A new HVAC system represents a big investment, and it’s understandable that some home or business owners will want to cut costs on installation. This can be a grave error if they pick an unqualified contractor to install air conditioning units, as a shoddy installation job can result in long-term problems and expenses.
Heating and air conditioning units and their associated ductwork and infrastructure are complex systems that require precise installation. If the job’s not done right, the system won’t perform efficiently and may be more prone to breakage and have a shorter life. Energy Star, a federal program that evaluates appliances for efficiency and environmental impact, estimates that about half of all heating and cooling systems don’t perform as they should because they were improperly installed.
An HVAC system that’s not providing optimum performance can be costly for home and business owners. HVAC systems account for about 40 percent or more of our energy consumption. Energy Star estimates that improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent .
Qualified air conditioning and heating contractors ensure your system performs at its best by selecting a proper unit and ensuring that the system’s components and infrastructure are properly installed. Here are a few ways trained technicians can ensure your system works properly:
- Getting the right size unit – Ever try powering a go-kart with a HEMI? How about a Porsche with a lawnmower engine? Size matters when it comes to HVAC units, and choosing an appropriate unit is key to reducing energy costs and ensuring the longevity of your system.
If your HVAC system is too large, you’ll experience temperature swings and hot and cold spots throughout your home or business, as well as high humidity and over-sized utility bills. If your unit is too small, it will struggle to reach desired temperatures on hot Tampa summer days. The increased workload on the small system will likely cause it to wear out well before its time.
Qualified contractors will follow Air Conditioning Contractors of America guidelines to determine the heating and cooling load for your home or business. Once that’s done, they’ll select an appropriately sized unit.
- Duct installation – Your HVAC systems ducts carry the hot or cold air it is generating throughout your home, heating or cooling rooms as needed. Poorly installed ductwork will lose hot or cold air, forcing your system to work harder to achieve desired temperatures. Energy Star estimates that 20 to 30 percent of the air moving through ducts is lost . Poor installation is a cause of this loss, as well as pinhole leaks that can occur in ductwork over time.
Qualified contractors will ensure that ductwork is designed and installed in a manner intended to maximize efficiency. They will also seal ducts as needed to prevent leaks. After installation, a good contractor will also inspect the system to ensure that it is airtight.
- Getting the refrigerant right – Refrigerant is the medium that moves heat through your HVAC system, removing heat from the air inside the home. HVAC units need just the right amount of refrigerant to ensure optimal performance. If not enough refrigerant is present in the system, it will have reduced cooling capacity and be inefficient. Over time, it can put increased wear and tear on the system as it works harder to cool than it should.
If a system is overcharged, the operating pressure will be incorrect and refrigerant slugging can occur. Refrigerant slugging occurs when liquid enters the compressor instead of vapor and can cause severe damage to the compressor.
- Ensuring proper clearance – Part of your outdoor unit’s job is to release heat extracted from the air inside your home and business into the outdoor air. It can’t do this if it’s obstructed by flora outside. Rain runoff or falling ice or snow from roofs may also damage the unit.
Your air conditioning and heating contractor must ensure the unit is properly placed outside. The unit should be well enough away from roof and gutter overhangs to protect it from falling objects or debris and trees and shrubs around it should be cleared to prevent obstruction.
How Do I Recognize a Faulty Installation?
If your HVAC unit is malfunctioning or if your heating bills are inexplicably high, a faulty installation may be the root of your problems. Checking these components can help you better inform qualified HVAC technicians about your problem, allowing them to determine its cause more quickly.
- Make sure you have the right unit – Record any product information about your unit, such as manufacturer and product number, and also determine the square footage of your home. A quick online search can help you estimate whether your unit is too large or too small for your home. If you can’t figure it out, relay the information that you’ve gathered to an HVAC technician, who can make a determination.
- Check out the ducts – Leaky ductwork is often the culprit in installation failures. Where you can, check your system’s ductwork for any leaks or loose connections. If you see one, make a note of it and inform a heating and air conditioning repair professional ASAP.
- Watch your bills – If you’ve just purchased a new unit, you can often determine if it was installed improperly by monitoring your energy bills for a few months. If your bills are higher than they were with your old system, and you’re not using it more, chances are that something is very wrong with your new unit or its installation.
- Check your unit – Give your HVAC unit a visual inspection. Check to see if it appears to be too close to your home or if it doesn’t look like it’s properly set up. If you see something that looks odd, be sure to report it to an HVAC professional.
Improper installation won’t be the cause of every malfunctioning or under-performing HVAC unit. If your unit is more than 15-20 years old, chances are that the age of the unit has more to do with the problem than installation issues. Regardless of the cause of the issue, getting the problem fixed quickly before it costs you more money is important. To ensure the job is done right, you need to pick a qualified contractor.
Choosing a Contractor
When choosing a heating and air conditioning repair service, it pays to hire a contractor with good training and experience. Your contractor should employ technicians who have undergone thorough trade school or on-the-job training in HVAC systems and who are knowledgeable about the latest units on the market. Your contractor should also have relationships with trusted name-brand HVAC unit manufacturers and should be able to discuss the design and quirks of your unit’s manufacturer.
Word-of-mouth is often the best way to find a qualified HVAC repair and installation company. Ask your friends and neighbors who they’ve used and who they recommend. You can also get a good feel for a contractor’s abilities and areas of competence by checking out online reviews.
Air Rescue is a Tampa, FL air conditioning and heating contractor that has provided local residents with top-notch installation and quality products for more than 70 years. During Florida’s hot sweltering summers, A/C is one thing you don’t want to be without, and Air Rescue ensures its customers get the relief they need with fast and effective repairs and service .
Air Rescue technicians are highly trained and capable of providing HVAC installation, total system rejuvenation, duct sealing, and other services. Contact Air Rescue today for a no-hassle quote and inquire about the company’s cost-effective service plans.