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HVAC Installation 101: An Interview with Karen McCafferty of Sterling Mechanical Services, Inc.

By Karen McCafferty

Tell us a little bit about your company, its foundation, and the services you offer?

Jim McCafferty founded Sterling Mechanical Services, Inc in 2001. His background in the heating and air conditioning industry began when he started working for a residential oil company in the early 90's. To supplement his income he founded his company and ran it part time. In 2002 he took the business full time. Sterling does residential and light commercial HVAC sales, installation, service and maintenance. We also offer plumbing services as well.

Can you describe in brief the major components of an HVAC system?

  • Duct work (in the walls)
  • Condenser (outdoor unit) contains the compressor which is the refrigerant pump
  • Evaporator (inside the house)

Please discuss in brief the significance of having a fully functional HVAC system in one's home?

When spending time at home people are much happier when they are comfortable. In the winter nothing feels better than coming in from the cold. In the spring and fall being inside the house is often a refuge from allergens (if the house is equipped with a whole house air cleaner). Air conditioning provides relief from blistering sun and oppressive humidity in the summer. Keeping your HVAC syetem in good working condition provides a comfortable environment all year 'round.

What are the advantages of hiring a professional to do the installation of an HVAC system?

Safety comes to mind as the first answer. There are many components of proper installation that are specialties that the average person would not have knowledge of. Also there are tools required to execute technical specifics (such as knowing how to size units for proper operation requires a software program). Suppliers don't generally provide heating equipment to the do-it-your-selfer and homeowners aren't legally permitted to handle the refrigerants required for air conditioning systems. . While there are many things a handy person can do, the HVAC field requires many skills that only a trained professional possesses in order to ensure a safe installation.

What are the steps involved in installing an HVAC System?

  • Assess the home to determine sizing.
  • Cut holes in rooms to provide access for duct work.
  • Install duct work.
  • Connect to major components.

What do you advise homeowners in terms of maintaining their HVAC system?

  • Keeping filters changed/clean
  • Annual maintenance checks of air conditioning systems and oil fired heating systems
  • Regular maintenance checks of gas heating systems

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Our phone number is 215-661-0433 or email karen@sterlingmechanicalservices.com

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