While this may seem unreal, there is research dating as far back as the mid-1990s and continuing through today that supports this claim. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), 70-90% of HVAC system faults occur due to poor installation and maintenance practices by the HVAC companies. With over 37 years of knowledge and experience in the HVAC industry, as well as holding a Texas HVAC license, I can tell you this statistic is real. Why does the everyday consumer have to suffer financially and jeopardize health and comfort by having their system not work properly? While this knowingly takes place in both new-built and existing homes, we’ll focus on existing homes. Here are some things to consider.
1) Oversized or Undersized HVAC systems
Most HVAC companies, will simply look at the current system and replace it like-for-like. They fail to perform the proper assessments including the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J heat load calculation, which identifies the size of equipment needed to cool or heat a building, and the Manual S system calculation, which determines the appropriate equipment required. In considering “cooling and heating” loads of your home, if a unit is installed that is too big, it will short cycle, causing premature breakdowns, therefore wearing out sooner rather than later. Not to mention the comfort issues it will cause with humidity problems. If a unit that is too small is installed, it will run for an extended period of time trying to keep up during the heat of the summer months. It may never reach the desired temperature during the hottest months. The only way to correct a problem with an incorrectly sized HVAC system is to replace it.
2) HVAC Technicians Don’t Follow Proper Installation Procedures
While the HVAC system may look like everything is installed correctly to the average homeowner, there are underlying factors that the homeowner doesn’t see. This can include vacuum procedures that regulate moisture, proper refrigerant levels, lack of adjustment for consistent airflow, correct placement of the indoor and outdoor units, and ducts not sealed at the indoor unit or any other areas of the ducts. These are just some concerns involved in the proper startup procedures required by each manufacturer. Unfortunately, not all technicians get things right during an HVAC installation. The truth is there are a few practices that HVAC technicians actually get wrong more often than not. Why? It could be caused by simple complacency or by just not receiving the proper education. Either way, the homeowner is the one that suffers.
3) Airflow Issues
Speaking of ducts, 70% of HVAC systems in the United States have issues relating to airflow—a statistic that most HVAC contractors overlook. They generally just want to get the system installed cheaply, quickly, and move on. With today’s technology of HVAC systems, proper airflow is critical. Try blowing or sucking as hard as you can through a kinked straw. This is exactly what your system is doing. It just simply will not work. If the airflow is restricted, either through the return air or supply air, the opposite will be reduced. This pressure will cause major breakdowns in the system, humidity issues, etc. Ducts may also be leaky, undersized, or oversized for the new system. Either way, before you consider upgrading your HVAC system, have your ducts tested. One simple test conducted by an HVAC technician can determine if there are airflow problems.
4) Industry Need
According to the ACCA Standard 5 QI-2010, there is a need to have high expectations within the HVAC industry in order to ensure that quality installations occur. This need benefits not only the HVAC contractor demonstrating quality work but, most importantly, the needs of the building owners as well. This includes comfort, safety, energy efficiency, and the indoor environment. Within this Quality Installation (QI) Standard, the core elements include system design, distribution with ducts, equipment installation, system documentation, and owner education.
Here at Diamond Head Inspection Services, LLC, we do more than just perform all types of inspections. As a licensed HVAC contractor, our goal is to ensure and protect the everyday consumer when it comes to HVAC systems and, in return, provide you peace of mind. This means that we do not perform any HVAC sales or installations. Instead, we provide unbiased third-party HVAC quality installation inspections, design, consulting, and testing. So, before you go out and feel pressured into upgrading your HVAC system, give us a call. We will provide you with all the information specific to your home and your needs before you go out and get those bids. Afterward, we can perform the inspection to ensure the work is done properly. We can even look over the bids with you. Want to save thousands of dollars and have better health, safety, and comfort? Then call us today at (737)600-2949 or check out our website at www.diamondheadinspectionserves.com. You’ll be glad you did!