What would you say if I told you that your faucet was going to leak hot water at a steady drip for the next 20 years? It’s a good bet that you’d have it fixed immediately. That’s what I would do. Well it’s not much different with your home comfort system. Except the “drip – drip – drip” is likely the gas burners, or compressor and the fan motor that are sucking the dollars out of your bank account. Up goes your carbon footprint, and down goes your net worth.
Don’t feel too bad though . . . your not alone. The average homeowner isn’t going to know if their system is oversized, undersized, under performing or poorly designed. That’s because your thermostat turns the equipment on when you’re hot or when you’re cold, and that’s about all there is to know. Right? . . . Not quite.
Day in and day out, we go out on calls to repair, replace and diagnose systems. We see all sorts of mechanical system designs and we get to see a lot of other people’s work. Some is good, and some, not so good. After years and years of our industry regulating, educating and trying to bring up the minimum standards, we still see inefficient designs in the form of oversized equipment and undersized ducting.
If you have a house that has a bedroom over the garage, chances are you can tell me a story about how cold it is in the winter and how hot it is in the summer. I hear it hundreds of times a year, and I’m sure many others in our industry do as well.
What it often boils down to is bad design. Bad design costs you money, or comfort, and often both. You crank up the thermostat to keep that room warm in the winter, and crank it down to keep it and the rest of the upstairs rooms cool in the summer.
In most cases, proper load calculations, equipment sizing and common sense can minimize or eliminate the problem altogether. Instead of cranking your thermostat up or down to compensate for improperly conditioned rooms or areas in the house, a proper design of the equipment and duct would mean an easier job of satisfying the thermostat, thus saving you money and providing you with the comfort you paid for and deserve. Again, can you hear the “drip-drip-drip”?