Do you know what to take into consideration before you make an HVAC system upgrade?
Buying a new heating and cooling system is not something you do every day. Heck, it’s not even something you are likely to do once every decade! There are so many options to choose from, AND it is a big investment – making choosing the right one seem like a daunting task.
By arming yourself with a little bit of information before you begin your search, you are already a step ahead. That way, when you go to consult with your local heating and air conditioning contractor, you will know exactly what you expect from your new home comfort system.
If you are buying a new system, you are going to enjoy many benefits offered by modern heating and cooling equipment. Heating and cooling systems installed 10 to 15 years ago were lower in efficiency, didn’t contain much of the comfort technology that is now available AND were not as eco-friendly. Systems designed and manufactured today, even a standard-efficiency model, can be a significant upgrade to your old unit.
Here are some things you should take into consideration before you settle on a system. Each will impact how comfortable your home is and how much you pay in utilities. Remember, any new system is going to be an upgrade from an old one – you can’t lose!
Efficiency. We always recommend buying the most efficient system you can afford. Higher efficiency translates to more money saved each month! So, while it may be a larger initial investment, you won’t regret that as your utility bills roll in each month. Remember, cooling efficiency is measured in SEER for air conditioners and heat pumps, heating efficiency for gas furnaces is measured by AFUE, and heating efficiency for heat pumps is measured using HSPF.
Eco friendliness. Are you looking to lower your impact on the environment? Older units use refrigerant call R-22, CFC that has been shown to have ozone-depleting properties. Cooling systems produced today use a refrigerant called R-410A. This refrigerant is shown to be better for the environment.
Indoor air quality. While you are addressing your new comfort control system, it is important to take a look at what you are using to keep your air fresh. Do you want to reduce odors? Are you looking to have a high-power whole-home filter? Make sure you remember to ask your contractor about your options to help you and your family breathe easier.
Fuel type. Do you need gas, electric or oil heat? This will influence the type of unit that you look into buying. For example, if you do not have natural gas in your home, you may want to consider a heat pump for your home.
Utility rates. Is gas more affordable or is electricity more affordable where you live? If gas is less expensive that electricity, you should look into your gas furnace options. And, if electricity is less expensive than gas, you may want to consider a heat pump. Not only does a heat pump heat your home using electricity, but it does so consuming less energy than other electric heating methods. PLUS, you don’t have to add an air conditioner to the mix – it takes care of the cooling as well.
Know your comfort options. Variable speed. Fixed speed. Multi-stage. Modulating. All of these terms indicate a way that your heating or cooling system operates. For example, a variable-speed unit is going to be able to provide more even temperatures, eliminate hot and cold spots, and operate at lower noise levels than its fixed-speed counterpart.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Make sure you ask your local heating and air conditioning contractor for advice. They will be able to guide you through the buying process and recommend some equipment options for your home.
Are you making an HVAC upgrade? Have you explored your high-efficiency equipment options?