Heating & Cooling • Insulation • Home Energy Audits
Generators • Commercial Roofing & HVAC
Duct Cleaning • Indoor Air Quality
HVAC systems are designed to bring in a certain amount of air (return side) and push out (supply side) depending on the capacity. Capacity also known as tonnage is determined per home based on a load calculation. Many times (approximately 50-70%) the return duct is undersized for the tonnage creating a few issues. First if the return is undersized the system cannot bring enough air therefore the system cannot push out enough air as it was designed to do. Second static (internal) pressure(s) can be way off compared to the manufacture’s specifications.
The reasons no one else mentioned the return needs to be enlarged are; many contractors are “box” movers and simply want to do the least amount of work possible at one installation so they can get to the next one or they don’t understand air flow because they have not been properly trained or they understand air flow and simply don’t care much like the “box” movers.
For a single wall mount system a good starting price would be $4800 on the low spectrum and as you add more indoor units the price would go much higher depending on size and number of indoor units needed. Although there are many variables that can cause the price to fluctuate such as location, electrical, ease of access.
Home’s being dusty can be a result of several factors. One of the most common that we see is the result of excess air leakage from a home. If the home’s attic is not properly sealed, the home becomes a giant “chimney,” known as the “stack effect.” This refers to the process of air escaping out of the top of the home (the attic floor) and air coming in to replace it towards the bottom of the home (around baseboards, holes/penetrations in the subfloor, etc.). If the home leaks too much air out, then too much outside air is replacing it, meaning excess dirt, allergens, pollen, etc. is entering the home.
GSM Services is trained to diagnose issues like this through preforming a blower door test, which quantifies these suspicions and shows whether or not the home is leaking too much air (and with it, bringing in too much dust). We can then show solutions that reduce issues like this, improving your indoor air quality.
We recommend twice a year. We do not like the once-a-year check and here`s why: You want to check the system while it`s doing the most work, right? A technician can`t see how you’re A/C is going to perform for you when it`s 85 degrees when I check it in February when it`s 50 degrees and we can`t see how your furnace is going to perform when its 35 degrees when I check it in September when it`s 65 degrees. The investment may a little more but having a system tuned up twice a year is going to be better for you and your equipment. OK, side note from an industry insider. There are a lot of different phrases used in the industry. Ask questions. Be sure you are getting what you pay for. Do not get a “system check”. What does that mean? Well, in most cases all they are doing is looking at things, just looking. There is no cleaning or measuring involved. Basically they “check” the temperature between the system and if it doesn`t look right they want to upcharge you with an upgraded option to investigate the issue. Invest in a tune-up where they are washing the outdoor coil, cleaning out your condensate drain, changing your filters, measuring the start components of the system, properly looking at the refrigerant charge, and inspecting the ductwork during the visit.
Invest in a tune-up where they are washing the outdoor coil, cleaning out your condensate drain, changing your filters, measuring the start components of the system, properly looking at the refrigerant charge, and inspecting the ductwork during the visit. There are a lot of different phrases used in the industry. Ask questions. Be sure you are getting what you pay for. Do not get a “system check”. What does that mean? Well, in most cases all they are doing is looking at things, just looking. There is no cleaning or measuring involved. Basically they “check” the temperature between the system and if it doesn`t look right they want to upcharge you with an upgraded option to investigate the issue.
There are only 2 main reasons. This could be airflow and/or refrigerant issues. The only at-home check we recommend a homeowner trying, before calling a qualified technician, is looking at their filter. If it needs to be changed, replace it with a new filter and cut the system off for a couple of hours to ensure all the ice has melted. If the freezing reoccurs cut the system off to prevent damage to the system and call a qualified service company for investigate further.
The savings from added insulation varies depending on the size of your home and how much insulation you add. Insulation installed in conjunction with air sealing can usually save you 20% or more on your heating and cooling costs. Adding insulation to your home will help to keep the outside temperatures from influencing the temperatures inside your home. In short, it keeps the heat out in the summer, and the cold out in the winter.
