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Air Conditioner Replacement

Installed correctly, a new air conditioner can cut utility expenses while improving comfort.

Preparation
All exposed ducts (e.g., attic, basement, and crawlspace) shall be inspected; all damaged or disconnected ducts shall be repaired or replaced and all visible leaks shall be sealed with UL 181 tape and/or mastic.
A room-by-room load calculation shall be performed as described in The Air-Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J.
The air conditioner selected shall be ENERGY STAR-certified and sized in accordance with ACCA Manual S based on ACCA Manual J load calculation results.
The system shall be evaluated to determine if the supply and return air flows are balanced and if ducts are properly sized. Recommendations shall be made to the homeowner if the ducts are not the right size.
Installation
The air conditioner shall be installed in accordance with ANSI/ACCA Standard 5 HVAC Quality Installation Specifications.
Proper refrigerant charge shall be verified in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The air filter shall be replaced with a MERV 8 or higher filter. Air flow across the coil shall be measured using a test method approved by the air conditioner manufacturer and verified to be within 15% of design air flow.
If the air filter is installed in a filter media box attached to the air handler, the access panel for the filter should be fitted with a flexible, air-tight gasket to prevent air leakage.
The thermostat shall be located on an interior wall away from heating or cooling registers, appliances, lighting fixtures, exterior doors, skylights, windows, and areas that receive direct sunlight or drafts.
The home shall be inspected for the presence of a whole-house ventilation system. If one is present, the actual air flow shall be tested and verified to meet ASHRAE 62.2-2013 capacity. Recommendations shall be made to the homeowner for either installing a new ASHRAE 62.2-2013 compliant system if one is not present, or repairing an existing system to be ASHRAE 62.2-2013 compliant if air flow is not adequate.
Pressure balance testing (pressure pan and/or flow hood) for proper room-to-room air flow shall be performed and adjustments shall be made to address any imbalances.

BASC Guides

This guide can help you assess an existing Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system for potential intervention such as repair, upgrade or expansion, or replacement.

This guide describes evaporative cooling technologies which can be used to cool homes in dry climates.

Guide describing how to upgrade or expand an existing HVAC system.

Tips to Sell Quality Installed Home Improvements

Home Improvement Expert (HIE) is a valuable tool for organizations committed to quality installed work. The following tips help optimize the value of this tool when selling home improvements:

  • Be the Expert: Take advantage of Building America Solution Center comprehensive guidance on ‘Existing Home’ retrofits.
  • Earn Trust: Inform homeowners how your work conforms to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) world-class expert guidance and recommend homeowners visit the DOE website as evidence these are indeed official best practices.
  • Clarity with Contrast: Tell prospective homeowner clients to compare your expert recommended best practices with other contractors.
  • Ensure Equivalent Pricing: Tell prospective homeowner clients to insist other bids also include DOE checklists to ensure equivalent quality work.
  • Translate Value: Note your company uses DOE HIE Checklists based on world-class expert recommendations for home improvements on all your public-facing communication including websites, advertising, and signage.
  • Create Emotional Experiences: Provide visual evidence contrasting the difference between poor and high quality work such as infrared images for good and bad insulation and air sealing; pre- and post-energy bills following quality installed work; short and long warranties for standard and high-efficiency equipment; and charts showing amounts of contaminants in homes that can be reduced with effective fresh air systems.

Air Conditioner Replacement Background

Installation of an air conditioner

Systems for heating and cooling your home use more energy and cost more money than any other system in your home—typically over 50% of your utility bill. High-efficiency air conditioners such as variable-speed systems save energy and last longer. However, a quality installation is integral to a well-performing system. Nearly half of all heating and cooling systems in U.S. homes are not installed to the manufacturer’s instructions and thus perform below rated capacity and efficiency.