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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    574

    Thumbs up Install Starts Tomorrow!

    15 years of suffering with an undersized 5T heatpump in Phoenix, AZ - the home of 115+F summer highs - ends tomorrow.

    The existing 15 yr. old SEER 10 5T will be replaced w/ an Amana SEER 16 3T, which will serve our 3 bedrooms and the 2 bathrooms. Each room will have its own return.

    A new unit - Amana SEER 16 4T - will be installed on the other side of the house, serving the kitchen, dining, laundry and great room.

    Each unit will have a Honeywell HEPA filter installed in the return in a bypass configuration, and each unit will have a Honeywell F200 media filter. In addition, an ERV will be installed ducting into the 4T unit, to bring the air changes per hour up to specs...


    Hotdam I'm excited! Other than staying out of their way and letting them do their jobs, while remaining available if any questions arise, any suggestions?? There will be two crews on site, and each crew will have a lead tech - and a supervisor with whom I've met and reviewed the project will be on site to make sure everything is done right...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,344
    Congrats, Cotty. Hope all goes well with the install.

    I would want to see a proper start-up once the installation of both systems are complete. If they do nothing more than open up the service valves, flip on the breakers, stick their hand up to a supply, feel air coming out and call it good...that's not enough. With you getting completely new systems, including ductwork, you're in a very good position to get baseline start-up data whereby year to year performance variances can be determined. Granted, operating conditions will vary each time the system is checked, but you'll have a decent base to work from.

    If your contractor is up to snuff this will all be done. If he designed the install he should at least ensure it is working within his design specifications, and if not he should correct the problems as the start-up analysis proceeds.

    You also know the HVAC-Talk resi drill...you can take pics of your install and post them here, joining the ranks of kcrossley, Henry1, and others as my colleague tradesmen (and myself, admittedly ) hyper-analyze every mastic brush stroke and zip screw to the inth degree!

    Again I wish you well on the install. Seven tons of cooling for a Phoenix house...wow. I know you likely won't run all that tonnage at max speed at the same time, but I think if I had to live in Phoenix I'd definitely look into building a house with insulated concrete forms or structural insulated panels with high R values to buffer me against 115 degree days, and do the whole house with maybe three tons max! Personally I've found the dry heat I experienced out in California harder to take than the hot and moderately humid climate of my home town and where I live today. Phoenix would absolutely desiccate me. I'd have to have a pool in the backyard just for hydration purposes...who needs to swim??
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    574
    Oh you guys'll get pics for sure!

    I think I understand the basics of measuring the system performance - delta between the supply closest to the return and the return itself, along with ambient outdoor temp? And also I'd think a pro would want to know pressures and maybe this "superheat" thing you guys talk about...

    As far as "working within his design specifications" - should I be looking to have him confirm the CFM per room? What would I see the guy doing to check the CFM - some sort of hood over the supply for the room or something?

    I'm also hoping they will repair any leaks. There are three spots where flex goes into sheetmetal, and I've been told there were decent sized leaks occurring at these connections. The sheetmetal ducting is hard to get at - they're actually below the level of the ceiling joists - all 3 of them.

    We'll see... I'm nervous and excited. The supervisor dude I met with seems to know his stuff, and I think I trust him to get this deal done and done right. Apparently he normally doesn't come out on these jobs, but felt mine was a big enough project with enough special issues that he needed to be here. So, to make the best use of his time, he scheduled two install crews out, which kinda makes sense to me, since each install crew apparently has a "boss" that would normally be leading the install team by himself with perhaps final approval/inspection by this supervisor... I think.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,344
    Quote Originally Posted by CottyGee View Post
    I think I understand the basics of measuring the system performance - delta between the supply closest to the return and the return itself, along with ambient outdoor temp? And also I'd think a pro would want to know pressures and maybe this "superheat" thing you guys talk about...
    If your new system has TXV's he will need to look at subcooling and superheat...both should be checked as a matter of course but as for charging the system, subcooling is the way to go for a TXV system.

    As far as "working within his design specifications" - should I be looking to have him confirm the CFM per room? What would I see the guy doing to check the CFM - some sort of hood over the supply for the room or something?
    At a minimum it would be good to get an external static pressure reading for the air handler. Being the system is new it should have the documents stating that if ESP is "X", CFM will be "y". It's called either a fan curve chart or a fan table...some OEM's just have a basic table with the available fan speeds and an ESP for each speed.

    I'm also hoping they will repair any leaks. There are three spots where flex goes into sheetmetal, and I've been told there were decent sized leaks occurring at these connections. The sheetmetal ducting is hard to get at - they're actually below the level of the ceiling joists - all 3 of them.
    Is this in the contract?
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    101
    [QUOTE=shophound;1491430]If your new system has TXV's he will need to look at subcooling and superheat...both should be checked as a matter of course but as for charging the system, subcooling is the way to go for a TXV system.
    QUOTE]

    How does a homeowner know when a tech checks subcooling and superheat? What kind of equipment is used? Even if I see them using this equipment how do I know they are getting the readings they are supposed to?

