recirculation line. The system was spec’d without it, but as soon as I found out the delay in getting a hot shower in the morning could be a minute or more, we’re looking into how much it would cost. I’ve lived in apartments and condos for most of my life so I’m used to only waiting 10 seconds or so for hot water, so the thought of building a house like this and downgrading significantly in that area is not appealing.
Most significantly, we’re going with a forced air heating and air conditioning system powered by a Rheem 5 ton 16 SEER 2 stage heat pump, with a Rheem 100,000 BTU variable speed 80% efficient gas furnace as a backup. I would have loved to do radiant heat but since we wanted air conditioning as well, that would have required buying, installing, and operating two completely different systems. Instead, we’re just doing electric radiant pads in the master bathroom and underneath the concrete hallway on the main floor.
A friend of mine who built a house told me the biggest mistake he made was not having a system which could service multiple zones independently. In other words, the ability to turn off basement heat, send a bunch of heat to the main floor to get it to 70 degrees, and send maybe not quite as much heat to the upper level to get it to 70. Or, to leave all A/C off on a summer night except for on the upper level where the master bedroom is. We had originally looked at doing separate systems for each floor but eventually settled on one system that can service three zones independently. There was some initial confusion between Build and I about what a multi-zone system really is. By multi-zone, I mean “the ability to control multiple zones with multiple thermostats, all electronically, and without having to physically open and close vents”. If you’re spec’ing your own system, make sure you make this clear.
I’m not sure what thermostats are going in (I think HAIs maybe), but they will all have the ability to tie into my home automation system for remote administration.
Our HVAC contractor is Anderson Nesler, Inc..
I’ll have everything broken down by price once this stage of construction is complete.