Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Air Conditioner

First, let me state this is NOT a sponsored blog. I just was blown away by the service I got.

I was recently reminded that there was a $1500 tax credit for replacing an inefficient air conditioner.  Well, my heat pump was going on its 13th summer.  It worked fine, but the past 2 years I've been told it's losing SEER.  From a 12, it was down to a 6.  Since A/C units are good for about 10 years, I figured I was on borrowed time.  Why not take advantage of the tax credit?

So I called Wolff Mechanical to get a quote.  I admit I did not get any competing quotes.  I have done business with them for a few years for my annual checks.  They are one of SRP's recommended vendors.  They are highly rated on-line, and they have only 3 complaints with the BBB.  And those were all resolved.  Possibly another vendor would have come in for less, but I don't believe in going with the lowest bidder anyway.

The first thing Bo did, after admiring my dogs, was to tell me that the unit I had was too big for my house.  They could easily have sold me another 5 ton unit and I would have thought nothing of it.  But he explained that I only needed a 4 ton.   He explained that the air return was too small for the house and would need to be expanded.  He also told me the filters I use don't allow enough air flow to the air conditioner.

The day of the installation, two guys, Brian and Ed, arrived promptly at 8.  They were polite and professional.  They moved my computer desk out of the way of the attic access with no grumbling and put it back in exactly the same spot when the work was done.   

For 12 years I have been complaining about the high temperature in the master bedroom.  I was told with the sun beating on a south and west wall, I would have to deal with it.  Brian informed me that the precedence of the ducts has been sending the coldest air to the lower level.  He fixed that and the bedroom is now the coldest room in the house.  Yeah!

The air return couldn't be expanded because there were roof trusses in the way.  I was expecting Brian to say that the 20 x 30 would work well enough.  No.  He asked me if it was OK to put one in the next room.  I pointed out that there was no access to that part of the attic because there was plywood in the way.  He just shrugged and said when they hipped the roofs together they didn't bother to cut out the plywood facing.  He cut a hole for the new duct and an access for a person.  And let me know that there was sufficient insulation in that section.

Even though they didn't replace the original air return, he installed a new cover for it.  This one has slats spaced further apart.  I was thrilled to note that the clips to open the grill were now facing away from the wall.  It's been a hassle to squeeze up against the wall to release the old ones.  I thanked him and he pointed out that the vanes on the grill were pointed away from the stairway.  People downstairs looking up would see only the vanes and not the filter.  Isn't that cool!  A fine example of paying attention to the details.

Finally, they did a great job of cleaning up, even vacuuming the fallen insulation from the floor of the loft.  

The new air conditioner is quieter and keeps the temperature more even than the old one did.  It's too soon to tell if the bills will be lower, but even if they are the same, I am quite happy with the new unit.


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