HVAC Replacement and Installation: What to Know
Is your residential property in desperate need of an HVAC replacement and installation? Do you feel as if there are looming air conditioner repairs or other AC maintenance needs that have to occur? If so, then you need to learn all that you can to make the most of your investment.
Contrary to popular belief, an HVAC system needs regular service to stay in good repair and prolong its life. Most people wait to call someone when it breaks, which can be distressing and uncomfortable.
See below for an in-depth guide on everything you need to know about an HVAC replacement and what you should look for when you hire a service.
Find a Matched System
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recommends that homeowners replace their indoor and outdoor system at the same time, so that the components match. This is what is known as a matched system.
Air conditioners and heat pumps are sometimes called split systems because they have an indoor unit (coil) and an outdoor unit (condensing unit). Manufacturers create HVAC systems (air conditioning and heating equipment) to purposely work together. We are not talking about certain consumable parts, such as fan motors that are commonly replaced.
Indoor and outdoor units are matched using the following considerations:
- btu capacity which specifies output – (i.e., how many tons),
- type of refrigerant used (typically, Freon (R-22) or Puron (R-410A)),
- physical size (slab coil or box coil, for example), and
- power (i.e., two- or three-phase power).
According to the AHRI, the easiest way to verify that the system is properly matched is to ask your HVAC technician for an AHRI Reference Number or an AHRI Certificate of Certified Product Performance. This reference number and certificate verify the condenser and evaporator coil combination has been independently certified as a matched system. This certificate can sometimes be used to seek rebates from your utility company because you can prove its efficiency.
An independent third-party verification of how efficient your matched system is will require the replacement of the indoor unit, outdoor unit and furnace (if you are using one). Heat pump systems don’t always require the use a furnace. Those that do are called hybrid heat pump systems.
There are certain situations when you replace only one part of your HVAC system because it is covered under warranty. In that situation, the manufacturer can often replace that piece so it is a good match. It is also possible for an experienced company to match systems fairly closely with different brands (because of supply issues), but those won’t have the same documented efficiency that a truly matched system will.
It’s never a good idea to buy mismatched equipment haphazardly with no thought to how they work together. The reason is that you won’t get the performance, comfort or the energy efficiency you expect. At worst, the equipment could fail earlier than it should.
Not sure where to start? No problem! Our trusted team is always glad to help you find the perfect fit for your needs. We’ll be happy to point you in the direction of a matched system and help you find the options to accommodate your budget.
If a matched system isn’t in the stars, then so be it! We’ll still help you achieve better results over a longer period of time thanks to our maintenance programs (more on that in a bit).
Find the Right Size Unit for HVAC Replacement
Most homeowners don’t realize that there are many different sizes and configurations of HVAC systems available.
It makes sense when you think about it: different sized houses will require different sized HVAC systems to make the home as energy-efficient as possible. In our humid climate, we depend on air conditioning to remove the excess humidity from the air to be more comfortable indoors.
The size your air conditioning system or heat pump is going to be is based on a technical calculation called the heat load calculation. The heat load calculation could be different from when you first moved in if you remodeled, added insulation, changed the windows, or added landscaping that shades your home.
You’ll find online heat load calculators that can give a rule of thumb in the field but there are times when your HVAC contractor might recommend that an Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J residential calculation is completed by an HVAC engineer so that you get the proper size unit for your home or office.
Too many customers end up purchasing the wrong size for their home. They either purchase a system that is too big or one that is too small because they don’t know to ask the question. Bigger is not always better.
In our humid climate here in Richmond, Texas along the Gulf Coast, an HVAC system that’s too big will complicate things in the summer months. It will cool things down in your home before the humidity has a chance to clear out, which will cause humidity to build up in your home and can cause mold growth.
The problems don’t stop there. During the winter months, an oversized HVAC system will push out too much heat too quickly but it still might not feel comfortable because of the humidity.
As you might suspect, an HVAC system that’s too small will never get the job done. It will continue to constantly run, trying to reach your desired temperature. This can cause the entire system to overheat and wear out sooner than it should.
Invest in a Variable Speed HVAC System
As you just saw, an HVAC system that’s the wrong size can compromise your comfort indoors and the integrity of your home. It can quickly wear down your HVAC system and affect the indoor air quality, causing unwanted (and costly) repairs.
The older technology in your current HVAC system might be causing your energy bill to skyrocket. How can you invest in something that will make your home more efficient?
One Speed HVAC, Multi-Speed or Variable HVAC Unit?
Most HVAC systems we grew up with had one speed on their AC system. The system was either “on” or “off.” Newer models have multiple speeds, so that your system uses just the air conditioning or heating that is needed. These types of systems are typically much more efficient than older equipment.
A next-level above this is a variable-speed system that has basically infinite speeds available. It’s much smarter than equipment installed a decade ago and it sips electricity, only using what it needs to keep the indoor temperature and humidity levels where you want them.
Benefits of Variable Speed Systems for HVAC Replacement
We highly recommend investing in a variable-speed HVAC system (but even a multi-speed system is good). Variable-speed refers to the technology in the compressor of your system, which can slow down or speed up the unit. It ensures that your desired temperature is met while streamlining the workload of the entire system. When it clicks on, it might only be running at half capacity if that is all the cooling you need. You can see very quickly how this could save you money over the long haul.
For that reason, you can expect your HVAC system to run better and for longer. Pair that with a high-quality maintenance program, and your system will be humming along for a long time to come.
What’s even better, is that regular maintenance can prevent several common problems and save you money due to their tremendous efficiency. You’ll have more room in your budget for other expenses.
Invest in a Maintenance Agreement
Did you know that an HVAC system can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance? Even though the system can last up to a decade and a half, very few ever make it that far.
Regular HVAC Maintenance Keeps HVAC Systems Going Longer
Why? Because most homeowners may not know that all HVAC systems perform at their best when they are regularly serviced and maintained. It’s pretty common for our phone to ring off the hook in the summer and in the winter when people are uncomfortable because their air conditioner or heater stopped working.
For some, their mindset is to only call someone whenever the system breaks down. But why create the conditions for a surprise breakdown in the first place?
We want to help reverse that mindset. Instead of thinking “I’ll call someone when it breaks down,” shifting your mindset to “I want to take the best care of my system possible to extend the life of my system” can dramatically reduce the times your HVAC system breaks down.
The first step to switching that mindset is getting your system regularly serviced, once in the fall and once in the spring.
HVAC Maintenance Agreements Make Regular Service Care-Free
If you want to put HVAC maintenance on autopilot, you could consider an HVAC service contract to handle the maintenance for you. Once your HVAC system is installed, scheduled maintenance can make it easy to ensure your system is serviced and working properly.
This helps you in three ways. First, it ensures that you and your family are breathing clean air. Second, your favorite HVAC company gets to know you and your equipment, so they can advise you if anything pops up before it becomes a more expensive problem. Lastly, proof of regular HVAC maintenance helps preserve the manufacturer’s warranty!
Schedule an HVAC Replacement With a Trusted Company Today
Now that you have read this in-depth guide, it’s clear that you should hire a trusted company for the HVAC replacement, as well as a scheduled maintenance agreement to keep it running smoothly for the long-term.
Learn more about what questions to ask when evaluating an HVAC quote. For more information on our maintenance agreement, be sure to read this page to learn all about our Peace of Mind Protection Plan.
To schedule service or receive a quote on an HVAC replacement, please contact us at Terry’s A/C & Heating and we will be happy to assist you further.