Question from energy homeowner:


Contractor has recommended installing a two stage Water Furnace Envision w/desup NDV049A system into a 2700 square foot cape cod, 1000 square feet basement, 1000 square feet first floor, and a 700 square foot second floor.  The house is all brick and was built in 1950, walls and attics are currently insulated using r 11.  The blower door test gave a  2800 cfm reading at 50.


Contractor is recommending a 4 ton geothermal system, According to his comments it is a two stage system that  will run at 60% capacity at the first stage and 100% at the second stage.  Contractor feels the 4 ton system will provide more heat using the geothermal without going to the back up heat.,


If the system is over-sized to accommodate the heating season, does this make sense.?  He says with a two stage system it does.  Will the system operate efficiently.  If we were installing a regular electric heat pump the manual J test called for a 3 ton system  (single stage)   Is the contractor correct in over-sizing the unit to provide more geothermal heat in the winter months?


One other question: What is the advantage of using galvanized ducts as compared to 1 inch rigid fiberboard ducts?


Thank you for responses




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Hi my name is Steve.

If the manual J suggested a 3 ton I would look at a 3 ton two-stage. The two stage units are usually a 1/2 ton larger in size. When I size my units, I try to shoot for a balance point of 5 to 10 degrees outside temperatures here in Michigan. The operating cost seems to be the best at these temps (even with the little back up thats needed). The reason is the larger compressors use most electricity. Now, it's not a lot of difference in operating cost. Having the next size larger is not devastating but you need to have larger duct system and extra loop installed driving up installation cost.

My question is? Did the contractor you are referring to complete a manual J load and does he know where his balance points are. If he can not show you he calculations he is guessing and not doing you a good job.

Note: The home generates a certain amount of heat and you can design at 77% of the calculated load. So if the manual J says you can install a 3 ton then it does not matter if it it two stage or not. Sorry I have to go now my wife i waiting, You can contact me if you have more questions at

Steve Shannon

PS, I like sheet metal for duct work.

If the contractor doesn't calculate a manual J,D, and S worksheet for the house then he's merely guessing. Also, galvanized ducting last much longer, is easier to clean, and is more rigid that fiberboard.



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