What to Watch Out for When Installing HVAC Systems
Installing HVAC units may look easy when done by professionals but it surely isn’t that easy for newbie DIYers let alone ordinary homeowners or building managers. There are important things to be mindful about to avoid or minimize risks and to make sure that installations don’t result in a dangerous setup.
The following are some of the most important things to watch out for when doing HVAC installations. HVAC professionals are expected to be aware of these while homeowners or building managers are advised to be acquainted with them to be able to spot problems in HVAC installations as they see them. These, by the way, don’t serve as a comprehensive guide but just a selection of highly important pointers so don’t expect the list below to serve as a complete guide for HVAC installation.
Avoid risks caused by the thermal expansions or contractions.
The heat pumps of heating and cooling systems have the tendency to expand or contract depending on the prevailing environmental temperature. This expansion and contraction can potentially cause fires. To avoid problems, you need to choose quality heating pumps that only minimally expand or contract. and give enough room for the expansion and contraction.
Don’t focus too much on the box and forget air flow. Ensure proper duct installation.
There’s a “punny” term among HVAC professionals; “ductopus.” What this basically means is that the duct box looks like an octopus because of the multitude of ducts connected to it. Such a setup is frowned upon by experts as it does not yield the optimum airflow. Well, it would be a rarity for a true HVAC professional to do a ductopus problem but just in case you encounter someone who does something like this, you know what to do.
Ducts should be installed meticulously to avoid cracks and gaps. Tapes should never be allowed as sealers for new installations. Permanent sealers should be demanded. Likewise, if there are unusual noises, excessive dust accumulation and release through the ducts, drafts, or humidity issues, the HVAC technician should be promptly informed and asked to do the necessary rectification.
Make sure there’s always proper ventilation.
With energy codes making new homes tighter nowadays, the V and HVAC needs to be emphasized. Being tight means that the structures are being air-sealed and blower door tests may be undertaken to test whether or not the structure is adequately airtight. Obviously, this is to make sure that cooling and heating systems are efficiently operating. Being airtight, however, is not enough for HVAC systems to properly work. It’s also important to ensure proper ventilation. The tighter a structure is, the more mechanical ventilation is needed. The positive pressure, negative pressure, and balanced strategies for ventilation should be observed.
Relying on rules of thumb is no longer applicable.
It’s not right to accept the argument that “I’ve been in the business longer that you’ve lived” from established or highly experienced HVAC professionals. Much have changed in the way homes and buildings have made over the decades. That’s why rules of thumb cannot be relied upon. It’s better to do things scientifically. The rate of heat loss and gain, in particular, needs to be properly computed. There are tools to get this done, which only reputable and established HVAC service providers tend to have. You may consult an HVAC professional who uses an HVAC estimating software for better estimates on what you really need.
The house or building where an HVAC system is to be installed should be thought of as a system.
Yes, it’s called HVAC system but it’s also important to make sure that this system fits into a bigger system which is the house or building where HVAC is to be installed. It has to be made suitable for the house or building and not the other way around. Changes in the structure or fixtures should be the final resort unless it’s the more cost efficient thing to do. Everything should be well-planned. No part of the HVAC installation should introduce a problem or aggravate already existing ones. For instance, the exhaust should be directed outside and not toward some place where people might be staying. Exhausts may carry carbon monoxide and other toxic gases that will molikely
Be sure the furnace has the right size.
Bigger is not better when it comes to furnace size in the same way smaller is also not better. The furnace should have just the right size. You can consult furnace size calculators online or do your own estimate. Generally, in places with moderate to warm climate, it is suggested to have 25 to 30 Btu of heat per square foot. Hence, a home with a 1,000 square feet area will need a 25,000 to 30,000 Btu furnace (if the furnace is working at 100% efficiency). You may have to provide some allowance of 10% to 20% for furnaces that operate at 80% to 90% efficiency.
Check drainage systems.
Drainage systems are unlikely being checked immediately after installation since it takes time for moisture to accumulate before these drainages are properly put to the test. You don’t have to wait to test whether the drainage is done properly. In fact, you have to immediately do the test to make sure that you will not be encountering problems later on. You can put water into the drainage system to see there are really no leaks and clogs. Also, make sure that the drainage system does not go through parts of the house where electrical wirings or appliances are located. Drainage problems are not completely avoidable so it’s better to be sure that nothing severely problematic will happen in case a drainage problem does occur.
It’s worth noting that there’s a perception that architects and interior designers don’t care about HVAC systems. Other than the HVAC professionals themselves so it greatly helps being able to know faulty or improper HVAC installation setups or procedures.
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