People often buy new heating and air conditioning systems because they need to heat or cool their home immediately!
It’s the biggest mistake of all! They buy a system without good information and they shop for the lowest dollar installation…which leads to a 50-100-200% higher cost over time. What they don’t know is the…
“8 Common Mistakes of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors”
Short Video about The Top 7 Technician in America–Click Here
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Heating and Air Mistake #1 video: Wrong Size Equipment Installed–Click Here
The contractor puts in the wrong size of equipment. What this means is the contractor does not match the size of the equipment to the load of the individual house, or determine the actual amount of heating and cooling that it needs. You want to get the highest performance (or miles per gallon) and to do that means you need the right size equipment. When you put in a system that is too large (very common) you are going to pay for it in operating expenses. It takes more “fuel” to operate the larger system, plus you don’t have as much comfort. It’s the reverse of what you would expect with a larger system.
People generally think that “bigger is better.” It’s not true. Bigger is NOT better.
Too large of equipment is a) initially more expensive, b) increases operation-expense, c) turns on-and-off, d) comes on full force because it is so powerful, e) can’t create stable conditions, e) coils can’t get saturated to do their job, f) equipment can’t handle humidity and moisture problems properly because it can’t get to a steady state of operation g) comfort is decreased, h) the equipment can’t last as long, i) the equipment demands more fuel to operate, j) the temperature of the house goes up and down, k) costs of energy increase, l) cost of repairs increase, m) frequency of repairs increase, n) new-installation-frequency increases.
A faulty duct or distribution system; how the air distributes throughout the house. Not only should the equipment be sized properly, the duct system needs to match the equipment and the house. You need to use all the capacity of the equipment and distribute the air evenly throughout the house. Some rooms have a higher heating (or cooling) demand. 80% of original ducts are not adequate in size. Often the low dollar contractor puts the same size ducts throughout the house ignoring the needs for different size ducts to deliver the amount of air that is needed. This is one of the reasons why some rooms are too hot or too cold. Leakage and poorly assembled joints is very common. Often they are not sealed, or only sealed “temporarily” so the seal comes apart soon after the installation. This causes air to escape from the joints (in the attic, the crawl space, the wall, and between the floors) rather than delivering it where you need it. People can’t see these leaks because they are hidden. Cool air dumping in the wrong place can cause mold problems. Wood floors can dry out excessively. Energy costs can escalate dramatically. On average 35-40% of the energy to heat and cool a home is lost by leakage in the duct system. This is unacceptable and it can be fixed.
Poor filter locations or poor filter assemblies. Many equipment systems don’t come with internal filter racks. The first reason for a filter is to protect your equipment to keep it as clean as possible so it operates properly; a) so you don’t have electrical shortage issues, b) so the equipment doesn’t overheat, or c) in the cooling, so that it doesn’t get dirty causing water issues. Other filters can improve the air we breathe, reduce allergens, or sterilize the air as it passes through. Many filters have poor access and leaky cabinets (the container for the equipment). Many systems we come across don’t even have a filter on it or no sealing. What you have is an opening that is pulling contaminated air directly from the crawl space or the attic and dumping contaminates directly into the house. A good 10-15% of leakage is right there at the filter assembly. This problem also increases the energy costs tremendously. Having no filter affects the equipment itself and becoming contaminated it causes a host of expensive problems; a) larger fixes, b) more fixes, and c) shortens equipment life.
The leaking ducts; a) not assembled properly, b) poorly skilled workmanship when cutting openings, c) using tape (that comes apart quickly) and not mastics, d) when using building cavities for air returns—not sealing them properly.
Health problems can be created from leaking ducts. A Lexington resident chose a well known company to install her heating and air system. Dust and fumes from the crawl space was circulating in her home causing her terrible health problems with many visits to the doctor. The doctors did not understand that it was the house that was the cause. Click this link for the lady’s amazing story and how she got her health back.
