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HVAC Contractor or Air Conditioner Brand: Whats More Important?

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Whats More Important? The Air Conditioning Brand or the HVAC Contractor?

Find an HVAC Contractor You Can Trust

One of the most common questions we get at Kalos Services goes something like this, “What’s the best air conditioning brand? I want to make sure you’re installing a good AC system.” But, what customers often don’t consider is that the HVAC contractor who performs the install needs have abundant knowledge of the systems they install.

There are many different A/C manufacturers in the market, so it is important that you do not fall prey to clever marketing. While there are a few truly unique technologies in the market today, most residential systems are actually pretty similar between the reputable brands.

[Tweet “The most important factor for a consumer is that a system is installed and tested properly.”]

Why the HVAC Contractor You Choose Matters

You may purchase the best air conditioning system on the market but if the air conditioning installation isn’t performed properly you will still end up with an inefficient, unreliable system. This means that the company installing your new unit matters more than the brand of the new system. There are many aspects of a new installation that involve personal safety, fire hazards, indoor air quality, system longevity, and long-term power usage. It’s essential the HVAC Contractor you trust with your installation is well versed and has a documented track record of consistent, quality work.

HVAC contractor

Get Quality Air Conditioner Installation

The most important aspect of any brand is the reliability of the product as well as the availability of the parts to repair the unit. Many of the less common brands may have a good warranty on paper, but actually getting the parts to repair the unit can take days or weeks to get.

The better manufacturers generally will have a factory distribution center in your area. This means that when you need an air conditioning repair in the middle of the summer, it will be more likely that your part is stored in a warehouse in Central Florida, getting you back up and running quickly. An HVAC contractor might be able to get you a cheap unit, but make sure your warranty is actually worth something.

Every air conditioning contractor that hopes to earn your business should have their installation process in writing. This shows process (or lack of one) will show exactly the type of contractor they are and if you can trust them to install the best air conditioning brand the right way.

Some other helpful posts:

How Much Does an Air Conditioner Cost?

The Kalos Services Air Conditioner Install Process

Common Air Conditioning Installation Mistakes That Could Cost You Thousands

 

Interested in a Free Estimate? Fill out this form and our Comfort Adviser will be in touch shortly!

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How Much Does An Air Conditioner Cost?

air conditioner cost air conditioner replacement

“Is that actually a fair price?”

This is always one of the first questions a customer has when they get their first quote for a new air conditioning system. The problem is, with so many options and variance, it’s really hard to give a simple answer. There is so much that goes into figuring how much it will cost to install, that the suggested AC prices are really vague, and do not cover everything that might be involved. You can skip past the good stuff for the general price-ranges at the bottom, or you can take the time to understand why a system might cost what it does, and why someone else might get a very different price.

new air conditioning unit

Typical Residential A/C Systems in Florida

The most common configuration for an air conditioner is a split system, where the “Fan Coil” or “Air Handler” half is inside, and the “Condenser” is outside. Some systems are “Packaged Units” that are inside of a single enclosure outside.

A basic system might provide cooling only, with or without an electric heater integrated. “Heat Pump” AC systems can heat much more efficiently than with just the electric heater unit, and if you have a gas hookup, a furnace might be an option. Gas heating is generally more cost-efficient than even a heat pump, but the heating efficiency that either can offer will cost you more upfront.

 

Basic Air Conditioning Install Inclusions

Replacing your air conditioning system involves a lot of work. There are often things beyond the system itself that can either affect the system or else cause damage. Other times, something might just be easier to do when replacing the system.  It is almost always necessary for a qualified professional to come out to your home to determine what needs to be included in your new air conditioner cost. Whenever you see add-ons included, ask the service professionals why they are including it.

  • Concrete Pad: having a good hurricane pad is required by code in Florida. It not only helps avoid damage in high winds, but it also stabilizes the condenser for more efficient operation and longer life.
  • Drain lines: the “air handler” pulls moisture out of the air during normal operation. This moisture condenses on the coil and flows safely outside through the drain line. If there are breaks or damage to the line or supports, the condensation may instead leak and create water damage. Water might also back up, triggering safety devices that shut off the unit to avoid such damage. Replacing the drain lines helps ensure that the system will operate safely.
  • Duct sections: air leakage into areas like attics or garages can dramatically affect efficiency. collapsed sections or other damage might also affect the air balance and cause unexpected stress on the system. Damaged sections of ductwork can sometimes be repaired, but are often cheaper and easier to replace entirely.
  • Electrical: portions of the electrical circuit that supplies a system might be damaged or unsafe. This can be an issue for you as the resident, but it can also cause premature failure of key components, leading to high repair costs. Replacing at least the portion of the electrical circuit leading from the wall panel to the unit is generally recommended, but more aggressive electrical repairs are sometimes needed.
  • Platform Top: if the “air handler” is in an upright position, it is usually positioned on top of a wooden return box. The top of this box will usually begin to sag with age, especially if poorly constructed or with water damage. Replacing this platform top is strongly recommended with any air conditioning system replacement.
  • Refrigerant Lines: the copper piping that runs between the “air handler” and “condenser” carries the freon or puron, the refrigerant material specially formulated for thermal-transfer. This copper tubing is exposed to the elements, and degrades due to age and exposure to chemicals in the water or air. Failures here are both relatively common, and can have results ranging from requiring more frequent service to catastrophic equipment failure. Replacement is often not necessary, but should always be considered.
  • Thermostat: Replacement of older mercury-based thermostats is usually required, but a digital thermostat is usually alright if left alone. Aging thermostats are generally innocuous, as problems are typically limited to lost efficiency or temporary AC failure. They don’t generally cause further damage. A new thermostat is still an inexpensive way to add convenient features.

