When is it’s ok to simply replace your system or is there another way that is more cost effective and will provide a more comfortable indoor experience.
Writing articles to help homeowners is difficult. It requires a totally different approach than instructing a new apprentice or helping a tradesman understand the ins and outs of what we do in the HVAC business. I find myself often trying to explain to my customers, in very technical terms, things only talked about by people in the trades. Personally I have focused for so many years on information to increase my technical experience that my mind just works that way and often what is in our minds comes out of our mouths. Solving problems and finding smart home comfort solutions is what I do.
I am, however, aware that many homeowners contact me for help because just like the rest of us they have busy lives and really just need someone who will take good care of them and get the job done. A technical explanation is not what they called for. It is important that we help struggling homeowners to make difficult decisions by providing reliable information in simple ways that makes a difference. I challenge you to look at your home comfort as a system and not just some appliance that need replacement every 15-20 years. The question I would like to answer in this post is when is it’s ok to simply replace your system or is there another way that is more cost effective and will provide a more comfortable indoor experience.
Read more to gain knowledge and tips for smart home comfort system investing or skip to Does this apply to my home? for the skinny version.
Under certain circumstances you should simply replace your home comfort equipment. When that time comes you can focus solely on which brand and type of system you want to purchase along with which company you choose to do the installation. Then there are circumstances that warrant a different approach and it becomes more difficult as a homeowner to overcome challenges and find solutions. Ask any experienced homeowner and you’ll learn fast that the cost of taking care of a well maintained home is high. Home repairs and improvements are costly and not something your average homeowner has the time and energy to undertake. Additionally purchasing a new home is no guarantee that you won’t face challenges too.
What Can We Learn From Others Experience?
Since 2012 professionals at Frontline Comfort Systems have been testing existing home comfort systems in the Oklahoma City Metro and surrounding areas. Using the most advanced diagnostic tools in the industry we have tested countless systems and experience has shown that the odds of your home comfort system having significant deficiencies besides equipment faults is likely.
Don’t just take our word for it. In 2018 the US department of Energy conducted a study to find out the benefits of improving home comfort system installation practices in existing homes. (i.e. equipment replacement). They also tried to quantify the benefits of these improvements. Below are some interesting points.
Duct leakage is the most common source of performance degradation of HVAC systems, with most studies finding 90-100% of systems tested needing sealing or repairs to the supply or return air ducts.
Low airflow is found more than 50% of the time in all regions studied, while high airflow is a problem in 8-15% of systems.
Refrigerant charge faults vary by study approach and region, but range between 29-78% undercharge and 4-50% overcharge.
Duct sealing, insulation, airflow and refrigerant charge correction combined: 12-47% energy savings and 1.2 kW demand reduction
Static pressure, capacity, efficiency, refrigerant charge, and thermal expansion valves (TXV) repairs: 24% efficiency improvement in AC/HP systems
Incremental savings from tuning up existing AC/HP systems are approximately 5%
Gas furnace tune-up with some duct improvements achieved 23% increased capacity.
Does this apply to my home?
If your planning on making a major investment into your home comfort we recommend that you answer the following questions before you shop around for quotes. Keep in mind that these questions apply only when your system is working normal and the demand on your system is high. In the the industry these are called peak events. For Oklahoma City and surrounding areas this is when the temperature are above 97-100F in the summer or below 20°F in the winter.
- Does your system run for less than 30 min on the hottest days or coldest nights?
- Does your system run continuously for more than 1 hour at a time and not seem to keep up during these peak events? (i.e. losing more than 1 degree from the thermostat setting)
- Do you notice noise from the air vents that seems excessive?
- Do certain rooms seem too hot or too cold compared to other rooms in your home?
If you answered YES to any one of these questions we recommend finding an experienced company that can do additional testing to make sure you’re making a smart investment into your home comfort. If none of these apply it is likely that simply replacing your old equipment with newer more energy efficient equipment will be sufficient. Of course there are always those who simply want the best and it’s never a bad idea to make sure there isn’t a more tailored approach to maximizing your return on investment and give you more control of your home comfort.
Many people have a vested interest in your home comfort.
First off, as a homeowner you will at sometime or another need to make difficult decisions about how to fix a major home comfort problem requiring substantial investment. For contractors involved we want happy customers, efficient processes, and fewer warranty callbacks. For other interested groups it is important to minimize waste and affect change in the industry. So it is in everyone’s best interest to not just sell you a one size fits all solution if you don’t need one or take shortcuts.
Frontline Comfort Systems started business in 2017 and currently serves customers in Edmond and the Oklahoma City Metro area. With years of product knowledge and expertise our trained professionals are happy to help you find the smart solution for your next home comfort improvement project.