All home and business owners need to replace their old, inefficient HVAC systems eventually—that’s inevitable. And even the best maintenance in the world can’t keep HVAC systems forever. Time will come you have to buy a new one.
But where do you start? What are your options?
To ensure that your HVAC system will meet all of your needs while lasting a long time, here’s a list of some factors to consider when purchasing an HVAC system.
Many manufacturers make quality equipment, and for the most part, they get the parts that go into their units from the same vendors that the other manufacturers get their parts from. The most important thing to look for is their warranty and how easy it is to get parts when you need them. Some smaller brands may not have parts available quickly when you really need them. Nobody wants to hear we have to wait ten days for the part to be shipped when it’s 100 degrees!
This is probably more important than which brand you choose. Will it be installed the correct way? Unfortunately, too many contractors take shortcuts that the homeowner may not notice but will affect your energy bills, reliability, and longevity of the equipment, as well as the overall comfort in your home.
Having proper airflow for your heating and cooling system is essential. It’s really pretty simple. We are taking air and either adding heat and humidity to it in the winter or removing heat and moisture in the summer. The easier the air can move through the ductwork, the better the system will perform, and the overall comfort in the home will be at its best. Improving the return air is one of the easiest improvements you could make. Adding return air bases to larger systems and upgrading to better filtration can make great improvements to overall comfort.
This is the cooling capacity of your cooling system. Smaller homes may only need a two ton to properly cool while larger homes may need a four or five ton. Some may need multiple units. Having a properly sized air conditioner is important. Too small of a unit may not cool the home when you really need it but oversizing the unit can also be a problem. If the unit is oversized, it could cool the home well, but it would have high humidity levels, resulting in a sticky, uncomfortable feeling.
The higher the SEER, the less energy it uses to cool the home.
Most higher SEER units also have safety options to help protect the air conditioner and increase the life of the equipment. The higher SEER can be much quieter than the lower SEER units.
Most A/C’s are like this. Unit is either on at 100% capacity or off. It offers less humidity control and has possible inconsistent temps in a home.
Air conditioner runs longer at medium speed using less energy and helps dehumidify your home better. It ramps up to high cooling automatically when needed and improves temperature consistency and humidity levels in the home.
It can vary its speed constantly depending on demand for improved comfort and dehumidification.
Furnaces come in sizes as small as 40,000 BTU up top 140,000 BTU. Having a properly sized furnace is important because it needs to heat your home during the coldest times of the year and not being oversized and short cycling too much during the more mild seasons. Having a properly sized furnace can also help have more consistent temperatures throughout the home.
Furnace efficiency ranges from typically 80% up to 96%, meaning that an 80% furnace uses 80% of your gas for heat, and 20% is wasted or lost. A 96% furnace only loses 4%, and 96% is heated for your home. The 96% furnaces are much quieter than the 80% furnaces.
Most furnaces are like this. The heat is either on at 100% capacity or it is off. They have larger temperature fluctuations and short run times, causing hot and cold spots in the home.
Furnace can run at low heat for longer to improve home temperature consistency and automatically change to high heat when needed. They also enhance humidity in your home.
These units can vary their heating output depending on demand.
Having good air filtration provides you and your family with cleaner air and helps prolong the life of your heating and cooling system. Most homes use the standard one-inch disposable filter.
These are the filters we recommend. These filters do a much better job of filtering the air while improving airflow for the system. You just replace the filter every six months. You never have to worry about individual parts! There are many replacement filter options for these as well. From basic inexpensive filters up to MERV 16 filters with carbon odor control if you like.
These use electronic cells that are charged to trap dirt. They need to be cleaned on a regular basis, are expensive to install and have parts that will eventually need repair or replacement.
There are so many choices but remember this is the main control on your heating and cooling system. Don’t go with the cheapest one you find at the hardware store. An excellent, reliable basic programmable thermostat is all some people need. We really like the EcoBee thermostats with remote temperature sensors. These can monitor temperatures in many areas of your home to help have more even temps throughout your home. They can also help control humidity levels in your home. You can even make adjustments from your phone.
Adding a humidifier to your system will add humidity to the air in the winter, which can reduce dry skin, dry sinuses and reduce static electricity in your home. There are two main types:
There are basic UV lights that help reduce mold and bacteria that tend to grow in your ducts. Some options combine UV light with additional air purification to kill viruses and reduce odors in your home.
Many medium and large homes may have problems with the upstairs being much warmer in the summer than the downstairs. These homes tend to have only one heating and cooling system for both the upstairs and the downstairs. Installing a zone control system would allow the upstairs or downstairs to control its own thermostat. It’s almost like having two separate units for each level. It really can be a great improvement for some homes. Click here to see our page on Zone Control Systems.
If you are looking for a reliable heating and cooling company to install your new furnace or air conditioner, please give us a call at 913-713-5911 for a free in-home quote.