Things are tough, the last 1-2 years have taken a lot out of everyone and we are still living with the consequences to this day. For this reason, many people are trying to offset costs by learning DIY skills or by hiring non-qualified people. When it comes to a simple backyard project, there is nothing wrong with saving some money by doing it yourself. But, there are other tasks that are best left to a professional and an AC system installation fits into that category. In this article, we will highlight some of the reasons why you should choose a professional AC installer for your home.
A Quick Primer on AC Systems
We have come to rely on our air conditioning and heating systems to keep our homes comfortable, no matter the weather outdoors. But, an air conditioner is a complex piece of equipment with electronic, mechanical, and electrical components. Some of these parts even move and that adds to the complexity of the system as a whole. It may be tempting to save some money and poke around in the unit(s) yourself, but this is a bad idea. It’s very easy to cause damage if you don’t have any formal HVAC system training. If you dislodge or damage one component that part can affect others leading to a more extensive repair bill later. After an HVAC system installation, there is a period when errors are more common as the system is “bedding-in”. Attempting adjustments or “repairs” on your own with no training or experience can cause a lot of problems.
Protecting Your Investment
An air conditioning system can be expensive, even a budget unit can stretch a tight budget and it makes sense to protect your investment. After all, the world economy is going through a tough time right now and you want to get the most out of your heating and cooling equipment. If you can’t stretch your AC unit to last another year, you need to make sure that you protect your new system. During the installation, it’s easy to damage equipment if you’re not sure how to install it properly. Components can be dropped, misplaced, or hooked-up incorrectly leading to other problems.
Maximizing Energy Efficiency
Again, a poor installation could negate many of the energy efficiency benefits. This is especially true if you’ve invested in a high-efficiency system to boost performance and lower your energy bills. Expensive HVAC systems should be installed by heating and cooling specialists with the knowledge and experience to get it right the first time.
The Load Calculation
Many people don’t understand the concept of a load calculation and how it can have a major impact on their home cooling and heating. There are free load calculation tools online that are solely based on the square footage of your home. But, these simple tools are not accurate because they don’t take a host of other factors into account, including insulation levels, airflow patterns, home orientation, the number of windows, and more. Carrying out a professional load calculation requires a lot of measure and some complex calculations. A handyman will not know how to do this and even if they did it’s likely to be wrong because they missed something.
The load calculation is critically important because it will determine the size of the system for your home. If you install a system that is too small or too large for your home, it can cause a number of problems:
Too Small: The air conditioner will run constantly because it can never cool the home to the temperature set on the thermostat. This is a very inefficient cooling method and the energy bills will be extremely high. When heating and cooling equipment is overworked in this way, it will be prone to failure and an earlier than expected replacement.
Too Big: If the air conditioner is too big for the home it can lead to a phenomenon known as “short-cycling” in the heating and cooling industry. The system will cool the home down too quickly, causing the thermostat to become confused. The system will turn on and then off again quickly as it attempts to compensate for rapid heating and cooling. Again, this introduces a lot of strain on the components and it can drive up the energy bill considerably.
As you can see, both scenarios are pretty bad, but one of the worst aspects of an incorrectly sized system is that you are paying high energy bills and getting poor performance in return.
What Happens During a Professional AC Installation?
Ideally, you should involve your local heating and cooling specialist at an early stage. They can perform a professional load calculator for you and this will help you to choose a system that will meet your needs. The specialist can offer useful advice to make the process easier and advise you about any extras you may need. Once you’re happy, you can set a date and take advantage of any special offers that may be available. Next, here are three key steps to the AC system installation process, they are:
- The Old AC System is Removed
This sounds simple, but it can be a complex process because there are components that can be hazardous. These must be disposed of in a responsible manner and this is done for you. Another key aspect of this stage is the careful removal of the old system to avoid damage to other areas that can be salvaged. At this stage, many amateurs cause damage to ductwork and other systems that can be used with the new equipment.
- Making New Connections
The new AC system is placed and then connected to the other parts of your home via the ductwork. The indoor and outdoor units are hooked-up and then tested to ensure they are working correctly. At this stage, it may be necessary to alter the position of air ducts without causing too much disruption to your home.
- Testing the New AC System
After the final connection is made it’s time to test the AC system properly. There are times when it’s necessary to make adjustments to get the system up and running. There is a “bedding-in” period when the AC system can require some extra attention.
As you can see, choosing a professional AC system installation makes good sense. Unlike a DIY or handyman installation, you have protection if something goes wrong later. Many new AC systems have a warranty that could be voided if the equipment is not professionally installed. If you’re considering a new AC system for your home, contact your local HVAC specialist today.