ACCA, or the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, is a code regulation designed by HVAC (Heat Vent Air Conditioning) specialists for use by contractors who build structures. As an early reminder, we are not HVAC specialists, and we are not code inspectors – no home inspector can or does verify adherence to any set of codes, for more information see the article on Code Compliance.
The guidelines largely address how buildings must be designed and constructed for the best implementation of air handling systems than about the air handling systems themselves, however all factors are addressed. While it may seem simple enough to build a home first, then hire someone to come in and cut out holes for AC ducts – there are many reasons why this is a poor approach and why having guidance from technical experts is important.
First and foremost – the structure of a home is intended to safely carry the weight of the building, the roof, snow load, furniture, storage, and people. If contractors didn’t consider things like HVAC – they might build load bearing walls between every room, and your HVAC installer would have to cut out studs in those walls for ducts to pass through. This presents a safety issue when support members are removed, or a financial issue when the wall has to be re-engineered.
Another reason for HVAC codes to be written for construction contractors is efficiency. For a quick and simple example – if a utility room is built at the far end of a house instead of a central location – the system will have to expend more energy to push air farther through ducts and rooms that are farther away will not enjoy the same temperature as other rooms. Which leads to health issues, condensation and moisture issues, sound pollution, and so many other considerations that the ACCA has thoughtfully addressed guidance for!
While these are recommendations, some jurisdictions have implemented the ACCA to have force of law. The person to best address these concerns is a licensed HVAC specialist, or even a licensed engineer or new construction designer on their team who specializes in designing the systems over maintaining them.
Too long, didn’t read version: ACCA helps different professionals work together to create the best house for occupants.
-Marshall Tramp, CPI, RMP
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