Revamping Comfort: A Guide to What to Expect During an HVAC Replacement Journey

June 12, 2023
Revamping Comfort: A Guide to What to Expect During an HVAC Replacement Journey

What to Expect During an
HVAC Replacement

If you’re considering HVAC replacement, chances are that this is your first time facing such a project and you’re not quite sure what to expect. That’s why we’ve come up with all the helpful information you’ll need, from working with an HVAC contractor and installer to tips that will help you prepare your home before the HVAC replacement project begins.

Estimate Your HVAC Replacement Costs

Before you start the replacement, it’s recommended that you get up to four HVAC repair cost estimates from reputable HVAC contractors or companies. Upon arriving at your property, the HVAC contractor will measure square footage and perform load calculations based on your area’s climate, the size of your property and condition of the structure’s envelope, or its ability to contain conditioned air. After completing the assessment, the contractor will recommend the size and type of HVAC system, as well as any necessary repairs to the ductwork and/or exterior envelope. The recommended HVAC replacement may include upgrading attic or crawl space insulation, resealing of windows and doors, or repairing breaches in exterior walls where conditioned air might escape.

Replacement of Entire HVAC System

It is recommended when replacing one part of the system, whether the HVAC compressor or the air handler, to update both systems and, at a minimum, have the ductwork inspected in case it needs replacing. Although only one part of your system may need replacing, it’s recommended that you replace the entire system to maintain maximum system efficiency. Replacing the entire HVAC system means spending more money upfront but you’ll save money in the long run because your entire HVAC unit will be in sync.

Calculate the Correct HVAC System Size

The following chart is an estimation for tonnage coverage based on the square footage of your property. You’ll also want to take into consideration the climate where your property is located to ensure you have appropriate tonnage to handle the varying temperatures in your area. A qualified HVAC contractor will be able to figure this out for you more accurately, but here is a helpful chart so you can know what to expect:

  • 1.5 tons – 600 to 1100 square feet
  • 2-tons –    901 to 1400 square feet
  • 2.5-tons – 1201 to 1650 square feet
  • 3 tons – 1501 to 2100 square feet
  • 3.5 tons – 1801-2300 square feet
  • 4 tons – 2101 to 2700 square feet
  • 5 tons – 2401 to 3300 square feet

Before buying for HVAC replacement, do your research on the best type and size unit for your property. Purchasing a unit that is too large or too small for the square footage of your home or business is not energy efficient, which results in higher utility bills. Check the energy efficiency ratings on the label and whether the product is certified by Energy Star to ensure you buy the system that will work at maximum efficiency, year-round, and save you money throughout the lifespan of the system.

Setting up the Area for an HVAC Replacement

First, the crew will protect all flooring in applicable work areas by laying drop cloths and/or protective paper. Next, they should move furniture and other household belongings near the work areas to a safe location and out of the way. Because there may be some dust created during the installation, heavy furniture and other household items that cannot be moved should be covered with plastic for protection. After ensuring all flooring and household items are protected, the crew will bring in their tools and begin the project.

HVAC Duct Repair

Duct Repair and/or Modification

Depending on the scope of your project, duct repair and/or replacement may be involved. One or two crew members will typically begin this work, while the lead installer begins assembling the new equipment. If major ductwork is involved in your HVAC project, you can expect to have crew members negotiating their way through attics and crawl spaces to make the repairs or modifications necessary for the new equipment. In addition, major ductwork could prolong the completion of the HVAC replacement, so plan accordingly.

Installing Your New HVAC Unit Replacement

After repairing or modifying the existing ductwork, the crew will begin installing the new equipment to manufacturer’s specifications. Depending on the type of system you choose, the equipment may be installed both inside and outside your home. The components installed may include the inside air handler or evaporator, outside compressor or condensing unit, new refrigerant supply lines, thermostat, condensate drain lines, and the condensate pump when applicable. In addition, while most HVAC contractors can upgrade wiring and circuit breakers during a typical HVAC installation, major changes to the property’s electrical system and circuitry may require the services of a licensed electrical contractor.

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