Air Conditioner Sizing Options

The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is measured in tons, but the “tons” are not a measurement of how heavy the system is. Tonnage actually refers to the amount of heat an A/C unit can remove from a space in one hour.

Most reputable air conditioning contractors will calculate the appropriate tonnage of cooling capacity for a new system. Total home area, wall-thickness, tree shading, window size and direction, and even awnings and curtains can all contribute to the overall expected heat load. It might even be different from what is currently installed in your home.

This is not an area that you can adjust. It is one thing if two contractors disagree on the tonnage required, and you should ask how the appropriate tonnage was figured, but this will be a set factor. A lower-capacity system won’t necessarily be able to keep up with the harsh Florida heat, but a higher-capacity system might waste energy by constantly stopping and starting — think how frustrated you get in stop-and-go traffic.

Efficiency Options

An area that you as the customer have a significant amount of flexibility is in system efficiency. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a general metric for how much it can cost to heat and cool your space, around the year. The higher the number, the more cost-efficient the unit is to run, but beware: higher-efficiency systems can cost drastically more.

Florida energy code does require a minimum of 14-SEER equipment for any new install or replacement, but efficiencies of up to 20-SEER are available for smaller capacity units. There are also a number of intangibles that come with higher efficiency systems, such as improved dehumidification and filtration options, or even advanced controls.

When an air conditioning company is quoting a new unit for you, make sure to get at least three efficiency options from them in order to see the new air conditioner cost differences. Some AC companies will only quote higher efficiency units in order to influence customers to purchase the bigger ticket item, so be sure you request to see an installation price for a 14 SEER unit in order to compare costs accurately. At Kalos Services, Inc. you’ll always receive four efficiency options to choose from.

Price Ranges:

Rating 2 Tons 3 Tons 4 Tons 5 Tons
14 SEER $4000-$5500 $4750-$6250 $5000-$6500 $5750-$7250
15-16 SEER $5750-$7250 $6000-$7500 $6250-$7750 $7000-&8500
17-18 SEER $9000-$10,500 $9500-$11,000 $10,000-$11,500 $11,250-$13,000
19-20 SEER $$11,500-$13,000 $12,500-$14,000 $13,000-$14,500 $13,500-$15,000

 

As you do your research, be sure to include a qualified expert to ensure the air conditioner cost you are expecting is accurate. Never accept air conditioner prices handed out over the phone as accurate, or reliable. Be sure the air conditioning company visit your property to give you a thorough quote addressing every aspect of the scope of work.

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Kalos Honored as a Top Company Culture Nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Bryan Orr
Kalos Services Inc
Bryan@kalosflorida.com
352-243-7088

 

KALOS SERVICES RANKED ON INAUGURAL TOP COMPANY CULTURE LIST PRESENTED BY ENTREPRENEUR AND CULTUREIQ

Clermont, FL– Kalos Services Inc. was recently ranked on Entrepreneur’s Top Company Culture list, a comprehensive ranking of U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures created in partnership with culture management software and service provider CultureIQ®. The Top Company Cultures list has placed Kalos Services as 6th  nationwide in the Small Company category.  Kalos Services is recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations and directly impacts company success.

“When we started Kalos we didn’t set out to be anything other than business people of integrity. Along the way we have a built a team of amazing people and they are the reason we have such an enjoyable and rewarding culture” Stated Robert Orr, President of Kalos Services Inc.

“Creating an entrepreneurial culture is a key priority for business leaders, yet no one until now has really assessed the role culture plays in success,” says Ray Hennessey, editorial director of Entrepreneur.com. “This ranking celebrates the dedication that all teams, from entry-level to the C-suite, have in ensuring they are creating vibrant, healthy and sustainable work environments. That’s good for employees, investors and customers.”

