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SIX HVAC Installation Mistakes To Avoid

Posted 12/07/2023 By Eric Browman

If you’re in the market for new HVAC equipment, you’re probably doing a lot of research into the type of equipment that’s best for your needs, as well as the brands that are highly rated. Did you know that it’s just as important to do your due diligence in choosing the right installer? Use this HVAC troubleshooting guide to help you understand possible issues.

Why installation matters.

Here’s why you want to be sure your new furnace or air conditioner is installed by qualified and experienced professionals:

It reduces service costs and extends equipment life. When your new unit is installed by HVAC experts who understand both the equipment and your needs, it will be adjusted and tuned 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 fewer breakdowns, and you may as much as double the life span of your equipment.

It improves comfort and safety. HVAC installation is not one-size-fits-all. The design and size of your duct work and ventilation, the settings on your unit, the drainage and more all need to be correct in order for your unit to function effectively and efficiently. If mistakes are made by inexperienced or unethical installers, you could end up with temperature variance issues, humidity problems, and even carbon monoxide leaks.

It reduces noise. If your ventilation is improperly designed or connected to the HVAC unit, the resulting noise can drive everyone in the building crazy. Choose a knowledgeable installer to avoid this problem.

Avoid common HVAC installation mistakes.

These common HVAC installation mistakes can seriously cost you. But they’re easy to avoid if you know what to look for.

1. Choosing the wrong size furnace.

If you are relying on your installer to recommend the size and capacity of your new furnace or air conditioner, make sure they are performing the necessary calculations to get it right. Don’t fall victim to the “bigger is better” mistake! An oversized unit can cause you all kinds of problems, find out why.

Even if the contractor isn’t just recommending the biggest unit you can afford, he may be automatically recommending the same size unit that you currently have. This can also be a mistake, because your old unit may have been incorrectly sized. This is likely if you’ve done any renovations without updating the HVAC system. Also, newer units are more efficient, and a smaller unit may now be able to adequately heat or cool your space.

2. Poor air distribution design.

Your furnace or air conditioner only does half the job. In order for that heated or cooled air to get where it’s needed, your duct system needs to designed correctly for the space and for the equipment. For example, the duct size needs to match the output capacity of the unit. Some contactors take shortcuts by using the old duct system when installing new equipment. But in most cases, the duct work should be changed to make sure it’s not leaking, and it works well with the heating or cooling unit.

3. Faulty duct installation technique.

Even when contractors do go to the trouble of installing new duct work, some use cheap materials and poor workmanship to do the job. Ducts may be assembled incorrectly, leaving cracks and gaps. Or, sometimes tape is used as a sealer instead of more permanent sealers. If this happens to you, you’ll have leaky ducts in no time. This increases your energy bills because heated and cooled air is wasted. It can also cause annoying noises, excess dust, drafts, and even humidity problems.

4. Poorly designed drain systems.

Air conditioners and today’s high efficiency furnaces can create a significant amount of waste water, which needs to be drained safely away from the system. If done wrong, you can end up with severe damage to your building from water leaks. In the cold weather, water backing up in pipes can freeze and cause your HVAC system to fail. Accumulating water can also lead to mold and air quality problems.

5. Incorrect exhaust.

Your furnace produces toxic gases, including carbon monoxide, that need to be vented to the outside of the building. If the exhaust flue or damper is the wrong size for your new equipment, fumes can back up and accumulate in the air. The next thing you know, your carbon monoxide detectors are going off and you’ll have a real mess on your hands (you do have carbon monoxide detectors, right?).

6. Installing a Unit without a Service Disconnect

First As with any adoption of a new code, new requirements come along with it. The 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC/2020), aka NFPA 70, was adopted on September 6, 2022, at N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.16. With it came Article 230.85, Emergency Disconnects, and applies to new services on one- and two-family dwellings only. For those of you familiar with the building codes, please do not apply these definitions. Remember, the NEC/2020 has specific definitions in Article 100 and this is where you would find how Article 230.85 applies to these types of buildings: A “Dwelling, One-Family” means, “A building that consists solely of one dwelling unit.” While a “Dwelling, Two-Family” means, “A building that consists solely of two dwelling units”. The word “solely” above means that Article 230.85 applies to one- and two-family detached dwellings and would not apply to townhouses/rowhomes or multi-family buildings. When it comes to a Rehabilitation project, you will note that materials and methods at N.J.A.C. 5:23-6.8(d) does not delete this section; thus, it would be included per the scope of a project, as outlined at N.J.A.C. 5:23-6.2(b). This requirement would be limited to complete service changes and upgrades to these types of homes. “Complete” implies that the project includes new service conductors, service entrance conductors and service equipment. One of the early questions we have received, pertains to whether a separate ground and neutral would be required when installing these disconnects, similar to the installations of subpanels. Officials should take note that the NEC offers three options for compliance. The only method that requires the disconnect to be marked as “Service Equipment” would be the only one that would require the installation of separate grounds and neutrals.

Cold Stinger Heating And Air Conditioning Installers can have your new system installed and running the same day . Chat with us online or call us at 623-521-6448 to learn more about a new energy-efficient central air system.

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