Last week I visited several HVAC contractors in Alamogordo to see if they had the equipment, training and were willing to meet the requirements to install HVAC in ENERGY STAR® homes. The results were rather disturbing to me. Several contractors have the equipment and training to meet the requirements, but have not been working in new construction; because they are considered to expensive by the builders. Instead they primarily work on commercial projects and retrofits.
I asked what they meant by retrofits? Retrofits are when a HVAC contractor has to come into an existing home and replace components in the system to make it work correctly. Apparently they are bombarded with calls from homeowners that have rooms or areas in there homes that are hot or cold and want it fixed. To fix these problems they sometimes have to redesign and install new ductwork and equipment for the home owner. To redesign and install new equipment in a home costs several thousand dollars.
Six years ago I purchased a new construction home and it has some of these same problems. Neither I nor you should have to pay thousands of dollars to retrofit a home that is still considered new. Does this seem crazy to anyone but me? Fortunately a retrofit is not required to fix all comfort problems; but that is a subject for another article.
If you buy a brand new home should you need to spend thousands of dollars to redesign and replace the HVAC system? Of course the answer is No! When we buy a new construction home it should have an HVAC system that is properly designed and installed, and that is why I have been talking with HVAC contractors. HVAC systems installed in ENERGY STAR® homes must be designed and installed using the latest industry standard tools and documented. The installer has several checklists that are filled out during the system design and installation. These checklists, plus additional checklists are used by the Home Energy Rater to verify and test the quality of the installation. Properly designed and installed systems will not eliminate all complaints,  but should go along way towards increasing customer satisfaction in their new homes. This is just one of the benefits of buying an ENERGY STAR® qualified home.
By Rod Sims| No Comment | Observations

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