Co-Founder Bryan Orr said “Of all of the things we care about in business, company culture is right at the top. A cornerstone of Kalos is the ideal that people are always more important than organizations and a great organization can only be built one great person at a time. Only by valuing the significance and humanity of every person on the team can you reach true success as a business”

The full list, presenting a total of 75 companies categorized as small, medium-sized or large companies—25-49 employees, 50-99 employees, and more than 100 employees— is available on Entrepreneur.com. Core insights, behaviors, and attributes that have helped to shape the high-performing cultures presented by the top companies are shared alongside practices to help other companies work on their own workplace environments.

“There is always an opportunity to learn from each other when running and growing a business, which is why we are excited to honor these companies and share their success in building an effective culture,” says CultureIQ founder and CEO Greg Besner. “I find it particularly inspiring to see a wide variety of companies represented in the list, confirming that you can have a strong culture regardless of industry, size, or business maturity.”

The rankings for all companies were determined using CultureIQ’s methodology for measuring high-performance cultures. Employees at each company received a survey of 21 short, multiple-choice questions. The answers were used to assess a company’s strength across 10 core qualities of culture – performance focus, support, and innovation, to name a few. These quality strength scores were combined with the employee Net Promoter Score to create a cumulative CultureIQ Score. The companies with the highest CultureIQ Scores became the Top Company Culture list in ranking order. To be considered for the ranking, a company must have at least 25 employees, have been founded before Jan. 1, 2014 and be headquartered in the U.S.

To view Kalos Services in the full ranking, visit www.entrepreneur.com/TopCultures

Kalos Services Inc. is a  family owned and operated residential service provider and commercial construction company. Kalos Services is licensed and specialize in high-end Commercial/Residential Construction and in the installation, maintenance, service and repair of Air Conditioning, Electrical, and Pool Heating projects.

The company founders stated:

“We get a lot of questions about our name. For Us, our name represents how we wish to approach our work and serve our customers. Kalos is:

Kalos is:

kalos: καλός noun /kay-los’/ defined- Ancient Greek; ideal personal conduct; integrity

We desire to not only please customers for the sake of doing quality work, but we are passionate about living, working and growing our business with integrity. Kalos is more than just a name or even a company policy. It is an attitude of service that our customers rave about. From the time our company was founded in 2005, we’ve always desired to make a positive impact not only on your family or business, but in the Central Florida community” ###entrepreneur-cultureiq-small-web-transparent

ABOUT  ENTREPRENEUR MEDIA INC.

For nearly 40 years, Entrepreneur Media Inc. has been serving the entrepreneurial community providing comprehensive coverage of business and personal success through original content and events. Entrepreneur magazine, Entrepreneur.com, and publishing imprint Entrepreneur Press provide solutions, information, inspiration and education read by millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide.

To learn more, visit entrepreneur.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @Entrepreneur and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/entmagazine.

 

About CultureIQ®

CultureIQ is culture management software that helps companies measure, understand, and strengthen their organizational culture. By providing research-driven and customizable surveys, insightful analytics, and reporting and culture resources, CultureIQ empowers companies to make data-driven decisions to better engage and retain their employees.

Based in New York City, CultureIQ was founded in 2013 by Greg Besner, a veteran entrepreneur and New York University Stern School of Business adjunct professor, with a notable history of implementing successful culture initiatives. CultureIQ is backed by a group of successful business leaders, including Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund and other entrepreneurs who have seen the valuable impact of prioritizing culture at their own companies.

For more information, visit www.cultureiq.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @CultureIQ and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/CultureIQ.

 

 

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There is Something You Need to Know About Sunrooms

As many of you are aware, Florida has some pretty fantastic weather, save for a hurricane here or there and our expected summer afternoon thunderstorms.

This is one of the major reasons that the rear lanai / enclosed porch / sunroom is so popular in The Villages. There is nothing like enjoying coffee in the morning on your own porch as you are bathed in the beautiful sunshine.

Over the past 10 years, a few changes in the building and energy codes have affected the types of rooms that can be built and the way in which they can be used.

However, in the last few months, we have learned of a major change in interpretation that is shaking things up once again.

First, let’s start with some history: Florida building regulations are governed by a central body (Florida building commission) and code (Florida building code). These codes are enforced by local municipal building departments at the city or county level depending on the jurisdiction.

In theory, the code would be enforced uniformly across the state. This is not the case. The code is enforced based on the interpretation of the code by the local building officials and according to processes also established at the local level.

Lanai Classification

This means that something that is allowed in one county or city may very well not be allowed in another city.

According to the code there are 5 different types of sunrooms that may be built, all with different requirements. Here is the cliffsnotes version.

