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Installing Air Conditioning? Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes

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Last Updated on July 8, 2015


Are you making these five mistakes?

Your air conditioning plays a major role in your day-to-day comfort and well-being. So when you’re installing air conditioning in your home, making the wrong choices can really cost you. Not only in dollars and cents, but also in your quality of life.

5 common mistakes homeowners make installing air conditioning:

MISTAKE #1: Letting your building contractor handle installing air conditioning

Many times you’re installing air conditioning as part of a larger renovation project. If that’s the case, make sure your building contractor is bringing in a qualified HVAC company for installing the air conditioning.

Your air conditioning is a complex system that needs to be installed and configured by trained experts. A qualified HVAC installer who understands both the equipment and your needs will adjust and tune the system according to the manufacturer’s specifications and the requirements of your space.

As a result, the equipment runs more reliably with less wear and tear on the parts. You’ll experience more consistent comfort, fewer breakdowns, and you may as much as double the life span of your equipment.

MISTAKE #2: Failing to do a proper load calculation and HVAC design

When you’re renovating your home, a lot of things are changing: the layout, possibly the square footage, building materials used and the usage of the space. All of these factors need to be considered to determine the correct size of your new unit, and the placement of ventilation and equipment components.

Once of the biggest mistakes you can make is automatically replacing your old unit with a new one of the same size and type. Many older units are oversized to begin with. Add to that the new energy efficient windows and doors, better insulation and lighting that produces less heat, and your load requirements can drop quite a bit. Why is an oversized unit so bad? Because it won’t remove enough humidity so your home will feel sticky and uncomfortable. Oversized units also tend to break down more often and wear out sooner.

*Related article: 4 Reasons You Need HVAC Design for Your Air Conditioning Install.

MISTAKE #3: Not considering the HVAC design early in the renovation process

For the best results, installing air conditioning should not be just a matter of plugging in a new unit where the old one used to be.

Enlisting the expertise of an experienced air conditioning install company during the renovation design process can eliminate many problems, including:

  • Comfort complaints due to improper ventilation design
  • Air quality concerns: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that indoor air quality complaints are associated with poor design of mechanical systems
  • Poor energy efficiency that results from mistakes installing air conditioning
  • Construction delays: when the HVAC contractor is brought in too late in the process, failure to plan correctly for the HVAC system may cause delays in your project

MISTAKE #4: Failing to consider the latest HVAC technology

HVAC technology has made major strides in the past decade. If you replace your air conditioner with the same old technology, you may be missing out on an opportunity to improve performance, enhance the comfort of the space, and save on energy costs.

Today’s systems use more precise, digital controls and designs that can adjust the level of heating and cooling to individual rooms or areas within the space. A good example is variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, which not only do a better job of providing consistent comfort, but also use less energy. These systems can provide supplemental heating in addition to air conditioning. They can cool some areas while simultaneously heating others.

Related article: 7 Reasons to Choose VRF Technology for Your New Air Conditioning.

New systems are designed for integration with handy new remote controls, so you can monitor and adjust your air conditioning from your smart phone or tablet.

MISTAKE #5: Not hiring a company that services what they install

If you want to make sure the installation is done right, here’s one way to make sure: find an expert who will handle the ongoing maintenance after installing your air conditioning.

If they know they will be maintaining the equipment for years to come, your HVAC expert will make sure that the builder plans for proper access to the equipment and that the equipment is correctly configured to prevent problems.

IMPORTANT: Once your new system is installed, make maintenance a priority. If you do, your system is far more likely to continue providing reliable comfort without breakdowns.

Related article: 8 Ways Preventative Maintenance Keeps the Repairman Away.

How to find an HVAC contractor you can trust for installing air conditioning

Once you understand the need to hire an HVAC expert for installing air conditioning, the tricky part can be finding someone you can trust. You may have seen those TV news reports or YouTube videos exposing less-than-honest air conditioning vendors. We promise: there are reputable and trustworthy HVAC experts out there, and here’s how you can find them.

Who’s in the neighborhood?

If you see an air conditioning company’s trucks frequently around your neighborhood, it’s an indication that the company is trusted by many of your neighbors. You can be confident that they won’t take a chance of ruining a hard-earned reputation with unethical business practices.

Check out credentials

Unfortunately, checking for a license won’t help you in New York state, since there is no licensing for HVAC companies in our state. If you do live in a state that requires a license, check for that first.

Luckily, there are other credentials that you can rely on to indicate a knowledgeable HVAC company with highly trained technicians: certification from industry organizations such as MSCA or NATE, which require members to complete ongoing training and pass periodic exams.

Get a visual inspection

Have your potential vendors come in and inspect the space, look over the plans and consult with the builder, architect and/or engineer before making equipment recommendations.

Get a written bid

Comparing competing bids can be an eye-opening experience, and make sure you look at more than just the bottom line.

Some companies write bids and contracts in legalese that makes it difficult to understand what you’re getting for the price. It’s a great sign when the company spells everything out in terms you can understand; it speaks volumes about their commitment to customer service.

Check references

Before signing on the dotted line, get recent references and be sure to actually contact them to learn about their experience with the vendor. Don’t assume the customers they give you will automatically say good things. You may be surprised about what you can learn.

If you’re in the beginning stages of selecting a new air conditioning system, you may find yourself overwhelmed by all the options. It pays to educate yourself to be sure you make the right decision, and we’ve made that much easier with our handy guide: The Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning for NYC Luxury Residential Spaces.

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