'Quality Installation' -- please elaborate

athomesewingAugust 2, 2012

I'm hoping to glean a little information here in order to assist me in getting a quality replacement for our heat pump system.

I have seen several references pointing to the importance of a quality installation which certainly sounds like good advice. Can anyone explain please, exactly what would be expected in a quality installation of a replacement heat pump and associated equipment?

Thank you!

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You want them to replace line sets and take their time to make sure all the little things are done. Everything should look very neat. After the initial install is done they should be checking your charge on the system and not just making sure that it runs and taking off.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Thank you for the information. I don't know exactly what all the little things are, but I will be sure to insist that the charge on the system is verified.

I was a little caught off guard with the sales "techniques" during phone calls. I thought this process would be straight forward: calling an established dealer, having them come out to give an estimate on replacement for the system. Given their questions however I felt they were probably doing a Google Maps view of our home and checking with the tax assessor to determine our home's value.

This should be an interesting process...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:33AM
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load calculations room by room & not whole
house. using confirmed inputs.
not just 500 sq ft per ton rule of thumb sizing.
verification of sizing of ductwork and
design of duct system if sizing is changed
or additional ducts are added.

solutions to any comfort issues not
just upsizing tonnage.

use of mastics and not foil or duct tapes
to seal joints between ahu/furnace
to supply and return plenums.
foil and duct tapes fail quickly
mastics both paint on type and mastic
tapes last 30+ years.

mastic seal of return air.
eliminating return air leakage.

properly configured drain lines.

insulated refrigerant lines.

neat braised connections that don't leak.
use of filter dryers when needed.

duct seal..where ducts leave plenum
supply box seal..where supply boxes
penetrate ceiling/wall/floor
again ...mastic only.

if flex duct proper strapping of ducts
to eliminate sags, bends & crimping
of ducts that reduce air flow.

lots of things make a quality install.
these are just my pov's.

I do testing of ductwork to determine duct leakage
and re-test once work is done to achieve
desired reduction.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:34PM
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A quality installation starts with a heating/cooling load calcualtion. This means measuring the sizes of all rooms and windows, and determining the insulation values. The contractor should asked if there are any heating and cooling issues. The duct work should also be inspected and measured. Once the sizes have been established, the contractor should propose good, better, and best equipment to fit the customer's budget and needs.

Some installation details I like to see are:

- replacing the line set whenever it is feasbile
- placing the condenser on a properly sized and level pad
- placing the condenser to it has the proper cleareances and easily accessable for service
- running the lineset and wiring neatly to the furnace or air handler
- installing the furnace on feet
- connecting the duct work neatly
- using hard pipe with a shut off for the gas connection with a drip leg
- exterior PVC piping should be away from windows and high enough to avoid a high snow accumulation
- no obstructions which would make servicing the furnace difficult
- a condensate pump connected to a drain or outside
- a surge protector for the furnace
- an overflow alarm in case the condensate drain is blocked
- a secondary overflow pan if the furnace is above a ceiling
- a 4 inch media filter which the customer can change himself
- the correct thermostat for the furnace and AC
- a valid AHRI match for the furnace, AC, and coil
- properly sized circuit breaker for the AC
- a properly sloped drain with a clear view trap and a clean out brush
- all operating manuals left with the owner

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Well said..

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:52PM
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OMG, thank you so much for all of this valuable information! I'm sure many others will benefit from this as well.

We're fortunate to live in an area with a public utility district (not for profit electricity). Not only do we have decent electrical rates, our utility company employs energy specialists who will come out and perform a detailed energy audit including determining the appropriate size of equipment for installations.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 9:35PM
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For anyone who wants even more details, I found that there is a publication that covers this in great detail. The ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) Standard 5: "HVAC Quality Installation Specification" It covers Residential and Commercial HVAC applications and it is available to read online.

As a consumer, I found it to be an informative and worthwhile read.

Here is a link that might be useful: Quality Installation Specification

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 12:55PM
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6 pages of who contributed!

long article. can't imagine that
most would read whole thing. but
some might.

thanks for posting. you may
want to start a new thread with article link,
so that more will see it.
acca quality install specs maybe.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Thanks for the document. This will give consumers an appreciation of what an HVAC contractor is supposed to do.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:19PM
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