Don’t get tricked into thinking that replacing the ‘box’ is going to solve the problem. Most times you end up with the same problem…but new equipment.
The problem being the system does not cool the second floor, it’s noisy and inefficient.
The History of air conditioning and what went wrong.
Prior to 1970, no home was designed with air conditioning. Heat was the only option in those days. Because furnaces need less air flow than air conditioners, the ducts were sized much smaller. If your home was built prior to 1970 and you have air conditioning, it was most likely retro-fitted between 1975 and 1990.
If your home was built between 1970 and 2000, chances are it came with central air or a heat pump. These were the early days of air conditioning, and most likely the return and supply ducts to the second floor were sized too small. The way the new construction market worked was that the general contractor would find a guy who just quit his day job and is now in business as a HVAC installation sub-contractor. The GC, being a more skilled negotiator, would get a price from the HVAC sub that was at or below the cost of the HVAC sub. This meant that if there was any profit to be made, it would have to come from cutting corners. It did not happen like this every time, but it did a lot of the time.
If your home was built after 2000, and you live in New Castle County Delaware, you probably have a decent design and installation. The county government got their act together as far as building permits and inspections. It is actually a decent process today, but not all municipal or county governments are at the same professional level as New Castle County, so this does not apply to everyone. Unfortunately, some of the problems listed above continue today in our surrounding area.
Some of the common problems with ill-designed systems include:
● Second floor is drastically warmer than the first floor;
● Lots of energy wasted due to leaking ductwork;
● Hi – low returns in the wrong spaces;
● Returns on the outside of the house;
● Return duct smaller than supply duct;
● The system is annoyingly loud;
● Condensate draining into the sump, causing mold;
● Ductwork in non-conditioned spaces not insulated.
Now is your chance to get it right!
If you are going to replace your system, make sure your contractor talks to you about your existing duct system. You will be able to re-use it, but you will benefit from its alteration. Perhaps a return to the second floor, duct sealing, zoning, larger drops and turning vanes will make big improvements. Don’t let anyone tell you “variable speed” technology will solve the problem – it won’t.
It’s your home, and it’s your choice. With new equipment, your system should work as well as it ever did. For a variety of reasons this might be the right solution. Whatever you decide will be right, but make your decision having all the necessary information.
Our sales engineers will be happy to visit your home and make recommendations. No charge and no obligation.