Homeowner’s Guide to Contractors: Check for Red Flags!

contractorlicenselookupSometimes desperate contractors will do anything for a sale. If a contractor comes into your home and tells you that your home would benefit from a larger system without doing the proper testing, run far, far away from them. Bigger is not better, especially not with a large piece of equipment in your home. Here is why an oversized unit is not always the best solution for your home’s comfort.

Reason #1 – Home Comfort 

Your Air Conditioner does 2 things. It removes any exsisting moisture from the air inside your home and it lowers the temperature in your home. In order to remove the moisture from the air, your unit needs to stay on for a little bit longer than it takes to lower the temperature.

If an oversized air conditioner is installed in your home, it will cool down your home and then shut off, leaving no time for the unit to remove all the moisture from the air. You suffer and your home in the long run will suffer with an oversized system.

Reason #2 – Wear and tear

The more often your air conditioner turns on and off, the more wear and tear your unit suffers. Unnecessary wear and tear on your unit eventually leads to quicker deterioration and more calls to your local HVAC company. That ends up costing your MORE money in the long run. Properly sized systems help you keep that money where it belongs, in your pocket!

Will you save money?

It should come as no surprise, an oversized unit typically means a bigger system and a bigger system can cost more. If a contractor is properly sizing your unit to fit your home, you are more likely to save money on a smaller unit upfront.

How do you determine the proper size?

All contractors that come to your home for an estimate should do some calculations while they are there or at least mention calculations sometime during the estimate process. Manual J is the calculation that is recommended by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. In your home if your system runs for 5 to 10 minutes before it shuts off, it is likely oversized. Your estimator or contractor will be able to share with you exactly how he conducts the Manual J if you want to know more about it.

It doesn’t matter if you are remolding your home, or getting a new system for your existing home, your HVAC contractor MUST do the proper testing before a new system gets installed. If it is there recommendation for a particular system based on the size of your home, that is an indication that they are not the right contractor for you (or anyone). If something doesn’t feel right, try getting a second opinion!