HVAC Buyers Guide

There are several factors to consider when purchasing a heating and air conditioning system. These include:

  1. Home comfort aspects such as temperature and air quality: Consider how different systems will impact the temperature, energy use, and air quality in your home. You may want to research options like adding a UV light to the HVAC system to improve indoor air quality or using a HEPA air filter system to prevent allergens from entering your home.
  2. Efficiency level: HVAC systems have become more efficient over time, and rating scales like the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF), Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) are used to measure their effectiveness.
  3. Size: It’s important to choose the right size system for your home. A system that is too large will cycle too frequently, reducing its lifespan and potentially decreasing comfort and indoor air quality. A professional HVAC contractor can help you determine the appropriate size system for your home, taking into account factors like tree protection, sun exposure, insulation, square footage, and ceiling height.
  4. Capacity: BTUs (British Thermal Units) are used to gauge an HVAC system’s capacity. Generally, a higher BTU rating means a higher capacity.
  5. Compatibility with programmable thermostats: Make sure the system you choose can be used with a modern, programmable thermostat. This allows you to manage the heating and cooling system from anywhere, and can help you save energy and extend the lifespan of the unit. Some systems can even be controlled through a smartphone from any location, while others can be controlled through a cable in different areas of the home.
  6. Indoor air quality components: Many HVAC systems come with indoor air quality add-ons like humidifiers and efficient air filter systems. When installing or upgrading an HVAC unit, many contractors offer discounts on these extras.
  7. Maintenance: If you want your HVAC system to perform at its best, consider investing in a low maintenance system. When negotiating the cost of installation, think about negotiating a service package as well that includes regular inspections, discounted repairs, and a warranty.
  8. Noise: The noise level of an HVAC system can vary depending on its design and installation location. To ensure the system you choose is suitable for your home and your tolerance for noise, speak with an expert HVAC contractor.
  9. Price: While budget is an important consideration, it’s also important to take durability and energy efficiency into account when choosing an HVAC system. In the long run, the savings on electricity and maintenance costs from choosing the right capacity and a good quality unit may outweigh the initial cost.
  10. Warranties: Consider the warranties offered by manufacturers and contractors. A warranty can save you time, money, and hassle if anything goes wrong. When purchasing new, a default warranty often covers some parts and repairs. Be sure to carefully review the terms of the warranty to understand what is and is not covered.
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