Sometimes you think that this day may never arrive but here it is. My framer started this morning and hopes to pour the footings by tomorrow and the walls by the end of next week. We are underway.
Lots of decisions to be made with hiring plumbers electricians etc. Some of the quotes are quite good and others fall into the " I'm not sure what they were thinking" category. So it good to check around. One of the decisions we ponder at this point is the heating system. We have a south facing property with lots of south facing windows so from a passive solar perspctive we are in good shape. The discussion is about whether we go with a coventional furnace and heat pump combination or a radiant infloor heat running off the water heater provided in part by the sun and gas or electric as a back up. The geothermal option was considered too expensive and since we now live in the warmest climate Canada has to offer, we are wieghing our options. For those that are not familiar with heat pumps, they work very efficiently in our area. A simple explaination of a heat pump, is an airconditioning unit that reverses in the winter to provide heat. The "a" frame is buried in the top of the furnace and the heat or cool air is distributed through the duct system as a normal furnace. Usually we use an electric furnace with an element available for heat when the heat pump does not heat enough. The effeciency lessens the colder it gets and once it get to minus 10 outside you see the element kick in. Fortunatly we seldom see minus 10. The infloor radiant sytem is imbedded in the concrete floor for the lower level and hot water or cold water for that matter runs through it to either heat or cool the slab which radiates through the house. It can run off the hot water heater which would be either electric or gas and the water would be circulated with a small pump. You can thermostat the different zones. With our climate we could also pre heat the water with solar to cut down on the electric or gas requirement. Cost of course is always a factor so we are investigating. Its funny what you learn when you start a project like this.