Over 50% of the HVAC systems in this country are improperly installed. For the homeowner this means they are not getting the best performance from their HVAC system investment.
When an air conditioning and heating system is incorrectly installed; it is much more likely to experience breakdowns and costly repairs during the life of the system. To avoid future problems be sure you have a highly experienced professional team install your air conditioning and heating system. Research their credentials and licenses, read their Customer Satisfaction Guarantee and take a look at what their customers have to say about their workmanship.
There are a number of key factors that differentiate professionally trained HVAC teams from those with less experience and training.
Some of the items to go over with your professional air conditioning and heating installation team are:
Proper Sizing – a common problem with incorrectly installed air conditioning and heating systems is that they are undersized or oversized. A ‘load calculation’ performed by your air conditioning contractor will determine the best-sized components for your home.
If your system is undersized it will not adequately cool your home during the sizzling days of summer. Your air conditioning system will run longer than needed, which will increase your energy bills and can reduce the useful life of the system. It will also not allow for proper humidity control.
If the HVAC system is oversized then the system will cycle on and off too often, which causes poor performance, early system failure, will increase your energy bills and generally create less comfort for your home. Oversized systems do not effectively remove moisture from the air due to short cycling. While oversized systems may quickly cool the air temperature in your home, they do not run long enough to reduce the humidity – an especially critical consideration in SW Florida.
Duct sealing – About 20-25% of your conditioned air is lost to leaky ductwork. Your ductwork should be inspected, sealed, repaired, or replaced when needed. Make sure you seal ductwork using mastic or tape that has been designed to withstand heat. Get rid of all kinks to ductwork for maximum air flow results.
Air flow – Make sure your air conditioning professional tests for proper air flow throughout your system. If there is too little or too much air flow it could result in higher energy bills because your AC system has to work harder to keep your home comfortable.
Refrigerant Charge – Fewer than half of all air conditioning systems are correctly charged. Many new systems are incorrectly charged. In a recent study 28% were over-charged and 31% of AC units tested were under-charged. Incorrect refrigerant charge can reduce the cooling capacity of your system and may result in damage to the unit. Severely under-charged or over-charged systems may experience early compressor failure if not corrected.
Go over the following items with your HVAC installation team:
- HVAC Equipment should have adequate space around it for system maintenance – trim foliage and clear away debris.
- Refrigerant levels in air conditioning units should be checked and at the optimal level
- Air flow should be tested and verified to make sure it is within guidelines
- Permits – ask your HVAC contractor who will take care of any required permits for the HVAC work
- Outside AC condenser unit should be located in a protected area.
- Filters – ask for instructions for changing filters and recommendations for best filter to use for your system
- Programmable Thermostat- your thermostat should be tested and set and instructions for use should be provided
- Energy tax credit certificate for qualifying units should be provided
For a Quality Installation Checklist visit the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) website for more details.
Work with experienced professional air conditioning and heating installers to ensure a quality installation job and to protect your HVAC system investment.