Complete HVAC with Whole Home Performance
Every contractor needs to know how important efficiency is for this industry, as the world grows around us we have new technology every day. Being able to offer and explain the latest, most efficient equipment can give you a great edge on your market. Although in some situations, having the most efficient equipment simply doesn’t cut it and there are many different issues that can prevent your install from performing as advertised, including:
- The condition and size of duct work;
- The condition, size, and style of return air; and
- The insulation quality for the home.
Even something as small as a low-rated window can affect the efficiency in a home—and you need to be aware of it all or it can come back to haunt you. The most common problem many contractors and technicians run into is the ductwork. For example, most systems that are replaced in present standards are upsized, even if it is only upsized a half a ton. What most technicians overlook (either on purpose or mistake) is the fact that if system has to be upsized, then the ductwork usually does as well. Or at least modified to handle the extra air the new system will produce.
Common Problems with Duct
If your customer’s HVAC equipment is 10 years old, there’s a good possibility that it’s out of date and using too much power, according to present standards. Ductwork, on the other hand, can last much longer than the HVAC equipment in the home, but only if it is taken care of and paid attention to. Ductwork can suffer from many issues, including:
- Tape seams coming loose due to humidity and moisture;
- Rodent damage done to the duct board; and
- Rusting issues with metal duct.
Issues like these will usually result in loss or restriction of airflow, bringing unnecessary debris into the home, and ultimately affecting the efficiency of the system. After all, if the ductwork suffers from anything, it is more often air leaks. Many times all it takes is a simple re-seal of the ductwork. Another common problem is debris in ductwork. When was the last time your client had their ducts cleaned? Although it seems more cosmetic than anything else, the truth is that debris in the ductwork can restrict the airflow, causing loss in the system’s efficiency.
Don’t Forget the Return
We all get caught up in the moment of the sale or get stuck in a rush trying to meet all of your calls for the day, but the return duct is one of the most important parts to the entire equation. It needs to be the right size, sealed correctly, and properly house the adequate filtration method. You can only get so much air out of the size of your return and if it isn’t sealed correctly, you could risk pulling contaminants in past the filter. What good would a filter be? And if your return is pulling air from anywhere you don’t want it to, it could drastically affect the efficiency of your equipment. You also want to make sure replacing the system’s filter is as easy as possible with options on what filter the homeowner chooses to use. The harder it is to change a filter, the less likely your customer will do it on time or even correctly. And we all know what a dirty filter can do to the efficiency of the entire system.
Details Are Everything
When considering how efficient the equipment you install is, you must also consider how efficient the home will allow it to be. And if the ductwork of the home is 10 years or older, it needs to be cleaned and re-sealed to begin with. In most cases that’s all you really need: to clean the ductwork to not only allow easy and correct airflow but protect the breathing air for your customers. Re-sealing the ductwork will ensure that they don’t lose any conditioned air in their attic or crawl space.
Knowing how your regional equipment holds out and being honest with yourself and your customer is the key. In most cases a simple clean and seal will go a long way, and even in sizing issues, usually the only action needed is a small adjustment or modification to both the supply and return. As long as everything is considered you will see efficiency ratings grow considerably and your customer will thank you for their energy savings. It doesn’t matter how efficient the equipment is in a home, if everything doesn’t work together it will never work the way you promise your client it will.
Sophia Moore has been a PR coordinator for over 5 years in the HVAC industry with Parker & Sons, Inc – a Phoenix HVAC company, which has been in business since 1974.
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