Is it time to replace your air conditioner? Most people are stuck making this decision in the midst of a hot summer, when their air conditioner has failed, and they are desperate. This often leads to making an uninformed decision which yields less than desirable results. Sure, they have cold air, but chances are pretty good that they paid too much and didn’t receive a quality installation that addresses all of their indoor comfort concerns.
Those fortunate enough to plan the replacement of their air conditioner should follow certain guidelines when selecting the contractor and system for their home.
Guidelines when Choosing an HVAC contractor and system for your home
- Setting an Appointment: It’s important to schedule an on-site visit with a sales advisor who can see the home, perform a Manual J Load Calculation, check ductwork to see if it is sized properly, and discuss any comfort concerns. This will allow the sales advisor and the homeowner the opportunity to collaborate and design the proper HVAC system that suits the homeowner’s needs. Often, adding a return air duct, or modifying existing ductwork is needed to address comfort concerns. This can only be done with an on-site visit. If your contractor doesn’t do any of the above listed things, they aren’t the right contractor for the job.
- Load Calculation: Why is a load calculation important? Why shouldn’t we just install the same size system that’s already at the home? Over time, the heat load on the home will change. The homeowner may have installed new windows, or added insulation, or grown a large shade tree. All of these will change the load on the home. A 4-ton unit may have been acceptable in 2002 when the home was built, but 17 years later with upgraded windows and insulation, the load is totally different than it was when the home was designed. It could result in a 3-ton unit being selected as the appropriate choice. Installing a new 4-ton unit could be oversizing the equipment resulting in short cycling, excessive wear and tear, and a reduction in equipment efficiency.
- Determining Proper Duct Design and Sizing: The most overlooked and arguably the most important part of the HVAC system is the ductwork. Improperly sized ductwork can shorten the life of equipment, cause inefficiencies with the equipment, and cause comfort issues inside the home. Many contractors overlook the ductwork, focusing solely on changing the equipment only, like for like. This does nothing to fix comfort concerns or optimizes system performance. Neglecting the ductwork during installation will result in a bad investment.
- Installation: The day of the installation is an exciting time. There will be installation technicians at the home most of the day, in and out of the home, working in the attic (in most cases). The contractor should take extraordinary steps to protect the home. Drop cloths should be deployed throughout the home wherever the installing technicians need to be. If the access to the attic is in the closet, sheets of plastic should be taped up to isolate the work area from the contents of the closet. If the technician has to walk throughout the home and no drop cloth is in that area, shoe covers should be worn. In short, the home should be left as clean, if not cleaner, as it was before the installation began. Once the installation is complete, the installing technician should thoroughly explain the new system’s operation and demonstrate the functions of the new thermostat. Yes, every new installation should have a new thermostat.
- Post Installation: Every good HVAC contractor does a post installation quality assurance follow up. This is done to ensure that the homeowner understands how to operate their new system and control. Additionally, it gives the sales advisor an opportunity to make sure all expectations have been met, discuss the warranty of the new equipment, and ensure the system is operating as intended. This is where little tweaks and adjustments can be made to suit the homeowner’s needs.
If it is time to replace, and your HVAC contractor doesn’t do the five steps outlined above, it’s time to look for another company.
Why Choose Our HVAC Installation Experts?
Arizona’s Dukes of Air takes the time to perform the load calculation, sit with the homeowner to identify problem areas and solutions, ensures the ductwork is adequate, completes a professional installation while protecting the home, and always completes a post installation follow up. Arizona’s Dukes of Air is committed to delivering solutions that give every homeowner peace of mind knowing that the installation of their HVAC equipment will be done right the first time.