Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-eﬁicient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system eﬁiciency by up to 30 percent—oosting you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment’s life.
Make sure to ask your contractor if his or her work meets ENERGY STAR Quality Installation guidelines. These guidelines, based on the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) quality installation specification, require:
Proper Sizing of Equipment
Installing the right size equipment for the home is essential to getting the best performance and comfort. Many homeowners believe that bigger is always better when buying new heating and cooling equipment. In reality, a system that’s too large will not keep your home comfortable because of frequent ‘on/off’ cycling. Incorrect sizing can also put stress on system components and shorten the equipments life. With an ENERGY STAR Quality Installation, your contractor will make sure that you get a system that is the right size for your home.
To help ensure that your new system delivers the heated or cooled air to all the rooms of your home, contractors using ENERGY STAR Quality Installation guidelines will evaluate your duct system to identify leaks, and then seal them using mastic, metal-backed tape, or an aerosol-based sealant. In some instances, your contractor may advise you that it is necessary to replace or add ducts.
Ensuring Proper Refrigerant Charge
Incorrect refrigerant level can lower efficiency by 5 — 20 percent and can ultimately cause premature component failure, resulting in costly repairs. With an ENERGY STAR Quality Installation, your contractor will verify that the refrigerant level in the system is correct.
Optimizing Air Flow
Airflow in your heating and cooling system is too high or too low, you may experience comfort problems and higher utility bills. With an ENERGY STAR Quality Installation, your contractor will test air flow and make any needed adjustments for optimal performance.When purchasing heating and cooling equipment, choosing energy-efficient products is a step in the right direction. However, asking the right questions of your contractor and making sure your equipment is properlysized and installed are also important elements to ensure that your new system performs at optimal efficiency.