The 7 Biggest Mistakes That HVAC Contractors STILL Make

In The News 1Someone recently forwarded me a blog post entitled “The 7 Biggest Mistakes That HVAC Contractors Make.” It was written by Allison Bailes, founder and owner of Energy Vanguard, a Decatur, GA-based company that trains HERS raters and designs high performance HVAC systems. While the entire article was good reading, I was particularly struck by the fact that the majority of mistakes highlighted by the author were clearly relevant to those that work on duct systems if not directly related to aeroseal duct sealing itself. Let’s see what you think.

Mistake One: Ignoring Air Flow

Bailes points out that this is perhaps the biggest and most consistent problem he sees with today’s HVAC work. The focus is on the box and not much on the ductwork.  In many cases, the duct system is not sized properly and/or has substantial leaks. He mentions a contractor that advocates doing a duct changeout with most every new system he installs.

This is probably not a bad idea in the best of all worlds, but we all know the reality. For most homeowners, the work and costs involved in replacing an entire duct system makes this option out of the question. It is however, possible to remedy a good portion of the problems related to poor ductwork with Aeroseal. Since the technology works from the inside of the ducts to seal leaks, it’s possible to treat the entire duct system without having to tear into walls or rip up insulation.

In fact, even if you were to replace the entire duct system, studies show there is no guarantee that it will not leak. An HVAC contractor recently told me about his experience working with the biggest Energy Star community in the state of New York. He and his crew painstakingly sealed the ductwork in hundreds of new homes using tape and mastic. When done, each home was tested and passed the stringent duct leak standards. That was in the Fall. When the homes were retested just a few months later, they all failed. The seasonal change and other factors had a huge impact on the integrity of the ductwork. His company now aeroseals each and every duct system before the homes are completed.

Mistake Two: Ignoring The Opportunities In Home Performance

Add another expert to the list of those who sees home performance as the future of HVAC. As a recent article in The NEWS highlights, duct services like Aeroseal can be a profit center for HVAC professionals. For most of us, the days of selling boxes alone are over. Homeowners are looking for real solutions to energy savings and increased indoor comfort. If you are not providing these solutions, you are leaving money on the table – and an open door to your competitors.

And if you are a homeowner, keep in mind that your heating and air conditioning contractor should be the ideal expert to turn to for energy saving assistance. That means much more than selling you a fancy new furnace. In fact, if you’re buying a new energy-efficient heater or air conditioner, be suspicious if the person selling you that system doesn’t at least talk to you about your ductwork. You can spend a ton of money on a new efficiency system but if your ductwork is leaking, you’ll never get your money’s worth.

Mistake Three: Forgetting the V in HVAC

Due to the difficulties often associated with solving ventilation problems, HVAC professionals typically ignore IAQ (indoor air quality) issues common in kitchens and bathrooms. Tighter construction standards only exacerbate poor ventilations problems, yet these issues continue to be overlooked.

Here too, aeroseal technology can often be an easy, effective solution to anemic ventilation systems that fail to adequately remove stale air.

And its not just smells that are of concern. I was recently talking to the manager of a large hotel that had chronic issues with bathroom mold and mildew. Weak ventilation failed to eliminate the humid air that led to the mold – especially around the caulking in the showers and around the tubs. His maintenance crew spent hours each week bleaching and scrubbing the mold away.

The hotel recently had the building’s exhaust shafts sealed with aeroseal and now the mold is gone.

Mistake Four: Skipping The Math

Homes have changed. So have HVAC systems. Making sure you are getting the right amount of treated air to all rooms and areas of the home starts with proper testing and calculating to ensure the system is properly sized from the start. But even a perfectly sized system will fail to work properly if leaks interfere.

One of the great things about the aeroseal process is that its computer-controlled system provides an accurate measurement of the leakage before the sealing process even begins. Then, as the sealant is introduced into the inside of the ductwork, the homeowner can actually watch as an illustrative graph indicates the rate of leak reduction as each of the individual holes gets sealed. At the end of the process, the homeowner receives a document that specifies the before rate, the after rate and the final percentage of reduction.

Times are changing. What worked before may not work now. Specification and building codes are becoming more stringent, new technologies are providing improved solutions, and homeowners are demanding higher performance – higher energy efficiency solutions. The good news is that technologies like aeroseal are helping meet these new standards and the new homeowner demands…and they’re providing HVAC professionals with a clear and natural path for future success.

You can read the entire post that originally inspired this article by clicking here

 

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