The things a homeowner can do to ensure they’ve hired the right contractor who is going to install their new AC system correctly. It’s just like painting, it is 90%preparation and 10% doing.
If your contractor isn’t asking you questions about your comfort and how your current system is performing or asking about your energy bills… that is a red flag.
If they are not looking in your attic, looking at things like, do you have enough return ductwork. Do you have enough supply ductwork to support the size system that you need …. that’s a red flag.
If they are not doing a load calculation if you have comfort issues to make sure that the size of the system that they are going to recommend or install is appropriate for your home… that’s a red flag.
A lot o people say, “I want a bigger system” … bigger is not always better, and it’s certainly not better in central heating and air conditioning. I’ve got homeowners who will say, “I turn my system up in the day and I want to come home and be able to have it right back down to a comfortable level like 72-75 quickly. I need a big system.” What that means is the system will be oversized. An oversized AC system is never going to run long enough to take the humidity out of the air. So there is a real penalty in terms of comfort, performance and efficiency by oversizing your AC system. That is something the federal government is trying to get contractors to pay more attention to.
According to the law, AC contractors have to follow the energy code and the mechanical code and we are obligated to size the system properly and appropriately for the home. It is against the law to install an oversized AC system, but it happens everyday by AC contractors who don’t know any better, or who don’t care.
One of the things that homeowners can do is look towards their utility program when choosing an AC contractor, especially here in central texas with Austin Energy. They have a 30 history of performance and efficiency programs. That reward both homeowners and contractors for doing it right. So a lot of times when a homeowner comes to me and asks, “should we do this or should we do that”, I say, look to Austin Energy, they are engineers, they care deeply about energy efficiency. They pay healthy rebates to make your home more energy efficient, safe and comfortable, so follow their recommendations. One of the easy ways to find a contractor who does it right is to look to their programs. Find contractors who do a lot of work through Austin Energy programs, because those contractors tend to be the ones who want to do it right.