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Getting a New HVAC System from Conditioned Air Solutions, Part I

Recently, my husband and I decided it was time to replace our aging HVAC system, and we turned to Conditioned Air Solutions. Here’s how it went, from the perspective of a Tennessee Valley homeowner just like you.


First Contact


The process started when I emailed the folks at Conditioned Air Solutions about getting a quote for a new HVAC system. Literally minutes later, Call Center Manager Victoria called me to set up an appointment.

Victoria asked me a few questions about our house and our HVAC system, including whether our system was currently working. I explained that our system was a packaged gas furnace and air conditioner, and that it was old but currently working. It had required several repairs in recent years, so we wanted to replace it before it broke down completely.

Since we weren’t in an emergency situation, Victoria scheduled the appointment for the next week, at a time that was convenient for me. The appointment was scheduled for a specific time—10 AM—not a broad window, and Victoria told me that the consultant would call me beforehand to confirm and let me know he was on his way.


Getting the Quote


The following Tuesday morning, I got a call from Comfort Consultant Russ confirming our appointment and he arrived right on time. He was in a marked Conditioned Air Solutions vehicle and wearing a CAS logo shirt.

Russ introduced himself and gave me his card, and we chatted for a little while about our current system and the issues we’d had with it. Our house is an older split-level home with some additions, including a sunroom, so it’s not the easiest place to heat and cool.

I told Russ that we’d had problems with the upstairs bedrooms not getting enough air from the HVAC. Also, on hot summer days, our system couldn’t keep our home below 76F. Sometimes we could keep it cooler by closing off the door to the sunroom, but that left the sunroom unusable.

I also explained that we’d realized there was a problem with our thermostat’s placement. It was on a wall that the main chase leading upstairs ran through. During the winter, that wall would get warm and cause our thermostat to shut off the heat while the rest of the house was still cold.

Russ listened carefully to all these issues and then he started his own inspection of the house. And he inspected the whole house! He went down into the crawlspace and up into the attic to inspect our ductwork and insulation, even though our crawlspace and attic aren’t the easiest to get into.

He measured the size of the return vent and determined that it was sized for a 3-ton unit, not the 4-ton unit that we had. He checked out the location of our supply registers, then went outside and measured our entire house and the windows, noting which windows were single-paned and which were newer, more energy efficient double-paned ones.

Then he entered all that data into a program on his laptop that calculated exactly how much heating and cooling our home actually needed. When the calculations were done, Russ showed me how our sunroom, with its single-paned windows, was affecting our home’s cooling needs.

The problem was that the sunroom, all by itself, needed 2 tons of cooling! That put our home’s total cooling load at 6.5 tons. Without the sunroom, the load was 4.5 tons.



Russ offered a few options, including adding a mini-split air conditioner just for the sunroom, but that was outside of our budget. We decided that in order to fit our budget, we’d replace the old 4-ton system with a 5-ton system and explore less expensive energy-saving options like window tinting and reflective blinds.

However, that left the problem of air flow. A 5-ton unit would require much more air than our current return was sized for (remember, it was sized for just a 3-ton unit!). So we needed to increase the size of those return ducts and add a second return in order to get enough air. That would help solve the problem of getting conditioned air into the upstairs bedrooms.

Additionally, they would install a new Ecobee4 thermostat with additional sensors so that our system would know if the upstairs was too hot or too cold. And it would help solve the problem of our thermostat’s placement because the temperature wouldn’t just be measured on that wall.

Ultimately, Russ provided us with quotes for several options, including two different 5-ton packaged gas units. He also wrote out three different options at a range of price points for updating the return ducts, the supply ducts, or all the ductwork. And he gave us information about financing options.

All in all, Russ spent about three hours at our house. When he was done, I felt confident that we had all the information we needed to make the best decision for our home and budget.



Making the Call


We reviewed the information that Russ had given us and decided to go ahead with installing a Daikin 14-SEER 5-ton packaged gas unit and having the return duct work done. I emailed Russ to let him know. Victoria called to take my deposit payment information over the phone and instructed me on how to electronically submit my signed authorization form.

Then Victoria scheduled the install dates, along with a pre-install review, when the install supervisor would come out to look at our home and make sure they had all the necessary equipment and parts ready for the install. This was particularly important since we would be adding a new return duct and needed to decide where to place it.



CONTINUED IN: Getting a New HVAC System from Conditioned Air Solutions, Part 2