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Old 03-25-2012, 01:25 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
9,377 posts, read 10,615,929 times
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We are moving from Phoenix, AZ to Raleigh, and building with a semi-custom builder We can make quite a few changes to the appliances, water heater, etc. but we really don't know what to consider.

For example, in Phoenix, if you have a two story house or a large house, you really want two have two separate air conditioning units. A whole house water softener is a must have. You do not want and East/West facing home. You want sun screen on your east and west facing windows (and maybe more). You want gas heat, if possible.

I know this may sound a little dumb, but we are totally unfamiliar with hurricanes and tornadoes and humidity. Please guide a newbie?
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:20 PM
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I doubt if 98 percent of people who build their homes think of anything you listed...not because it's not important (it is!), but because it's just not the "culture" here. Homes are usually built in subdivisions, one after another -- even in more expensive neighborhoods.

You are very smart to keep all of those things in mind and to really research everything.

We don't get enough hurricanes or tornadoes to make it worthwhile to take those things into consideration when building a house. But I can tell you, the two times in nearly 20 years I've been here when I've had to hide from a hurricane/tornado, I was VERY happy with my walkout basement and closet under the stairs. A walkout basement often feels about 5 degrees cooler in the summer than upstairs, as well.

I think most homes are heated with electric. Our house is vintage '60's and is heated with gas, and we are so glad of that.

You probably need to do all your own research and then work with a builder very familiar with building VERY energy-efficient homes. Maybe someone here knows of one.

Good luck!
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:58 PM
Location: Morrisville, NC
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You definitely want a separate HVAC unit on each floor. Also, gas heat is definitely better if you can get it where you look. It is not Minnesota, but it can get cold enough you'll need to run the heat a fair amount in winter.

Hard water is not really problem here as long as you're on municipal water.

If you can, adding a generator would not be bad idea. We can lose power in both summer and winter here.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:20 PM
Location: Raleigh NC
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yes, you'll want multiple HVAC's for a larger or 2-story home
no, on Raleigh municipal water, a water softener is a waste of money (so said a customer with sensitive skin who installed one and found no benefit)
our temp range is essentially from 25 degrees to 100 degrees. 100 degree days - we get maybe 10 a year. Plus, there's shade here, so you're not typically baking your home from sunup to sundown. In a big new neighborhood, you'd probably rather have the back of the house facing south, but that's for lighting purposes, especially in the winter. But I'm not sure how much of that choice you're going to get.
Almost all new construction these days is on gas furnaces. In my opinion, you do not need to be concerned about building for tornadoes and hurricanes; all homes built these days the code will protect against reasonable high winds (80+ mph if memory serves), nothing protects against a tornado except a windowless concrete structure.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:11 AM
Location: RTP area, NC
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The only thing that jumps to mind other than what others have said, is to *not* have a trex/composite deck material if you have a western facing deck. That stuff seems to wickedly absorb the heat and stay hot so it is uncomfortable to sit on until the sun is down -- and even then it stays warm for awhile. We have that stuff up at the pool and it is hot enough to burn feet! and we have had neighbors put it in on west facing decks rendering their deck unusable during hot summer months.

Brick is pretty big down here -- brick facing that is -- on the house and I'm told is lower maintenance.

Screened in Porch seems like a nice to have -- we live in ours and you often see posts here with folks wanting to add one to their house.

The other thing we did by accident which made a world of heating/cooling difference to our bonus room over our garage was to put in an insulated garage door. we had a wood door before and it aged out and was decrepid. My husband did woodworking in the garage and wanted something that would keep heat/cooling in the garage a bit more. Well, it made a huge improvement to heating/cooling our bonus room over the garage too! who knew? We put in a: Thermacore® 194 Series steel garage door with Phantom Model 777-CD opener; RValue 12.76

IIRC, it wasn't top of the line or anything like that but it was a big improvement to what we had.
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