Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Standard 5 details the nationally recognized minimum criteria for the proper installation of HVAC systems in residential and commercial applications. This Standard applies to HVAC equipment and components being installed in residential and commercial buildings.
The Standard focus areas for quality installation include: design, equipment installation, distribution, and system documentation and owner education aspects. Building owners and operators and residential consumers need to be informed of the links between comfort, humidity levels, utility bills, and indoor air quality with a proper HVAC system design and installation.
Commercial Quality HVAC Installation You Should Get What You Paid For
The checklist below will assist you in evaluating the capabilities of different HVAC companies and the proposals they submit. The questions on the checklist will help you understand the requirements contained within the nationally-recognized HVAC quality installation standard, and the explanations detail “what’s in it for you.”
USING THE CHECKLIST
Controlling costs is usually a driving force for building owners when building a new facility or replacing an existing HVAC system. However, how can you best assess the many variables affecting the installation of – or the desired benefits from your new heating and cooling system – when installation costs are but one variable in the total value equation?
Will problem areas (rooms too hot or cold) be addressed? Will the equipment operate in an energy-efficient manner? There are many considerations to be addressed when discerning a contractor’s skills, evaluating their proposals, and ensuring you get the value you pay for.
The “QI Elements Questions” provide guidance that will help you differentiate the capabilities and services of each contractor. Each “Explanation” portion conveys the benefit you will receive from the element and identifies the typical tasks the contractor will perform. The columns to the right of the explanation are for recording your score. Following the list of QI elements are some business related variables which may affect your selection of a contractor. This secondary list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to suggest other items for consideration.
Some of the steps in the Checklist apply to all installations, while others are specific to certain appliances:
- Questions that exclude air conditioners or heat pumps will state, “Does not apply to A/C or heat pumps”.
- Questions that exclude fossil fuel appliances like furnaces and boilers will state, “Does not apply to furnaces or boilers”.
- Questions that exclude only boilers will state, “Does not apply to boilers”.
The shaded column to the left of the checklist indicates approximately when each task should be performed. Because some tasks must be evaluated before they occur, you should have the contractor’s intent to perform these functions in writing. Most contractors want to do quality work, but contractors who document their intent generally fulfill it as well.
SUGGESTED RATING PROCEDURE
Use this checklist to rate your contractor, or to select between two or more contractors. Each question is worth one point unless the “Explanation” column recommends an additional point. After evaluating the contractors, add the contractor’s points, and then divide their total points into their total price.
This example is for a new building however, points could be attributed in the same way for an equipment replacement. After three bids:
- Contractor A received 8 points and had the lowest total price – $16,000 to install the HVAC system.
- Contractor B received 20 points, with the most expensive price – $25,000 to install the HVAC system, pressure test the duct distribution system for leaks, balance the airflow, and other associated tasks
- Contractor C received 15 points, and had a midrange– $22,500 to install the HVAC system, pressure test the duct distribution system for leaks, and other associated tasks.
This analysis method portrays the relative cost for each point of quality:
- Contractor A is $2,000 per point ($16,000 ÷ 8 pts = $2,000 per point),
- Contractor B is $1,250 per point ($25,000 ÷ 20 pts = $1,250 per point), and
- Contractor C is $1,500 per point ($22,500 ÷ 15 pts = $1,500 per point).
Based on point totals, Contractor B most closely follows the QI elements, uses business practices which meet your needs, and offers the most value for your money (e.g., lowest $ per point). The price difference between Contractors B and C is $2,500. This is a lot of money, but for an HVAC system that could last for decades, the expense may be justified.
Experts from across the HVAC industry identified and refined the core elements required for a quality HVAC installation. The result is a nationally-recognized, industry-approved standard (ANSI/ACCA HVAC Quality Installation Specification) that documents these industry requirements.
The QI standard focuses on the actual installation (e.g., how well the equipment is selected and installed) and can be used by consumers to select a contractor.
For a free PDF copy of the QI standard visit www.acca.org/quality.