If your older HVAC equipment is due for replacement, you're probably already reading up on the latest and greatest new features and comparing different models. It's important to keep in mind that a new HVAC system installation is a multi-step process, and there's a lot to plan and do before your new equipment is put in place. Here's what your replacement process should include:
HAVE YOUR HOME'S EFFICIENCY ASSESSED
The first step to take is scheduling an energy audit to learn the state of your home's efficiency. An auditor uses specialized tools and tests like a blower door and infrared scan to find sources of air leakage or areas without sufficient insulation. Testing might reveal inefficiencies like air leaks in the exterior envelope and HVAC ductwork, and inadequate attic insulation that have a significant impact on heating and cooling your home.
MAKE EFFICIENCY-WISE IMPROVEMENTS
Next, you should make any necessary improvements to boost your home's efficiency, using your energy audit report recommendations as a guide. This might involve sealing leaks around windows, exterior doors and penetrations through the shell, installing extra insulation on the attic floor, sealing the attic access hatch, and having the HVAC ductwork sealed and insulated.
HAVE A DETAILED LOAD CALCULATION PERFORMED
Once you've tackled any improvements and made your home more energy-efficient, have your HVAC contractor perform a Manual J load calculation to determine the correct equipment capacity. Factors that go into this crucial calculation include your home's square footage and orientation, the insulation level, air leakage rates, number of occupants, heat generating appliances and ductwork efficiency.
GET EXPERT HELP CHOOSING YOUR EQUIPMENT
Before you can have your new HVAC system installed, you'll need to choose the right equipment. Based on your load calculation results and Manual S, your contractor can advice you on the ideal type of equipment to buy, and help you compare efficiency ratings and features for different models within your budget.
Visit our Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or for more advice about a new HVAC system installation, just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).