3 Things Your HVAC Contractor Doesn't Want You to Know
Things Homeowners Should Know
I know what you are thinking, why is an HVAC contractor putting out an article about what heating and cooling companies don't want you to know? At Superior Heating | Cooling | Plumbing, we can appreciate your skepticism, but we want to empower homeowners to make the right decisions regarding their homes. We compiled a list of the top items consumers should know when purchasing a new air conditioner, furnace, or complete HVAC system.
1. Bigger is NOT always better.
When it comes to selecting the proper tonnage size air conditioner for your home, it is crucial to choose a unit(s) based on the following items:
Square footage of the home
All AC unit sizes have limits to the area they can efficiently cool. For this reason, the HVAC industry recommends two air conditioners if a house has over 3,000 square feet. However, two air conditioners come with a hefty price tag that is stifling for some homeowners. For this reason, some contractors will recommend larger units to make the price more palatable but more costly in the long run. The reason for this is that regardless of the size of your home, if you have an AC unit that is bigger than recommended, it can cause a shorter product lifespan. This is because your home only needs a fraction of the larger system's power to reach the desired temperature, creating shorter run times and more frequent equipment starts and stops. These repetitive cycles utilize more energy and cause additional wear on the AC components. The flip side of this issue is when you have a unit that is too small for the home. The AC must work at full capacity for long periods to reach the desired temperature settings. This causes unnecessary wear on the unit and can also shorten the lifespan of your air conditioner. Then you also have to factor in the costly energy bills from running at full power all summer long. By selecting the right tonnage size system, you will benefit from energy efficiency savings, extend the lifetime of your system, and enjoy more consistent comfort in your house.
The style of your home, whether a single or two-story
One of the biggest mistakes home builders or renovators make regarding the HVAC system is only putting one air conditioning unit and furnace on a two-story home. Even two-story homes with 1,500 square feet can feel temperature fluctuations between the floors by as much as 10 degrees. This is a natural occurrence because heat rises, resulting in a hotter second floor. Another issue to consider is that with a single unit, you are also trying to control two separate climate zones with a single setting. So trying to get the perfect comfort level throughout the home becomes a game of cat and mouse. By choosing two units, you gain energy efficiency, optimal comfort levels throughout the house, and less wear and tear on your equipment. While the initial investment will be higher for the two units, you will save money throughout your system's lifetime. However, two-story homes are not the only ones recommended for two HVAC systems. The HVAC Industry recommends that any single-family home over 3,000 square feet have two complete HVAC systems.
The age of the home
Sometimes, the phrase 'they don't build them like they used to' is a good thing. One instance of this is the construction of your house. Older homes are typically draftier, have less insulation and their windows and doors need seal improvements to meet today's standards. For these reasons, the HVAC system needs a little more capacity per square foot to maintain maximum comfort. If your home is on the border between two units because of its size, your technician or comfort specialist may recommend slightly bigger equipment (tonnage) to compensate.
Windows make a difference
Natural light can truly make a house a home. When the sun is shining through your windows on a cold winter day, it is nice to enjoy its warmth from the comfort of your couch. However, there is a tradeoff. When it comes to the heating and cooling of your home, the more windows the dwelling has, the more likely it is to have leaks or broken seals. This means that the warm or cool air inside your home can escape more easily and impact the temperature levels in the house. Experienced HVAC professionals will consider the number of windows and doors when selecting the proper size system for your needs. That is why you should only use reputable licensed contractors for your heating and cooling needs.
2. Not all HVAC systems or contractors are created equal.
When it is 92 degrees in your house, you will often call around to different HVAC companies and go with the one that can get to your home the fastest. While you might be fine if it is a minor repair, as soon as you hear you need a new unit or system, things can change. Here are some reasons why selecting the right heating and cooling company from the beginning is a good idea.
Some HVAC companies will not work on equipment over a specific age.
They typically find out the age of your system, waive the service fee to inspect the air conditioner or furnace, and automatically recommend a replacement once at your house. While there might be reasons for a customer to upgrade their equipment over 13 years old, an ethical HVAC contractor will provide all your options and information to make the right decision based on your needs rather than the contractor's bottom line.
HVAC Contractors only work with specific brands of equipment.
3. Little Things Make a Big Impact on a HVAC System
When your air conditioner is on, but cold air isn’t coming out of the vents can make for a stressful situation. While you can call someone immediately, there are some things you can check first to troubleshoot your system.
Clean your air conditioner condenser
The air conditioning equipment you see is called a condenser when you are outside your house. On the outside of the condenser is a protective cabinet with louvers that allow for airflow. Over time with weather, foliage, and debris, the airflow into the condenser gets restricted. You can easily clean the blockage with your garden hose. Spray down the condenser with water only. We do not recommend harsh chemicals and cleansers because they can corrode components and cause more issues. You also want to avoid using a pressure washer because it can bend the condenser coil fin pack and restrict airflow. Once your condenser is clean, you should see the improved performance of your equipment.
Changing your air filter
One item commonly overlooked is the importance of changing your air filter according to manufacturer recommendations. You also account for the number of people and animals in your household. The more people and pets, the more often you should change your air filter. A home with only two people can probably get away with changing its filter every three months. A house with four people and two dogs should change its filter monthly. While the timeframe for changing the filter might differ, a clean air filter allows for maximum air movement throughout your HVAC system and allows for it to work correctly. If the air filter is full and air can't move through, it can cause issues.
Clearing obstructions from your return
In a busy household, it is easy for stuff to pile up and block return vents. If you aren't getting your regular heating or cooling impact, walk around your home and ensure your return vents and registers are free from obstructions.
Why Choose Superior Heating | Cooling | Plumbing for your HVAC Needs?
We hope this information is helpful and empowers you when selecting an HVAC contractor for your home. Contact Superior Heating | Cooling | Plumbing for any of your home's service needs.
We are passionate about providing top-quality HVAC services to residents of St. Charles County, West St. Louis County, and the surrounding areas. Our experienced professionals are committed to helping you find your home's perfect air conditioning system this summer. With our knowledge of the latest industry trends, cutting-edge technology, and available financial incentives, we can help you make an informed decision that will keep you comfortable and save you money in the long run.
"*" indicates required fields