Let a technician check out the system first and get an estimate of the repairs and the age and condition of your equipment and duct system. Once you get that information here is a great formula that you can do that can help you decide which way you should consider going. Take the cost of the repair, multiply it by the age of the system and if that number is over 40% of the cost of a new system consider replacement.
It is recommended that you change out your filter monthly. But every home is going to be different. The replacement schedule is going to vary depending on several factors. How air tight your home is, how often and how long is the system running, the amount of cooking you do in your home, the type of activities you do in your home, the location of your return vents, and if you have animals.
We would recommend checking the filter weekly at first to get a better idea of what your replacement timing should be. On a side note, I also recommend adding the filter change it to your calendar. Life is busy, time will go by quickly and this could end up costing you repair bills, lowering the efficiency of your system, and shortening the life of your equipment.
For more questions or more information feel free to give us a call anytime! 704-864-0344
GSM Services is offering a FREE Home Energy Audit right now (Reg $249) and can come out and look to see what is going on and offer your solutions.
Most comfort systems cost $ 4,000 - $ 12,000, including the basic accessories such as a new thermostat, etc. The initial large range depends on if you are only replacing the heating side of the system versus both the heating & cooling components. The average overall will be in the $ 7,000 - $ 9,000 range when including both. At the same time, with additional options and accessories, a system replacement could run as much as $ 20,000. Other big factors include the size of the home, where is the actual equipment located (attic, crawlspace, mechanical room, etc.), how old the home is, and even what type of fuel the system uses.
Another issue that is not talked about often is the difference in contractors in the HVAC industry. This leads to questions that a consumer should ask to help them decide the type of provider they want to work with and what is most important to them. Ultimately, the contractor is the most important variable, not the brand or type of equipment purchased. What is most important to you? Warranty? How long the company has been in business? How many technicians do they have? Are they available after normal business hours and on weekends? What type of training and certifications to their technicians have? How many systems have they put in? Do you know anyone that has used them? How are their online reviews? Do they perform background checks and drug testing on their team members? Do they show up in uniforms in clearly marked vehicles? Are they involved in the local community? Are you comfortable with the office staff, technicians and sales people? Were they easy to get in touch with? Did they take the time to explain to you what they were doing and did they really look at the existing system and evaluate the home? Was the ductwork evaluated? What type of filtration or air purification system was discussed or reviewed? Do they have proper insurance and licenses? Are they getting a permit to perform the work? These questions could go on and on.
All these questions can be important when evaluating what is best for you personally and your home. We like to compare new systems to good recipes such as apple pie. Most of the time you hear that you want to compare apples to apples but in the contracting world, it’s not that easy. A better comparison would be comparing apple pie to apple pie. Some of the ingredients may be the same but the finished product is most likely not the same. This is true when making a decision about having a new comfort system installed. Ultimately, the most important factor is your personal comfort level with the company that is going to install the new system. This is much more important than the brand or type system to be installed.
A Basic System Installation might include the following items:
• Air Conditioner or Heat Pump • Refrigerant Piping
• Furnace or Air Handler • Gas Piping (if fuel type heating)
• Thermostat • Basic Duct Modifications
• Base 1 Year Warranty • Base Manufacturer’s Warranty
• Permit/Local Jurisdiction • Electrical Needed for System
Potential System Enhancements & Accessories:
• Higher Efficiency Model Air Conditioners
• Higher Efficiency Model Heating Systems
• Programmable Model Thermostats • Wi-Fi Enabled Thermostats
• Air Purification Systems • Upgraded Filtering Systems
• Humidification Systems • Dehumidification Systems
• Extended Warranties • Annual Planned Maintenance
• Duct Sealing/Insulating • Home Air Sealing/Insulation
• Low-Level CO Monitors • Duct/Dryer Vent Cleaning
• Complete New Ductwork • Fresh Air Ventilation
• Crawlspace Improvements • Attic Improvements
• Water/Humidity Sensors • Filter Delivery Service
• Zoning Control Systems • Home/System Surge Protection
Most basic system installations do not include the items above but all of them can enhance the performance of the system and help maximize the comfort, energy efficiency, convenience, and overall indoor experience within your home.