Back in the 80s, Amish farmers raised their family at a farm in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Kids were born in the house. A stone’s throw away, out in the barn, calves were born to the dairy herd. In 2016, Chris and Michelle Simon bought the barn — all that remains of the old homestead — to turn it into a home. The 1871 post-and-beam barn was enormous: 60 by 100 feet, with ceilings as high as 25 feet. And of course, it was built for animals, not people.

It was an atypical HVAC situation. Simons chose Vince Youndt, president of Stevens, Pennsylvania-based Vertex Mechanical, to provide HVAC solutions. Youndt and his team devised a plan to provide hydronic radiant heating and geothermal cooling for most of the lower floor, plus the 4,900 square feet of living space above it. Vertex pros installed ½-inch Watts RadiantPEX+ tubing, in 300-foot loops, to the upstairs subfloor. A subcontractor drilled four 300-foot vertical boreholes to meet the need for 8 tons of geothermal cooling.

The heat load calculation for the home came to 128,000 BTUs for space heating and domestic water. Youndt chose a 5-ton water-to-water heat pump and a 150 MBH Laars Mascot LX wall-hung, mod-con boiler to meet midwinter supplemental heat needs. Domestic water heating needs are met by a Bradford White 60-gallon indirect unit that receives heat from the boiler, and a 40-gallon water heater that’s tied to the larger geo system’s desuperheater. A third Bradford White unit, a 40-gallon indirect, serves as the geothermal water-to-water buffer tank.

The home has eight comfort zones, controlled by Taco Zone Sentry zone valves. Youndt chose four Taco ECM-powered 007e system circulators, each tied to a tekmar 406 control, plus the tekmar 485, to give the homeowners remote access to the home’s climate control. The home also has a Taco 4900 air separator, a Watts 911 combination fill and backflow preventer, and Extrol expansion tanks.

On December 12, 2016, the Simons received their certificate of occupancy. For the Simons, there was no way to describe the giddy feeling they got that winter while standing at one of the big windows, their bare feet toasty warm, as snow fell outside, just inches away.


Publication date: 6/14/2019

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