Drain systems cause a lot of property damage. Many air conditioning systems and furnaces don’t drain properly. Today’s high-efficiency-furnaces create as much water in the winter as air conditioners create in the summer. The water must be dealt with. You can’t simply pipe it outside. During cold weather, the drain water can freeze back within the structure and suddenly you have no heat. The water must be properly protected and disposed of. We find multitudes of systems that drain the water into the crawl space which leads to mold issues and moisture in the home. Furnaces of 90-95% efficiency recapture heat from the vent gases going up the chimney. Water vapor is one of the biggest byproducts of combustion. Moisture condenses out of those gases and that water vapor must be dealt with. We find leaks in the drain systems, or drains not properly installed which causes collateral damage to the home. Drains often drain the condensate into crawl spaces under the house and into a pit. This causes standing water under the house when you are trying to cool the house in the summertime. Humidity moves into the house above which increases the cooling load. The constant source of water in the house creates mold and health issues and the moisture can damage the house. Some systems don’t even have a draining system installed at all. The water is simply flowing straight into the home.
Thermostat locations. You want the thermostat as centrally located as possible to get a good average temperature of the space. You don’t want a thermostat located where afternoon sun shining on the thermostat will cause excessive run times. You don’t want the thermostat in an area where there is dead air space. It can’t provide an accurate representation of what is actually going on in the home. A lamp (that puts out heat) and located next to the thermostat can throw off the effectiveness of the thermostat. A thermostat located over a register (the vent where air comes into the space) causes problems. When the system comes on, the heated or cooled air passes directly over the thermostat which signals the system to shut off.
Outdoor unit location affects heat pumps and air conditioners more than gas heating systems or the like. Some examples of poor unit locations would be a) near an overhang, or b) near a bedroom window—because of the noise. The location of the unit has a lot to do with how it can operate too. The equipment need to be free to breathe so it can heat and cool properly. Blocking the air circulation around an outdoor unit causes major problems, reduces efficiency, and causes the equipment to work much harder shortening the life-span of the equipment.
The interconnecting copper tubing that runs between an outside air conditioner (or heat pump system) and the equipment inside. Many times the insulation is damaged and the insulation is not repaired after the equipment is installed. This can cause condensate (moisture) issues within the home that is uncovered later. The leaks in the system cause property damage. A common problem is the copper tubing is not the proper size—especially if the equipment is replaced. The new higher efficient systems may take different size tubing than what is installed. Sometimes the installed tubing causes binding and it passes vibrations into the home. Sometimes the tubing is not properly strapped when installed which causes noises and vibrations in the house. Refrigerant leaks are a very common service problem because of installation mistakes.
Heating and Air Conditioning:
“80% of systems are questionable in their installation,”
–Butch Mellott, “Top 7 Technician in the USA”
Those are the 8 Common Mistakes of heating and air conditioning contractors. The higher the quality installer the more of these details will be incorporated in the installation process. A top grade installer/contractor must charge for the materials and time to complete them which increases the price by 10 or 20% on the front end, but it helps avoid a 50%, 100%, or 200% increase in total cost over time.
Said differently, a person can shop around and get quotes on a 13, 15, 19 seer and Geo Thermal system and simply chose one of the lowest bids—but that is often more expensive! You can have the best and most efficient equipment on the market, but if the technician that puts the equipment in does not have the training needed to do a higher quality installation, the total expense of the equipment over time will be much-much-higher. Many companies have a business model of speed–which is why the bid is low. There is no shortcut to quality. It takes time to do a more thorough installation and it requires a more thorough education to understand what needs to be done. It gives new meaning to the phrase; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In central Kentucky, it is common for a new home to need a completely new heating and conditioning system or Geo-Thermal-System (or compressor) within 3-8 years. Why? Because someone chose a lower bid based on price rather than choosing a credentialed contractor with high performance standards, pays attention to these details and is measured by a third party.
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