Your Guide to Buying the Right HVAC System for Your Home
HVAC, or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, is designed to provide heating and cooling to a certain space. It’s heating element typically refers to a boiler or furnace system, the ventilation element can be forced or natural, and of course, the air conditioning is for heat removal.
Besides being widely used in commercial buildings, it’s also popular for residential property to ensure proper ventilation or great air quality indoors. Basically, this system works by exchanging or replacing stale air and foul odors with better air quality.
If your home still doesn’t have this kind of system or you’re thinking of replacing your old one, check out this guide. Listed below are the most important things to consider in choosing the right HVAC system to purchase.
Check the heating and cooling qualities.
When purchasing a new HVAC system, check its heating and cooling capacity. This is usually measured by the British Thermal Unit or BTU. Ask the HVAC technician or seller about the system’s BTU ratings. Ideally, since new units generate more heat and more efficient, they have more BTU output and smaller input. Units with high BTU ratings have a greater heating capacity.
As for choosing the right size, it’s better to let your HVAC contractor do it for you. Such a task involves complex measurements and considerations. A good contractor will first inspect your house before sizing a system for you. If you notice that they just based their sizing on square footage, better find another contractor to hire.
The contractor should also perform a load calculation to determine the right unit size for your home. This is done by matching the thermal qualities of your home with the cooling capacity. Other factors to consider include the house’s size, directional orientation, roof material, climate zone, and even the number of appliances.
Seeking professional help will avoid future problems. For instance, if you got a unit that’s too big, you’ll just be inflating your utility bill and wasting energy. On the other hand, an HVAC system that’s too small won’t be able to cool your house properly.
Check the energy efficiency level.
Heating and air technicians also suggest checking the energy efficiency level of the HVAC system you’re planning to buy.
For the air-conditioning part, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER of the unit should be high. This means that the unit is energy efficient, allowing you to have a low energy bill. Ideally, new air conditioners should have at least a SEER rating of 14 to 20, the minimum allowable efficiency.
Please take note, though, that high-efficiency models or those with 14+ ratings typically cost a bit more. The good thing is, you will be able to save more money and energy in the long run.
While SEER is for air conditioning, Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is the standard metric for furnaces. The same rules apply. The higher the AFUE percentage is, the more energy-efficient the furnace is. A good rating is 90% and above. To get the best value for your money, opt for an HVAC system with at least 95% or above AFUE.
Buy a unit when it’s off-season.
Many homeowners shop for a new heating system during summer and get an air-conditioning system during the winter months. But this isn’t always a good thing to do. Summer and winter are months where homes use their HVAC unit the most. In turn, many companies are also busy selling new units. The bad news here is, sellers are less likely to give discounts and sales during such seasons.
To avoid the shopping rush and save a few bucks, buy a new unit during spring and fall. These months are when people are not hustling to buy an HVAC system, and sellers have tons of unsold units in their shop. This time is when sales and discounts are likely to appear since most sellers are desperate to move stock quickly.
Furthermore, many heating and cooling technicians also offer discounted installation, repair, and maintenance services during the off-season since most of them aren’t busy on callouts. Take advantage of this and save a few more bucks.
But apart from cost-savings, buying a unit during off-season also provides you with great convenience. For instance, if you have your air-conditioning replaced during summer, you likely need to wait for a few weeks to get it installed since most contractors are also busy with other clients. Surely, you don’t want to suffer from the summer heat for that long.
Shopping for a new HVAC unit requires smart decisions and help from experts. In doing that, you can get the right system that will provide you with consistent comfort for a longer time. Consider all the tips in this guide, and avoid a bad, costly decision.