As a roofing company, we don’t provide HVAC service, however we believe that it’s an important part of a healthy house and home. In fact, we believe it in it so much we have dedicated partnerships with HVAC companies – people who specialize in HVAC and will give you expert service at the best price. If you’re ever in need of a good recommendation please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Installing an HVAC System
Installing an HVAC system involves determining whether the unit is going to be roof-mounted or a split system.
Roof-mounted systems have the heating and cooling systems in one cabinet. Sometimes called “gas packs” they typically cost less than a comparable split system. In dry regions, most homes originally had “swamp-coolers” installed. When replacing them with HVAC systems, it’s often cheaper to use existing mounts and ducting.
They are also often harder to install. A proper location on the roof must be selected that can support the weight of the unit. Then a platform must be built and a drain pipe for the unit must be run along the roof to avoid problems with mold and corrosion. A crane must be used to lift the unit onto the roof while a team guides it into place and hooks it up.
Split HVAC System
Split systems are generally more efficient because the heat exchanger can be put in a shadier or cooler location instead of on the roof in full sunlight. All that is needed for the heat exchanger is a concrete platform in the right spot.
Installing a split system may involve making modifications to the house itself for the necessary lines to be run. The heat exchangers are also more prone to picking up debris and must be cleaned on a regular basis. While they come with protective screens over the fan, care must still be taken to ensure that nothing gets in, especially in a home with children.
Components of an HVAC System
At its most basic, an HVAC system consists of a lot of moving parts. In this section we’ll go through how an HVAC system works.
An air conditioner that cools the air in your home. This works with an evaporator to make up the system that helps cool your home in the warm months. It’s most often powered by electricity.
A furnace that warms and circulates the air in your home. Furnaces are powered by many different sources such as electricity, solar, or geothermal, but most often they are powered by natural gas.
Ducting that serves as a highway for the conditioned air to travel to your rooms. Ducting is normally made of stamped sheet metal, but expansion and contraction can cause leaks to form. Some contractors will install flexible ducting that won’t wear out so easily.
A thermostat that controls when the system turns on and off. Thermostats can be manual, programmable, and some work wirelessly so you can control them remotely from your smartphone.
There are other components of an HVAC system that may or may not be present in a standard installation.
A central humidifier helps maintain the level of humidity in the air in your home. Scientists have determined that most people are comfortable at 50% humidity. This keeps the air from being too dry or too humid and cuts down on static electricity. It can also help people with respiratory conditions such as COPD or chronic asthma.
An energy recovery ventilator helps improve the air inside your home by swapping it out with fresh air from the outside. During the winter months when houses are closed up to keep out the cold, the air inside becomes a handy way for colds and flu to infect an entire family. By circulating outside air inside, the health of your family will have a better chance.
An electronic air cleaner helps keep pollen and other allergens from getting into your system and circulating throughout the house.
Having the most energy-efficient system ever built won’t matter much if it’s not maintained. Lack of maintenance is the number one killer of HVAC systems. Before each cooling season, it’s recommended that your system get a professional tune-up. However, there are things you can do in the meantime to make sure your system runs efficiently throughout the year.
You should learn your manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning or replacing your filters. Never run the system without the filters in place, and always let a washed filter dry completely before reinstalling it.
Once a month clear any leaves or debris from outdoor condensers. This is especially crucial during the summer months.
Clean the condenser fan blades before the start of the cooling season. Brush any dust or debris off gently and then uncover the condenser coils, gently cleaning the dirty side. Then wrap the motor and other electrical components in plastic bags and gently spray from the inside with a hose. Now check the base pan under the unit and clear it out of any debris that has gathered.
If your fan has been making a clicking noise that means it’s been striking something. If your blade has bent, don’t try to straighten it. It could have become unbalanced and will only cause more problems down the line. Replace the blade.
Maintain a two foot clearance around your unit. Don’t let any vegetation grow near it as it could obstruct the HVAC’s ability to “breathe”. If you have a lawn near the unit, make sure any grass cuttings fly away from it. During autumn, be sure to keep leaves away from the fan grill.
Clean the indoor evaporator coil by removing the front panel of your heating unit. Using a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner gently clean any dust off of the coil. Inspect the fins, making sure they’re straight. If any are bent, a fin comb can be bought at any refrigeration supply dealer.
HVAC warranties will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most require that you register your system to receive the benefits of a warranty. In general, you should have 1 to 2 months to fill out and return your warranty registration.
The base warranty for most HVAC systems is 5 years with the heat exchanger warrantied for 10 years. A registered limited warranty effectively doubles the length of warranty to 10 and 20 years respectively. The warranty covers:
Be careful of dishonest HVAC contractors. There’s no magical formula to see if an HVAC contractor is scamming you, unfortunately, but remember that they typically do this in one of two ways. First, they are charging grossly low prices or second, they aren’t including what everyone else is. In the first situation, they will charge you change fees, other hidden fees, or they stole the equipment and are passing themselves off as legitimate contractors. In the second situation, they are charging you a very fair price, but aren’t including what the other contractors are.
The best way to know if a company is honest or not is with a referral. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to recommend some of the best HVAC companies in the Lower Mainland. With these companies, you don’t need to worry about whether they’ll do a good job or if they’ll overcharge you.