Image is erroneously titled, "AC Pipes." Photographer is Roman Milert and the photo is part of the Hemera Collection, ThinkStock images, item #101058978
Service companies and their customers across the country have embraced the idea that unless the duct system performs well, the rated equipment energy efficiency means little. Let’s take a look at typical duct system upgrades necessary to deliver the efficiency promised on the yellow sticker.
The average residential HVAC system still only delivers an average of 57% of its rated equipment BTUs into the home. The typical government and utility programs in use today increase this statistic to a whopping 63%.
The good news is that service technicians who take an hour for a little measurement and diagnostics can increase the average sales price of their jobs by $3,200 and eliminate their competition. This is accomplished by delivering 85% or better system efficiency that your customers are happy to pay for.
Include the Duct System
Do your service agreements include the ducting portion of the system?
If you are like most companies the answer is no. A five minute static pressure reading can be a key diagnostic indicator if the duct system is in need of renovation. How have you been able to ignore this critical component of the systems that you install and service?
Unless measurements are taken of at least airflow and static pressure, your evaluation of the HVAC system's performance is only a guess. Rated SEER or AFUE only express the potential of the equipment in a laboratory environment. The air distribution system must be included in the formula to judge a system's performance.
This is still a new frontier in the HVAC industry. The best part of duct renovation work is that you find it, manufacturer the needed duct, install it, and keep 90% of the money in your company. Often less that 10% of the sales price of this work is paid to vendors. System renovation is a custom product.
Recurring Performance Issues
By considering the problems of the air side, installers will learn not to make these common mistakes as they build systems. Service technicians will pull their heads out of the 'box' and look at the entire system. Salespeople will find new opportunity for profitable work and a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Once again, this is a new opportunity that has been here all along. This is the 'air' in air conditioning.
When evaluating the systems that you install and service, you will find several duct conditions turn up again and again across the country.
We encourage you to review these practices and see which ones you could eliminate from your installation projects. More importantly, we encourage you to find these problems with your service customers and prescribe duct renovation work that includes the entire system and not just the boxes.