How to Complete a Rheia Design

Rheia is here to support you and your builder through the HVAC design process. Follow these six phases to get HVAC designs completed quickly and accurately in preparation for Rheia installations in your builder’s next community.
Click on each title below to get more details on how to optimize the Rheia design process.

Identify a plan

Selecting popular plans that are easy to convert to Rheia is an effective way to ensure a successful pilot program.

Select an HVAC designer

Using a Rheia-trained designer will make certain the design process goes smoothly and efficiently.

Gather and share information

Providing the designer with a complete set of house plans and information will help the designer get it right the first time.

Coordinate the design work

Maintaining communications between the builder's team and the designer will prevent delays and avoid costly rework.

Set up a long-term process

Build on the knowledge gained in the pilot process by establishing a long-term relationship with the designer.

Train the HVAC designer

Rheia best practices are utilized when an on-going training program for the designer and builder's team is employed.

Step 1: Identify a plan

Builders should choose a popular plan, or a plan for an upcoming community. Note that it typically takes 2-4 weeks to go through the design process the first time and get all stakeholders involved. If the project is approaching sooner than that time frame allows, it is best to pick a project with a longer runway.

Not all plans are created equally. Start with a more “Rheia-friendly” plan. Adding complexity on a new activity causes delays with too much change to manage. The characteristics of ‘easier’ plans  are:

‘Rheia-friendly’ plan types:

  • Townhomes with open web trusses
  • Basement or conditioned crawlspaces
  • Multi-level homes 
  • Smaller square footage homes (less than 3,000 sq.ft.
  • Production homes

More challenging plan types are:

  • Single-story slab on grade
  • Dimensional lumber floor system
  • Larger square footage (>3,000 sq.ft.)
  • Custom build homes

Step 2: Select an HVAC designer

Ideally, the HVAC designer that the builder is currently using is capable of creating Rheia designs. Ask the builder who is doing their HVAC design work and if they are trained on Rheia.
  • If their current designer is familiar with Rheia, contact that designer to initiate the Rheia design process with which they will be familiar.
  • If their current designer is not familiar with Rheia, the Rheia team can facilitate their training. Note that this approach will take time. Rheia recommends using an experienced Rheia designer for the first project. See Step 6 for more details on getting designers trained.
Refer to this list of third-party designers capable of completing designs for a fee. Note that contractors capable of doing designs will not be listed on this page.
Rheia also has internal design resources available on a case-by-case basis. These resources are reserved for strategic opportunities (high volume builder, Rheia-friendly plan types, key markets for growth, etc.), but you can reach out to your local Rheia representative to see if Rheia’s design resources are available for the project. There may be a fee associated with Rheia design services.

Step 3: Gather and share information

The designer will need all of the house plan information to complete load calculations, select HVAC equipment, and create the Rheia duct design.
They will need:
  • Full architectural drawing set. 
  • Full structural drawing set
  • Lighting layout (often already included in the architectural set)
  • Building specification. Most designers have their own input form that will include insulation values, window information, equipment manufacturer, etc. Confirm with the HVAC designer what they need for building specifications, or complete the request form they provide.

Failure to get the information needed upfront is a common cause of delays. Designers will not be able to begin their designs without complete information.

Step 4: Coordinate the design work

Rheia systems are installed in the home’s conditioned space, which in some cases, means architectural changes have to be made, requiring more coordination across the builder’s and HVAC designer’s teams. For example, HVAC equipment cannot be located in unconditioned attics, so a mechanical closet must be located within the thermal envelope.
The HVAC designer’s responsibility is to coordinate required architectural changes with the builder’s team. This stage of the process is often where time delays occur which can be avoided through good communication.
Once the Rheia design is complete, a design review meeting between all stakeholders at the builder, trade contractor, and designer is required to finalize the design.

Step 5: Set up a long-term process

If you used your current designer for this first project, continue using them for future projects. If you used a third party and were satisfied with their work, establish a long-term relationship with them. If you used a third party for this project but would like to train your contractor or a different third party on Rheia designs, proceed to Step 6. If you used Rheia design services for this project, set up a meeting with your local Rheia rep to discuss a long-term design process.

Step 6: Train the HVAC designer

The software can be purchased on the Wrightsoft website. We recommend purchasing the Residential Duct Pro package. If you are not familiar with the duct design process, we recommend the training provided by Mean HVAC Consulting and Design. Once the designer is proficient in Wrightsoft, Manual J, and Manual S, they are ready to begin Rheia design training. Trainees can learn at their own pace, but on average it takes 10-15 hours over 2-4 weeks to complete the training program.

Get trainied on Rheia Designs

1. Get the plugin

The designer will need the Rheia plugin added to their Wrightsoft license. Rheia has a limited number of licenses they can give out at their discretion. Beyond that, the cost of the Rheia plugin is ~$375. Reach out to your local Rheia rep to initiate getting the Rheia plugin added to the Wrightsoft license.


2. Request training

When the designer has installed the Rheia plugin, send an email training enrollment request to: 

The email should confirm they have the Rheia plugin, and include the designer’s first name, last name, and email address to enroll them.


3. Take the training

The training course consists primarily of three lessons and two assignments. The lessons each contain a 30-minute video and a 20-question quiz. These easy assignments are simple practice designs enabling the trainee to showcase what they have learned. 

A member of the Rheia Engineering Team reviews, grades, and provides feedback for each quiz and assignment, and are available to answer any questions.


4. Quality checks

The designer is not expected to be an expert in Rheia duct design after the training course. The designer will submit their first live designs to the Rheia Engineering Team for a quality check to ensure designs are meeting Rheia’s high standards. 

Rheia team support is available to answer questions or to review a specific design. There are also additional online courses that delve deeper into many aspects of the design process.

Rheia Design Resources

We provide the Rheia designer with a library of reference materials including a design manual, zoning manual, downloadable DWG files, and more.