It's all about proper Installation !
Long time reading here (learning) mostly - question time now.
A "consistent" theme here, without regard to system manfufacturer, or even sizing to a degree is It's all about a proper installation. With literally thousands of contractors in any major large metropolitan area, they all pitch the same line.
The question is, how is one to know what is a "good install" as opposed to an "ok" or "really crappy" install? After 11 years in our house with the existing A/C (2.5 ton Carrier) during summers I've never been to get the house comfortable....the A/C ran continuously from 10 AM till 2 AM before it clicked off. And, this was for the downstairs unit! Not even discussing the upstairs yet! You can only imagine the utility bills.
So, having had 4 bids out of hundreds in my area, one actually did a computer version of the Manual J Load Calculation and it came up to minimum 3.5 ton for the downstairs (2900 sq ft / 1700 down- 1200 up)
After quickly learning the 1/2 ton units dont come in newer technology dual speed compressor / fans, went with a 4 ton Amana ASX16 seer entire sytem. Amazing now to be able to hold 68 degrees even on the hottest days 95+. System cycles high for a couple of minutes then to low speed for 15 min or so then as needed back to high speed again or off late in the day and at night.
Sorry...back to the question. Anyway...... The contractor I choose came in with the LOWEST bid, and I offered the other 3 bidders a chance to meet or beat their price - matching component to component / apples to apples comparisons- NONE of them ever called back again!!!
So.. they came out 2 days later and installed a complete new system (incl gas furnace). BBB showed in biz 22 years, 3 complaints, all resolved in last 36 months, all the certifications and members of various HVAC groups, etc, etc. - They were not some fly-by-night operation!.
As a DIY sort of guy, I feel fairly knowledged in a lot of things, especially common sense applictions. The guys did what I consider to be a nice install. Added another supply vent and a 12 x 12 return air in another location to improve circulation and add more return capacity (CFM's).
OK.. SO.. How do I actually KNOW, what is a good install and what isn't?
it is the way you want it
it works the way you were told it would
you are happy with the work and the additudes of the porple there and the quality or thier all arround ethics
these are what count IMO
You got a good installation if you can't find a thing about it that makes you question it's quality. Every room and space that is conditioned stays at an even temperature and can be heated or cooled as you'd like it. You installed equipment matches the quote as far as model numbers and size. When they were done wherever they worked was as clean or cleaner than when they got there. Everything about the system, it's operation and maintenance was described to you in detail. The start up was documented on each part of the system. They took down readings and measurements for future reference during routine maintanance to insure everything is within manufactures specs.
Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.
Good installs meet current code and comply with manufacturer recommendations and guidelines. They have correct clearances and observe best construction installation practices, incorporating trade knowledge to ensure safe, efficient operation and provide the full expected lifespan of service to new owner.
A great install reflects signature quality work, pride in tradecraft and a sense of 'we touched it - we own it'.
Post some pictures and they'll let you know...
Pictures and insist on a static pressure test.
Doesn't sound like enough duct work was added for what sounds like an additional ton of A/C.
Last edited by dash; 06-28-2008 at 10:47 PM.
Sounds like You did your "home work" and Shopped around got what you payed for (and did not skimp on Eq,) That help allot - also you offered others a chance to match or beat your lowest bid!
Sounds like it's meeting your expectations (cold and better air flow though-out house) and from your point of view - they did a good job
I would offer them to come check system out after 6 mo and 1 yr - to check performance! (even if you pay service fee - maybe they will give you a discount because your a Happy customer) so while its under warranty! may catch anything while it is.
To me sounds good - especially hearing so many "NIGHTMARE" Stories on here!
Here are some pics........ (can's seem to make link work to actually show the pics in message.)
Originally Posted by dash
This is the house they are working on - 2800 sq ft. 1600 down 1200 up.
The downstairs has two large living areas, full kitchen, breakfast room, laundry room, foyer, dining room, full bath, guest bedroom.
Ducts and returns - 10 toal supply lines - 8 hard insulated pipe and 2 new flex duct (10 in and 8 in)
Living room 1 & 2 - 16 x 6 supply grill and one 30 x 16 return air (floor level)
Shared return with Living room 1
Kitchen, Breakfast area, dining room, guest room, and foyer 12 x 6 supply duct - no returns.
Laundry room, bathroom 10 x 4 supply - no returns.
New return, (new shiny flex duct in pics) ceiling mount 14 x 14 - just outside in hall where bath and guest room are.
New supply (shiny flex duct on top of unit) 12 x 6 in Living Room 1 by outside wall directing air across a major sun heated exterior by day.
There you have the layout. They wanted to add even more return air, but was all but impossible as upstairs right on top made that impossible.
Browse thru this link for small picked related pics.
For ALL pics - very large, go HERE ---> FOLLOW LINK HERE/
Last edited by avflyguy; 06-29-2008 at 01:24 AM.
Here are the rest of the pictures: http://www.c5dreamer.com/hvac/
Question for the pros:
I may be wrong, but shouldn't the coil be pointing up from the furnace? http://www.c5dreamer.com/hvac/fullsize/S5001467.JPG
I agree, if it is functioning properly and is up to code, these are the important things. With up-sizing the unit so much, I would question, as it has been mentioned, if the duct-work will support your 4 ton with proper air flow. I have worked on a few of the ASX-16's , good unit in my opinion. I assume you have a new amana AMV variable speed air handler/furnace. Hopefully the dip switches are set to proper cfm, and they have verified second stage operation of your compressor, you cannot hear the difference between 1st and 2nd, and I have found at least 3 with the compressor solenoid plug loose at compressor, straight out of the box. You cannot see this immediately because the compressor has a sound blanket covering it. I rely on amp draw to monitor if second stage has engaged, just because ther is a call for it and your stat is showing 2nd stage, does not gaurantee anything. Not to alarm you, all this may have been checked, just thought I would throw it out there.
Don't see too many Amanas, just tell me the acess panel on the condensor is not on the back, against the house.
Sounds like you answered your own question. The installation looks good and you are happy with the results.
I was at home and observing just about every step. The condensor/compressor came right out of the sealed box, was put onto a new concrete pad. Electrical connections were restored and new line set was installed, purged with Nitrogen and vacuumed prior to running it. I did not see them do anything inside the unit to set or not set the two stage compressor functioning. How would one check the 'compressor solenoid plug' ?
Originally Posted by aintitfun
After a week now with an entirely new system, I am incredibly satisfied with the cooling and how little time it takes now to knock off a couple 2 or 3 degrees.. I mean minutes....the old unit would have taken hours!
** They also installed a Honeywell 9000 thermostat. ( I think it is). They had to go through a lot of initial installer programming. I am not confident they were completely comfortable with some of the inputs they made. A few times, the two of them looked like they didn't know for sure. BUT.... it does seem to be running right. How would I check that? They took that programming tutorial with them and only left me with the user manual.