Main: Heating and Cooling

The heating and cooling systems in the main house were designed with comfort, flexibility, reliability and conservation of energy as the guiding principles.

The hydronic radiant heating system is the main source of heat.  It was installed by a master of his craft, Alan Wing, of Red Bluff, California.  Heated water is circulated through an extensive system of manifolds and tubing throughout the house.  The tubing is embedded in concrete, which creates a thermal mass that absorbs and radiates the heat.  On the 1st level, the tubing is installed directly in the concrete slab.  On the 2nd and 3rd levels, the tubing was attached to the sturdy sub-floor and special light weight concrete was then poured over the tubing.  The finish flooring (engineered wood, carpet or tile) is installed on top of the concrete.  Hydronic radiant heating is much more expensive to install, but it is very comfortable, clean and quiet.

The water that circulates through the tubing that is embedded in the concrete floors is heated by a diesel fueled Viessmann boiler.  The boiler also heats the potable hot water using a heat exchanging process.  The hot water is stored in a stainless steel indirect-fired water heater tank until it is used.

The house is divided into logical zones, and each zone has a loop of tubing with it’s own controllers and whisper-quiet pumps, and a thermostat in each zone controls the temperature of the rooms in that zone.  Thus the homeowner can customize the comfort levels they desire in each zone, and even shut off some zones that do not need to be heated.

IMG_6229Fireplaces: Three fireplaces in the home provide back-up or additional heat as desired.  The fireplace in the living room is wood burning, and the other two (in library and master bedroom) use propane as their fuel, which allows the user to have heat at the flick of a switch.  All three have a fan which circulates heat into the room after the fireplace attains the proper heat level.

Photos: (in the library)  FIREPLACE  XTRORDINAIR by Travis Industries, Architectural Collection, with Artisan Face in hand-rubbed antique nickel finish.  Granite slab hearth.

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 Cooling:  There are four condensers and air handlers supplying zoned cooling throughout the house.  The condensers are located along the side and back of the house, and the air handlers are in various locations convenient to the zone they serve.

Whole House Fan:  A large fan, commonly called a whole house fan, is located in the storage closet in the top floor landing.  This fan allows the homeowner to open the windows and pull cool air into the house instead of using the air conditioning systems.  The  fan’s switch is controlled by a timer, thus allowing the homeowner to turn it on and go to sleep, knowing that the fan will turn off in a couple of hours after the house has cooled down.

Attic Ventilation:  Two fans installed in the attic and controlled with a manual switch, draw cooler air into the attic, helping to lower the temperature in the attic and reduce the load on the air conditioning units.

Bathroom Exhaust Fans:  Remotely located and powerful bathroom fans, activated by a wall switch in each bathroom, are used to provide ventilation.  The remote fans are located in a closet on the 3rd level adjacent to an outside wall, and of course, ventilate to the outside.