    Also...when they "pull a vacuum" and use a micrometer, what number should they vacuum too? The installer could just BS the homeowner and in most cases we wouldn't know any better.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    574
    Repairing leaks isn't in the contract. But sheesh - I'm spending enough to buy a nice new car, so you'd think they'd do stuff like this. Or is this major surgery? I was thinking it would be fairly simple to fix the leaks in these spots...


    jasruby -

    I know there are a zillion questions like what you asked. At some point, I just have to give up and say I'm gonna hafta trust the guy to know what he's doing. In the end, it's all about whether the system can keep the house cool when it's stinkin' hot out. And besides - if they make serious errors, they're on the line to fix 'em. I've got a 10 yr. parts and labor warranty. If they blow it, it's gonna cost them, not me. So I think they'll work hard to not blow it! Plus it's clear to me the supervisor dude wants me to be happy. So if there are problems, I think he'll work to fix them to my satisfaction. But hopefully there won't BE any problems... Or at least nothing important or major.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,873
    [QUOTE=jasruby79;1491436]
    Quote Originally Posted by shophound View Post
    If your new system has TXV's he will need to look at subcooling and superheat...both should be checked as a matter of course but as for charging the system, subcooling is the way to go for a TXV system.
    QUOTE]

    How does a homeowner know when a tech checks subcooling and superheat? What kind of equipment is used? Even if I see them using this equipment how do I know they are getting the readings they are supposed to?

    Also...when they "pull a vacuum" and use a micrometer, what number should they vacuum too? The installer could just BS the homeowner and in most cases we wouldn't know any better.
    Sometimes ya gotta have a little faith.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    101
    I don't mean to sound like I don't have faith in my installers but.... I just had a system installed in my house and now the same company will be installing a system in my in-laws on thursday.

    I found this forum AFTER my install, so I am just trying to make sure the install goes smooth for my in-laws. (I am sure you can understand why I wouldn't want any problems there.)

    I promise not to second guess my installers, and I promise not to sound like a know-it-all homeowner, and most of all I promise to be available but not look over their shoulders at every move.

    Also...I would have more faith if I could actually use my A/C. Its about 60degree high today, and even lower tomorrow. Cottygee - maybe you could send SOME of that AZ heat over here.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9
    [QUOTE=the dangling wrangler;1491443]
    Quote Originally Posted by jasruby79 View Post
    Sometimes ya gotta have a little faith.
    That's one of the most stupid advices I've ever heard.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    574
    Quote Originally Posted by steve123 View Post
    That's one of the most stupid advices I've ever heard.
    Ha! I can top that.

    That's one of the most illiterate sentences I've ever tried to comprehend!


    At what point, steve123, do you stop double-checking every single thing your HVAC tech does? If I had the knowledge to do all of the things he will be doing, I'd probably be doing them myself! I don't have the training and experience to interpret "subcooling" and "superheat". I don't even understand the concepts! Nor do I know the proper pressures for my system. Nor do I know what the static pressures should be, or how to measure these. I don't know whether a particular leak can or should be sealed with mastic or whether the affected piece needs to be replaced/rebuilt/reconstructed.

    At some point, I've gotta trust the pro to be a Pro and do his job. Having the basic knowledge to week out the hacks that take dangerous shortcuts or don't really know HVAC is what I have used to very carefully select my HVAC company. Now I have to rely on them to do their jobs.

    Lemme put it this way - when I go to the doctor, I don't try to second guess everything she does. She's the expert, and I expect her to provide me with expert professional service. I do try to understand any illness and most medicines I'm prescribed, at least at a basic and general level. But who am I to say whether amoxycillian is more appropriate than pennacillian?? I gotta trust my doc.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,873
    Thank You Cotty.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,873
    [QUOTE=steve123;1491453]
    Quote Originally Posted by the dangling wrangler View Post

    That's one of the most stupid advices I've ever heard.
    Sir, do you have a brother named matt by any chance?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,344
    How does a homeowner know when a tech checks subcooling and superheat? What kind of equipment is used? Even if I see them using this equipment how do I know they are getting the readings they are supposed to?
    I did not intend to word my reply as such the homeowner would be out there checking for this reading; rather the homeowner could have some information should his install crew start throwing around the term "subcooling" as to what relevance it held. I do not expect Cotty to go out with a thermistor and start poking around his lineset...I'm sure he wants the contractor to verify if the system is working properly, since that is what they are hired to do.

    Also...when they "pull a vacuum" and use a micrometer, what number should they vacuum too? The installer could just BS the homeowner and in most cases we wouldn't know any better.
    Just tell the HO that a technician looks for 500 microns to hold once the vacuum pump is turned off and isolated? More than one of my colleagues here would verify that 500 microns is a good target to shoot for.

    I'm not suggesting that Cotty do any of this. Rather, he's wanting information so he knows his installation is going to perform well. Admittedly my answers lean toward the technical side because that's my approach to our trade. As an illustration, I do not know the intricasies of modern fuel injection for automotive but if I had a question regarding it I'd want to know some general expectations of how it should perform, even if I don't quite grasp all the nuances. If the book or an experienced mechanic says he's shooting for a 14:1 or something fuel to air ratio, at least to my mind as his customer I'm thinking he's looking for expected performance data, rather than just "take a half-informed guess and hope for the best", as is often the case in our trade.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

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