The installation is done! There have been many hours spent bidding the job, rounding up all the materials needed, getting the equipment, and installing the system. The customer pays you thousands of dollars, you should make sure the job is done correctly the first time, not only for their benefit but for your bottom line as well.
The next day you receive a phone call from your customer, with a complaint on the unit you just installed, that it is not working right. And they are mad!!! You start thinking “what went wrong”? “I hope that it is something easy”. “This could cost me a lot of money if it is something major”. The reputation and confidence in the company is on the line. Thankfully it was a simple mistake, the wrong size fuse was used.
This mistake could have been prevented if the installer had a checklist to follow, insuring nothing is overlooked. A check list should be developed around your business. A residential split heat pump system check list will be very different then a commercial roof top packaged unit. A check list for each type of installation should be developed. The check list can be broken down into three sections. Bid/Sale of system, installation of system, and customer sign off. A good place to start the development of the check list is the manufacture’s installation guide.
Bid/Sales check list:
- Will the unit fit? Are there any obstacles, walls, pipes, or size limitations, size of crane needed?
- Thermostat wire: Additional wires may be needed if converting to heat pump, additional stage, or a common wire is needed for the thermostat.
- Supply voltage: Wire size, breakers, phase, and voltage.
- Duct work: In proper working condition, return grill and supply registers properly sized for the system.
- Load calculation of building: Customer wants to keep house cooler. Commercial building has changed design.
- Additional work recommended: If additional work is recommended, but customer does not want the work to be done, there will be documentation of it. An example would be replacing a stamped face return grill with a bar return grill to reduce noise. If the customer complains of a noisy return, there is proof the change was recommended.
Installation check list:
- Inspection of equipment before installation: HP-AC, tons, voltage/phase, refrigerant charge and unit damage
- Purge with nitrogen when brazing
- Leak check and triple evacuation
- Electrical: Breaker and fuse sized correctly
- Thermostat: Common wire, correct reversing valve setup (“O” or “B”). Thermostat programmed
- Transformer set: 208v or 240v
- Duct check: Duct sealed, no kinks, and properly sized
- Condensation: Correct trap used, no sagging of condensation line. External drain pan in proper
It is highly recommended to have an amp probe and manifold gauges connected on startup of all systems! Damage can occur if the compressor does not start or is allowed to run incorrectly even for a short time.
Airflow set correctly: Airflow is never factory set for the job. This must be done at time of installation of equipment. This must be done before refrigerant is adjusted. Magnehelic and manufacture airflow chart is the only way to set airflow.
Refrigerant: Refrigerant can be adjusted only after the airflow has been set. Record any additional refrigerant that has been added for future reference.
Gas equipment: Natural gas or LP
- Leak check
- Gas pressure set at gas valve
- Temperature Rise check and adjustments.
- Flue sized for BTUs
- Final check of system and work area: All areas work clean. Panels on equipment. Tools are accounted for.
Customer sign off check list:
- Communicate with customer on the new system.
- Expectations and reality.
- Operation of system. Stages, run times, noises.
- Thermostat overview
- Work area
Sign off by sales team and installation crew. This provides accountability to each job. Sign off by customer insures job was complete and reviewed before leaving the job.
Once check lists have been developed, lists should be reviewed by the sales team, installation crew, and management on a regular basis. There may be something the sales team may be overlooking that is critical to the installation crew and vice versa. Mistakes happen, but a system of checks and double checks can help eliminate many of them.