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How does an HVAC work in a home? (and why it matters when buying new)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”

~ KARL

January 10, 2019 - Karl Yeh

"HVAC stands for heating, venting, and air conditioning in a home...You're basically taking outside air and bringing it in and converting that outside air into what temperature you want within the home. And whether that's cooling it down. So if you're warm outside, it brings the air in and brings it to a temperature that's reasonable in the house. If it's colder outside and you want warmer inside, it heats up the air and drives it through."

Wondering how your home is heated, cooled and vented? How is it part of the construction of a new home? In this episode, we discuss HVAC in a new construction home. We explore what an HVAC is, how it works, costs and different types found in new builds. We also talk about maintenance, repairs and replacement. 

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Transcription:

Hi everyone. Karl Yeh here and welcome to another Homebuyer's School video. A channel where you get the latest strategy, tactics, and tips from home buying experts. And remember if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below, hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

So today I'm joined by Kurt Gibson, Director of Construction Management with Brookfield Residential. And the topic we're gonna cover today is HVAC in new home construction.

So first of all,

What is an HVAC?

Kurt Gibson:                      

(00:42) Well, HVAC stands for heating, venting, and air conditioning in a home. So it's essentially what drives the air quality in your home.

Whether if you're in a warm climate, obviously, air conditioning is gonna be more prevalent. You're not likely gonna need to try and find heat.

In Calgary's climate, where we are, it's obviously colder and we need to have air brought in or warm up the air in our houses.

Karl Yeh:                             

Is an HVAC considered part of a new home construction?

Kurt Gibson:                           

Absolutely it is. I mean, it's a key part of it.

It's done ... Typically you see a house framed.

When you build your home, there's a rough in stage which is where you would do your electrical plumbing and HVAC.

And HVAC is the metal piping that goes through the house where you drive a lot of the air through. Now, that's using a forced air system.

There are other ones, but the forced air ones, typically when it's done, every home has to have some kind of an HVAC system in it for air quality.

Karl Yeh:                             

So can you tell us a little bit more about how an HVAC actually works?

Kurt Gibson:                                           

Yeah (01:37) . I mean, essentially, from a simple standpoint,

you're basically taking outside air and bringing it in and converting that outside air into what temperature you want within the home. And whether that's cooling it down.

So if you're warm outside, it brings the air in and brings it to a temperature that's reasonable in the house. If it's colder outside and you want warmer inside, it heats up the air and drives it through.

And typically, what it's done is it's through a machine usually called a furnace or an air conditioner. And essentially what it does is blows the air through that and then circulates it through a house through vents. I mean, a lot of times you'll see the vents in your homes.

And that's what blows the air in. And it's designed by a HVAC company. We take our drawings and we hand them off to them.

Whether it's a single family home or a multi-family unit, all of those get sent to a designer to look at, consultant, and review it and determine what the capacities are, how much venting there needs to me, what size furnaces there need to be to make sure we have the right air quality.

Karl Yeh (02:36):                                                   

Is there a common type of HVAC for new home builds or any type of build?

Kurt Gibson:                       

The most common in Canada obviously is forced air furnaces.

So we have furnaces that it basically heats up. It brings in that outside ... Through venting, it brings in the outside air and heats it to a reasonable temperature through your thermostat.

That's what makes you adjust it. And then determines the air temperature throughout the house. So it really is just driving air throughout your home and giving you that temperature.

Karl Yeh (03:04):                                                   

And what ... Can you tell me more a little bit more about the process of the installation of the HVAC in your home?

Kurt Gibson:                       

You bet, yeah. I mean again, going back to what I talked about earlier which is the ... It's done through your rough in stage.

Again, it's done through ducting, metal ducting through the home. And those are sent to different locations.

Most of the time, you will see a vent underneath a window because the point where it's the coldest in your home.

And that's where they locate it. And then it goes back to the furnace, which is typically, in Canada, it would be in a basement. In some cases, if there is no basement, it'd probably be a garage or something like that.

