HVAC Electrical Tips

HVAC Electrical Tips

In this article we will talk about tips to help you avoid some of the electrical problems we’ve seen others make when they’re dealing with the electrical and their heating and cooling system.

Hire a professional electrician

Hire a professional electrician and somebody that this is what they do every day and their licensed and insured. Do not have a profession that close to be an electrician and they think they know how to do it because it’s not that hard to them not that big a deal. Every time we’ve seen someone break that rule, there’s an issue or somethings not right code and in some cases something is a safety issue. Even if you think you’re dealing with someone that knows what they’re doing if they’re not a licensed and insured electrician in our opinion you’re making a big mistake. 

Check your electrical component capacity 

If you are replacing your heating and cooling system, the new equipment may have a difference on max fuse amps. That basically what they’re saying is this is the absolute maximum that your protection can be when your breaker can be that your fuses can be. Whatever the case, a lot of times when people upgrade their equipment they don’t realize that capacity may change and you need to be aware of that.  In the old days you might be able to get away with that a little bit. The newer codes say whatever that number is you can’t go above that and it may vary depending on your area. I’m just referencing the current national electric code, some states may not have codes. That you can check with your local electrician and just make sure everything is being done right.

Use the correct wire size

Don’t  limit your wire size, this is one of my biggest mistakes out there. I’ve actually argued with some electricians over this one, I request you’re having the new one installed go ahead. And oversize the wire at least one size, typically if you see something on a double pole 30 amp breaker they might run  10 gauge wire. I’ll go ahead and ask the electrician to go and pull gauge 8 wire for future holds. Let’s just be mindful and there’s also things to consider like reading the wire. There are people out there that don’t even know what that is but your average electrician should know how to do derate wire and make sure everything is size right. The moral of the story is you can oversize the breaker and that system is fed by theory. You can’t oversize the wire, the wire can be too big or small and you’re creating a fire hazard.

Provide dedicated circuit

I would say that most of the stuff that we’re dealing with with heating and cooling, whether it’s the equipment accessories. Whatever is being said by electrical I’ve personally like everything to be on a designated circuit. I know sometimes it’s easier said than done but I’d mean everything down to the smallest equipment, down to the receptacle beside the outdoor unit.  If you have one out there, I want everything to be on a designated circuit. Some codes are even requiring that these days, I have seen people break that rule before. We had equipment a few years ago, we were just being our head against the wall and had a bunch of issues. One of the things we end up finding out is the equipment was not in the designated circuit which was creating some of these issues.  Seriously the equipment itself, any accessories anything that you’re being fed with electrical, it’s not like in your home where you could have 10 different lights for different fixtures all in one breaker. I would want to see all of these components have a designated circuit for that equipment.

Add power outlet near the equipment 

Another thing I like to request from the electrician all in the matter, what I like is for them to go ahead pull power and have a receptacle by the indoor and outdoor unit for proper future maintenance. Its nice to have a power near the units, you don’t have to stretch a cord. Everything needs to be done right, so whether it’s you have to plug in a vacuum pump at the outdoor unit or plug in a shop vac at the indoor unit. Whatever you’re doing it’s nice to go ahead and get that out-of-the-way. If they provide it, that makes things a lot easier in the future, especially if I have an electrician already pulling power to the outdoor unit. I’ll go ahead and request that as long as the homeowner is fine with it. I requested these for years and I think some codes are finally catching up. Most of the people in this industry requested that but now we’re seeing codes being adopted that require that.

Don’t let electrician touch your equipment

Don’t let your electrician touch the heating and cooling equipment, this might be just something some electrician might see and say you’re too much. Again the first one was to hire an actual electrician to install everything from the panel to the disconnect at the indoor outdoor unit. Then after that disconnect I you should have your heating and cooling professional take care of everything. By doing this, no one to point fingers and everything’s get done as it should. Please make sure no corners are being cut and the second thing if they were to be an issue you know who you can go to. Ultimately when I have an electrician do wiring I will tell them you know you can just pull the wire and I’ll set the disconnect or you set the disconnect. It doesn’t matter but after that disconnect everything should be mine. Don’t touch my equipment, the story that I wanted to tell you is that a year ago we had a customer and he had a unit that actually had caught on fire inside of the air handler. Luckily the house didn’t burn and it wasn’t that big a deal other than the odor it created in the house. When we opened the cover of that air handler it looked like fire inside of that unit had burned everything up. I mean everything was burned, I started doing some investigation and found out.  The wire going to the air handler was fed by a breaker that was oversized, they had actually had a sub panel near the air handler and they came off that sub panel with a 100 amp double pole breaker. Then they got over to the air handler, they took the two circuits supplemental heat required and piggyback them inside. That’s a red plug, you can’t do that you’re not actually protecting that equipment. There’s a reason why the equipment is required for a designated 60 amp circuit and then possibly a 30 amp circuit you can’t just combine it and have it fed by a 90 amp breaker. You have to protect the equipment for the size that it’s required, with the homeowner remembering who the heating and air company was years ago and going out of her way to just go ahead and contact them about the issue that we had found. They of course blamed it on the electrician which I thought was odd to start with. That’s why I mentioned again I would not want the electrician touching my equipment. The electrician takes care of the panel disconnect and everything after will be our responsibility.


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