Many people don’t realize what it takes to properly install a new air conditioner. There are many factors that influence the selection of the correct equipment. For example, knowing the correct “load” on the home, the configurations of existing ductwork, the layout of the home, East-West or North-South exposure, and your desired level of comfort, all play a critical role to ensure the unit selected meets your needs.
Sadly, we often see HVAC contractors either not taking the time, or not understanding the need, to perform the appropriate assessment of the home (e.g., a Manual J load calculation). Determining the correct load on the home is so important because it ensures the air conditioning system selected is sized appropriately for the home. Many contractors simply look at what is there and replace like for like.
Why is it Bad when HVAC Contractors Replace Like for Like AC Units?
- When the home was designed, the engineers that designed the HVAC system had no idea if the home would face East-West or North-South. They had no idea if there was going to be a large tree shading the windowed Western exposure of the home. They had no idea if windows and doors would be upgraded to provide greater thermal insulation. In short, they had no idea how the load conditions would be applied and how they might change over time.
- In older homes, the air conditioner may have already been replaced several times, and in that time someone may have installed a larger unit thinking bigger is better. A complacent contractor that doesn’t perform a load calculation will fall prey to the ignorance or laziness of the previous contractor who oversized that unit 15 years ago.
- Homes in Arizona are notoriously built with inadequate ductwork, ductwork that is undersized, or even installed improperly. This causes hot and cold rooms, uncomfortable living conditions, and can take a toll on your air conditioning unit. A competent contractor will check the ductwork to make sure it is sized properly.
Taking the time to perform the load calculation, sitting down with the prospective buyer and identifying their needs, and identifying potential ductwork inadequacies and offering solutions.
These are things that every HVAC contractor should be doing, but sadly very few do. Why spend thousands of dollars for a new air conditioning system only to perpetuate the same comfort issues you had with the old system?
What’s Wrong with Buying an AC Unit Online?
Beware of online shopping sites that claim to save you thousands of dollars by purchasing an air conditioner online. Typically, the equipment available to buy is a lower end, less reliable brand. You pay a flat fee for the installation, but the installing contractor typically charges for add-ons that should be included as part of a “proper” installation. After you pay for all of the add-ons, and feel taken advantage of, you’re paying close to what you would pay for a proper installation. Oh, and through it all, no one has performed a load calculation or addressed ductwork or comfort issues and offered solutions. What good is “saving thousands” if your comfort issues haven’t been addressed?
Why Hire a Trustworthy HVAC Contractor to Install a New Air Conditioning Unit?
Hiring the right contractor can ensure that he or she performs the load calculation; the one that addresses all of your concerns. The one who installs it properly, thus precluding the annoying warranty call backs and uncomfortable days without air conditioning. It may cost more initially, but it pays dividends over the long run. Benjamin Franklin once said, “The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”