5 Important Questions to Ask Your HVAC Contractor Before Air Conditioner Replacement
Air conditioners have a specific shelf life just like all other appliances. If maintained and serviced regularly, an air conditioner can work well for almost 10 years increasing the quality of life for you in Northern California. But if you are facing recurrent issues, leaks or malfunctions and break downs, it is more cost effective to replace your air conditioner rather than spend on repairs and replacement of parts.
When home owners wish to replace their air conditioners, they often choose to get the same system as before. This may be a wise choice only if your earlier system was perfect for your requirement.
When you hire an HVAC contractor to replace your air conditioning, there are some questions to be asked, so you know for sure that your new system will be accurate for your house and will last long.
- How will the new air conditioner size be decided?
The size of your air conditioner is crucial for effective cooling. If the contractors say that they will replace your system with another one of the same size they are assuming that your earlier system was sized correctly. This would be wrong and you should insist that they carry out an independent inspection themselves.
If the contractors offer you a bigger system, they are trying to tell you that bigger is better. But more often than not, it isn’t. A system that is too big for your house will in fact give you more problems.
And lastly, if the contractors decide the size of the system based on the house area that you tell them, they may go wrong again as they will be using the rule of thumb. There cannot be a specific sized AC for a specific sized room as there are many other factors that affect heating, cooling, and insulation.
- Will the contractor check the entire house ventilation system?
Insulation, ductwork, air leakage, radiant heat, sunlight are all important factors to consider when sizing or choosing the design for an air conditioning system. You need to be sure that your HVAC contractor has domain knowledge and will check all of these thoroughly, before finalizing a replacement system.
- Will the contractor check the existing ductwork?
The distribution system of the air conditioner; especially the ductwork must be in good condition to ensure smooth flow of cool air throughout your house. Leakage in the ducts will result in a big waste of conditioned air and a huge loss of energy. Of course, your monthly utility bills will soar too.
- Is the contractor going to check air flow in the ductwork?
Air flow to each room should be checked to ensure smooth cooling. If ducts are too small, too long, with many bends or very constricted, air cannot flow well. How ducts move the conditioned air greatly affects cooling.
- Is the contractor using the Quality HVAC Installation Checklist from the Air Conditioning Contractors Association (ACCA)?
The ACCA website has a lot of HVAC related resources like an installation checklist and even a contractor scorecard for homeowners to find a solid contractor.