You may have decided it is time to install a new or replacement HVAC system. Before you have your home evaluated for a new system, you should consider other parts of your home that need upgrades to improve the lifespan of your system.
Address Structural Integrity
You may not need a professional inspection of your residence to make the structure more efficient. Spend time evaluating the exterior of your property and looking for any areas where air might be seeping inside your home. Cracks in the siding are common problems. Additionally, holes in the wall where pipes leave your home may also cause problems if they are too large or not insulted properly.
You can usually fix small cracks with caulk made specifically for outdoor applications. Larger openings around pipes can be harder to remedy unless you are knowledgeable about the type of pipe. If you know the pipe is simple, such as a ventilation or drainage pipe, putty can be used around the pipe to minimize the space between the pipe and hole, thereby reducing the amount of air that can come inside your home. Some pipes may require a plumbing boot.
Address Insulation Needs
Even the most efficient system can become inefficient when your home has poor insulation. This is the time to evaluate some common areas of your home that will decrease the efficiency of your new system. Exterior walls are major culprits since these areas are most affected by the outside temperature. If your home is older and has not been evaluated for the integrity of existing insulation, you likely need an upgrade. Often the easiest method of installing additional insulation for exterior walls is insulation foam. This requires less damage to your walls for the installation and the process may be quicker.
Attics, roofing, basements, and crawl spaces should be next on your insulation upgrade list. Poorly insulated attics and roofs often translate into heat loss during the colder months, while cold air can pool in the basement and crawl space during the warmer months. Both situations decrease the efficiency of your system and make your home uncomfortable because the energy is not staying within the living spaces.
Address Windows & Doors
Although it may not be practical to replace all your windows and doors, there are easy methods to improve their efficiency. For windows, go through your home and find signs of air or moisture seeping through. You may notice the curtains move when the window is closed or moisture around the window frame after it rains. To test if air is seeping through your closed windows, hold a candle or lighter near the window. The flame should stay relatively still if there is no air coming through.
Most drafts caused by a poor-fitting window frame can be eliminated or minimized with the appropriate caulking. Find options that are made for indoor applications, but are also moisture-resistant. In some cases, a draft occurs because the window does not sit properly inside the frame. This can happen as the window ages or due to flaws in the window or installation process. Since drafts are more likely to be an issue during the colder months, you may choose to cover the window with shrink film during the fall and winter, until you can have the window repaired or replaced.
Exterior doors can have similar problems and it can be difficult to remedy the problem without replacing the door. Most wooden doors will expand and contract significantly depending on the weather and moisture, which means they require more space between the door and door frame. This often translates into air coming inside your home from around exterior doors.
To help offset some of the air, you may want to have a rug at the door. When the rug is butted against the door, it may block some of the air coming under the door. Another option is installing a storm door. Since storm doors are made of metal, they do not require additional space between the door and the door frame, and may fit snugly within the door frame. The storm door can serve as a barrier between your exterior doors and the elements.
To learn more about the process, contact an AC installation company.