Karl Yeh:                            

So I know (03:39) for my house when I bought it, I've had my vents cleaned every I think year. Is that something ...

So how would you repair or do some maintenance on your HVAC?

Kurt Gibson:                     

Well, I would say, first of all, if you're talking new home construction, those should be cleaned by your builder.

We certainly take the time to make sure that ours are cleaned out every time because a lot of debris gets in them because it's built through the construction.

I agree with you, a great maintenance tip is to be able to get your furnace cleaned every year and clean it out. It's a great suggestion to be doing.

Karl Yeh:                             

Is there (04:11) a ... I know we talked about the Alberta New Home Warranty, which you can see in a video above

Is there a cost for replacement if you find it's broken?

Kurt Gibson:                       You talking about whether furnaces are-

Karl Yeh:                             Yeah.

Kurt Gibson:                       

Well, certainly like anything, they typically have a life span. The average cost typically for a furnace would probably be in the five grand range.

Again, if you're ducting is in good shape and everything, it might be a little less than that.

It really depends on the size of the house. The complexity of the house.

Air conditioning would Be in the same category. It would be probably around that same amount. And again, depending on the complexity of the home.

Karl Yeh (04:49):                                            

Besides an HVAC, is there any other heating or cooling options that a new home buyer should consider?

Kurt Gibson:                       

For sure. There are other alternatives.

One of the best ones that I think that are out there is in floor heating.

You can either have it in your concrete floor or you can have it through what they call Gyp-Crete, which can be put on main floors and second floors.

It's a great way to do it. It's a little more expensive, obviously.

But what it does is it causes or allows constant heat to every corner of the room and everything else where forced air is typically coming just out of a vent. With that, you have to have a source to move the air around.

Usually you have to have a heat recovery ventilator or what they call HRV and that's just essentially is moving the air around, making sure your quality air is moving the right way.

But there's that one.

I mean, there's back to the old basics, which was just base board heating and regular base board heating.

And again, then you'd have to have proper fans to make sure that the air is circulating properly (05:44).

Karl Yeh:                                                  

If you wanted your entire HVAC to be replaced, what are some costs associated with that?

Kurt Gibson:                       

Well, again, if you're tearing your house apart from a renovation standpoint, I mean, it could be, especially retrofitting, it could be 10 grand at least.

I don't guarantee it. New home construction, it's probably five grand as a standard.

So it's a big difference. It's a lot of work because essentially what you have to do is you have to tear all your walls, and ceilings, and everything apart to be able to get this all in.

Karl Yeh:                             

Part of the new home construction, I mean, the Alberta Home Warranty is if your HVAC is malfunctioning, your builder will replace it.

Kurt Gibson:                                           

Totally. And again, going back to Alberta Home Warranty, there's a one, a two, a five, and a 10 year program (06:18).

And the two stands for ... There's a distribution system. So the Alberta Home Warranty Program or a mandatory warranty program in Alberta says distribution systems have to be covered for a minimum of two years if you buy a home in Alberta.

So you're protected that way. Most manufacturers, certainly larger manufacturers, would probably cover the furnace part of it for longer than that for sure.

Karl Yeh:                              Perfect. Do you have anything else to add?

Kurt Gibson:                       I'm good.

Karl Yeh:                           

Thank you ( 06:48) very much everyone for joining us. And we'll catch you next time.

 

 

Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home construction or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from homebuying experts. 

About Kurt Gibson:

Before starting his work career, Kurt Gibson, received Diploma’s from SAIT in Architectural Technology and Building Development Technology. Several years ago Kurt completed the Business Essentials “Mini MBA” from U of C Haskayne School of Business. Kurt has over 30+ years of experience in the Home Building Industry in Calgary and has work for several Builders over that time in all capacities from Sales, Design, Estimating, Construction and Customer Care. He prides himself in having strong leadership skills with coaching backgrounds in both sports and the business world.

 

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