Getting the Best New AC Unit Install
How can you guarantee you’re getting the best new AC unit install? What makes a good AC unit install vs bad installation?
If you’re shopping around for a new AC unit, you’ve no doubt read the quality of the installation matters most. Manufacturers and trade associations all agree that proper installation is more important than the brand, model, or efficiency you choose.
But, how can the average consumer know the difference between a good AC unit install & a poor one? Better yet, how will you know if the contractor you choose will install it well until after it’s already done? After all, unless you work in the HVAC industry you probably know very little about air conditioning & heating. However, you just stumbled across this article, and my goal is to get you “market ready” for your new purchase. In theory, this article will help you know what to look for and make choices to improve your odds of getting the best new AC unit installation!
Use the recommendations below like a checklist when deciding which AC company will likely do the job properly.
Getting the Best New AC Unit Install: The Basics
While the title of this article talks about getting the best new AC unit install, it should be: Getting the best new air conditioning, heating, humidity control, air cleaning, and energy savings system for the best price possible. However, that title would’ve been ridiculous and nobody would continue to read it!
What I mean by that is: You’re not just shopping for a new AC unit. The AC unit is just one part of a complete home comfort “system”. In fact, did you know the outdoor unit (condenser) is just one of three “units” needed to cool your home? A complete air conditioning system also needs a compatible evaporator (indoor coil) & air handler (blower unit) or furnace.
Today’s new AC units must have an AHRI certified “matchup” to a coil and an air handler or furnace. These matchups assure the air conditioner can deliver its published efficiency ratings i.e.; SEER, EER, HSPF, etc.
Getting the Best New AC Unit Install: The “System”
It’s important for you as a consumer to understand that even choosing a good certified matched system doesn’t guarantee results. Even the best new AC unit on the market can’t overcome improper sizing, improper airflow, or improper charging.
Many things the HVAC Contractor knows, that you don’t, make the difference in getting the best new AC unit install. Duct static pressure, refrigerant line diameter & length, condensate drainage, refrigerant line flush, proper evacuation, etc., etc., matter more than the unit itself!
While you would think it goes without saying that a licensed air conditioning contractor would make sure all of this was “by the book” – often it’s not. Many air conditioning companies will cut corners on things you don’t know about in order to be the “lowest bidder”. Unfortunately, it’s the homeowner who pays the price for these shortcuts, literally and figuratively.
However, you’re not just at the contractor’s mercy! The following list are things you can look for and ask to know if the contractor’s installation will be good… or bad.
Garbage In = Garbage Out
Quality In = Quality Results
One sure way to know you’ll wind up with a bad AC installation is if the air conditioning contractor doesn’t do a load calculation. Ask to see the load calculation!If your estimator can’t produce a computer generated load calculation – do not hire them!
A load calculation determines the exact capacity aka tonnage or BTU’s per hour your home needs. Using a “rule of thumb” (tons per square foot) or based solely on the existing system is corner cutting. If your estimator starts our cutting corners, what other corners (you don’t know about) will be cut during installation. I already know the answer – every corner they can.
PRO TIP: Each corner cut during installation means; higher power bills, less comfort, less humidity control, more breakdowns, and shorter equipment life.
Attic / Duct Inspection
I’m still shocked how many times a client tells us we were the only HVAC contractor to inspect the attic. Think about what’s in your attic. For most homeowners in Arizona, the air handler or furnace is in the attic – more than ½ of the equipment. Even if your furnace isn’t in the attic, your duct work is. If your estimator is so lazy that he/she won’t even climb in your attic, they don’t care about the results!
Speaking of attics, the level and alignment of your attic insulation plays a critical role in your comfort & efficiency. If your home is over 10-years old, it’s likely your insulation levels isn’t what it was a decade ago. Over 15 years, it’s not unusual for insulation to be greatly compacted, moved by workers or blown in by wind shear.
Pro Tip:This is one reason not to base your new AC unit size on what was there before. A 20% difference in attic insulation R-value will change your air conditioning & heating needs drastically. Think about the difference between sleeping under a sheet, and sleeping under a down comforter. Attic insulation is your home’s “blanket”.
Did the estimator “interview” you about how you live and what you’re currently experiencing? Were you asked what the hottest room in the home was? Coldest? How much your summer energy bill is currently? Does anyone in the home have allergies or asthma? Is the home very humid during monsoon, or too dry sometimes? What you love / hate about your existing AC & heating unit?
Pro Tip: The interview questions will help you determine the results you can expect. The questions should be geared towards proposing solutions to problems. Problems only someone who lives in the house every day would know. Example: In the afternoon little Sarah’s bedroom gets very hot – 5 degrees warmer than the other bedrooms. The solution to this problem can’t be discovered or solved by a new AC unit alone – even the best AC unit!
Options, not Ultimatums!
Did the sales consultant offer you different brands, models, accessories, and price ranges? Or, did they “tell” you what new AC unit was the best for you? In other words, are they trying to sell you the brand and model they will make the most money on? Or, are they advising you on what’s the best choice for you, your comfort, your budget, and your priorities?
Pro Tip: Choose an air conditioning company who offers many brands and models for you to choose from. The contractor should be more concerned with making sure you’re getting the best new AC unit install, not “pushing” one brand.
What Should You Do Next?
I saved this part for last because what we’ve already discussed is so important. 95% of the time I meet people who are suffering with the aftermath of a bad installation, they chose the wrong contractor. Had they known to look for what we just talked about, they would’ve kept shopping.
Now that you know the foundational things to getting the best new AC unit install, you’re ready for STEP 2. I wrote the complete guide on getting the best new AC unit already, READ IT HERE.
Who’s the Best New AC Unit Install Company in Arizona?
There are a lot of great AC Companies in the Phoenix, AZ area, but a lot of… not so great. We don’t concern ourselves with what others are doing, we concentrate on a great experience & results for our clients.
When you call Magic Touch Mechanical, you’ll see we practice what we preach. We’ll perform a load calculation, attic, duct, and insulation inspection. We will spend some time getting to know what’s important to you and the problems we can solve for you. We’ll offer you dozens of options from multiple brands and you’ll see how the prices compare thanks to our “open book” menu pricing. In other words, with our guidance, you’ll feel good knowing you’re getting the best new AC unit install.
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