  • Class 1 – Essentially, a screen room can’t be air conditioned
  • Class 2 – A simple room with glass or acrylic enclosure but still not really an extension of the home, can’t be air conditioned
  • Class 3 – Same as above only the addition of air leakage resistance and forced entry doors (harder to break into) can’t be air conditioned
  • Class 4 – Can be Fully conditioned and habitable part of the home but has a door separating it (needs to meet ALL codes electrical, slab water intrusion, insulation, forced entry, slab to grade etc..)
  • Class 5 – Same as 4 but with no door between room and house.

Many contractors were installing windows and doors on what amounted to a screen porch. Sometimes this was being done with a permit and sometimes it was not.

Finding a Balance Between Comfort and the Building code

As you might imagine, there was  and is a huge demand to install cooling and heating in these spaces. A lanai is enjoyable, but when it’s 95 degrees in there the joy can quickly turn to agony.

About 5 years ago I was made aware of a work around by Sumter County. They gave me a handout detailing how a high efficiency ductless system could be classified as a dehumidifier (which it is) so long as we installed a dehumidistat adjacent to the unit, and had the owner sign a letter stating that they understood the exemption being used.

However- On June 13th, 2014 Sprague Owens, Chief Plans Examiner for Marion County sent a “Petition for Declaratory Statement” to the Florida Building Commission that essentially brought the exemption being used into question.

On November 18th, 2014, The Florida building commission sent down their official interpretation that the dehumidifier exemption is for systems that dehumidify ONLY.

From November 18th onward, Marion County ceased issuing permits for “ductless dehumidifiers” and Sumter ceased issuing permits as of 1/1/2015. See the PDF document link below.

FL Building Code

The ramifications are as follows:

  • Before – any licensed HVAC contractor could look at any sunroom or lanai and easily obtain a permit to install in the space.
  • Now – The space must be looked at and brought up to class 4 or class 5 standards before ANY heat or air can be added. This includes window units, ductless units, portable units or ducts for the existing system.

Here is the Good News

If you live in Sumter County you have been blessed with a very conscientious, helpful, and responsive building department.

I had a sit down meeting with the head building official, Steve Wilcox, along with Plans Examiner, E.J. Aubuchon, and Chief Building Inspector, Jim Parman. We discussed the issue and looked carefully through the building code to ensure that whatever is done moving forward will be consistent and reasonable.

Here are the main points we discussed:

  • We must find out what type of structure is there currently and how it was previously permitted.
  • Whatever was approved and permitted previously does not need to be readdressed as it would fall under the previous interpretation.
  • If the space does need to be brought up to a class 4 or 5 the following aspects would need to be addressed
  • Is it glass and is it properly wind rated? If it is acrylic or vinyl it must be changed to glass. If it is glass, we must be able to prove the wind rating. Any old documentation is very useful.
  • The space must comply with the energy code and energy calculations must be provided (Quality glass, attic insulation).
  • Slab must be at least 4” above grade if the walls are block / stucco and 6” above grade if anything else.
  • Slab must be waterproofed with plastic sheeting BENEATH the slab or other approved method. Steve approved a coating that I located for application on top of the concrete and under the finished flooring.
  • Doors and windows must be forced entry resistant. In other words, they must be rated to help prevent home invasion. If your space was previously permitted as class 3 or above you are likely already covered. Any information from the installer or manufacturer may be helpful.
  • Space must comply with the National Electrical Code (NEC 210.52) that establishes that no point of the wall along the floor shall be more than 6′ from a receptacle. This means a receptacle needs to be located within 6′ from a wall opening and then no more than 12′ apart after the first one. Each wall needs at least one receptacle unless is it 24” or less in width.

Other Things to Consider When Upgrading Your Lanai

Many residents will ask what the additional cost will be on their property taxes if they upgrade the rear sunroom or lanai to a class 4 or 5. This is an area that I would be a fool to speak to specifically as it can change at any time.

I HAVE been told that any impact would be minimal, however, I would suggest contacting the Sumter County property appraiser’s office with any specific questions at 352-569-6800.

If you live in one of the other surrounding counties or cities the interpretation will likely be similar but it is always safer to ask the appropriate office before making any assumptions.

At Kalos Services we are committed to leading the way in bringing clarity to this issue for all of our customers, but even more specifically to our friends in The Villages.

What Next?

At this point, the best thing any owner can do who wants A/C in a sunroom is to gather up all the information regarding any work done on the sunroom and if any questions remain, talk to the building department about any prior work performed.

At Kalos Services, we are a licensed HVAC (air conditioning), Electrical and Building contractor so we are licensed and qualified to review any existing space and perform the requisite changes to make it compliant with these changes.

If you have any further questions or concerns, just give us a call at 352.243.7088 and ask for Bryan or Jesse, or fill out the form below:

All the best to you and yours.

Bryan Orr

Co-Founder

Kalos Services Inc.  

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