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Tips and Tricks from a Builder: Heating and Cooling Systems

This blog is a continuation of previous blogs. We will discuss the insights, tips and tricks of how to build a home from Chris Legare, owner of Nautilus Construction, LLC.

Today, we are talking about heating and cooling. Chris recently finished building his own home. He details here some of the choices he made for heating and cooling and why.

“Our goal was to build an airtight, energy efficient home with healthy indoor air quality. There are many different approaches to achieve these things. First, you must consider your budget and how much of a priority quality heating and cooling is to you in comparison to other aspects of building or remodeling your home.

We chose to go with a mid-level price point to achieve all these things. Before framing the house, I had to build the house following the new energy code adopted July 2021 (International Energy Conservation Code IECC 2015). We followed a few of the advanced framing techniques by double insulating the walls and using environmentally friendly cellulose in the walls. These methods are great for net zero homes.

Next, we took into consideration the cooling and heating sources available in Maine. They are boiler and hot water, baseboard heat, furnace supplying forced air, and heat pumps with heating and cooling. You can choose to install each or a combination. We chose heat pumps in bedrooms and main living areas with back up electric heaters in the bathrooms. Heat pumps have come a long way and are very efficient in both cooling and heating your home. However, a backup heat source is recommended. We chose the Samsung Model (pictured) and have been very happy with them.

Heating and Cooling Systems

We also chose Solar Panels on the south side of our house (also pictured).

Solar panels are an upfront investment with a 10-year payback. So, in 10 years we will see the true savings and cost benefit from the panels. We also get a credit with Kennebunk Light, and Power based on our solar energy production. Solar Panels last year were offering a rebate of 26% off the installation cost. As you can see, this really is the future of energy production!”

We did not go completely fossil fuel free. Our range stove and living room fireplace are propane. So, all and all we went with a combination of heating and cooling sources that fit our budget and met our goal of energy efficiency. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from a builder! Next blog will detail insulating your home.

Written by Suzy and Chris Legare