What Do You Need to Consider When Buying an HVAC System?
Buying an HVAC system for your home or business can be confusing. There are so many components to deal with like the furnace, ductwork, heat pump and air conditioning system that it is essential to hire a professional when buying and installing the ideal unit for your needs.
Until then, here are ten things to consider when buying the perfect HVAC system for your home or office.
1- Calculating Your HVAC System Size
The size of your HVAC system will depend on how much space you need to heat or cool. Don’t think that you can just measure the square footage of your space and then buy the biggest sized heater or A/C unit you can afford. Rather, calculating the size of the unit that you need is a complex process that should only be completed by a skilled and experienced heating and air conditioning contractor.
The HVAC unit’s capacity must match the configuration of your home. A contractor will be able to determine your ductwork and heating and A/C requirements for every room in your home or office. Only by doing this due diligence can you be sure to get the best and most affordable system for the space allotted.
2- HVACs Can Have Affordable Prices
There are a variety of HVAC system types, and costs may vary widely, depending on your specific needs. There are split heating and cooling systems, ductless A/C units, and packaged heating and air conditioning combinations or all-in-one units.
A central air conditioning system, for example, can cost as little as $3,500 and as much as $7,600 or more.
Ductless HVAC systems are a little cheaper and range from $3K to $5K or more.
Oil and gas furnaces can range from $4K to $5K while a geothermal heat pump can cost as much as $20K to $27K or more.
Talk to your HVAC contractor to determine the proper size and type of unit for the amount of space you are attempting to heat or cool.
3- Measuring HVAC Heating Capacity
The capacity of a heating system is measured in BTU or British Thermal Units. 1 BTU is the amount of heat required to raise a pound of water by one-degree Fahrenheit. Be aware, however, that your HVAC system capacity may be showing either input or output. Input capacity represents the amount of gas burned (minus any losses due to combustion) while output capacity is how much heat is activated.
When assessing output capacity, you will notice that newer units have smaller input BTU ratings, since they are far more efficient than older units. But, at the same time, more modern HVAC systems tend to have higher BTU output. Make sure you understand the capacity readout before buying.
4- Assessing A/C Capacity
For the air conditioning system, you will want to look for the CFM or cubic feet per minute, which is how many cubic feet of usable air can pass through the system per minute. Also, air conditioning isn’t measured in single BTU like heating units. Instead, air conditioners use Ton. A single Ton is equal to 12,000 British Thermal Units per hour or BTUh.
When assessing the size of your HVAC unit, a skilled contractor will use a complicated measurement, usually ACCA’s Manual J requirements for proper sizing of an HVAC unit. Having the appropriate size is the best way to get efficient heating and air for plenty of savings.
5- System Efficiency Rating
You will also want to look at the efficiency rating system listed on each unit you consider.
There are three types of ratings for HVAC systems.
AFUE or Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency:
Reserved for oil and gas furnaces, this rating indicates that the furnace converts a certain percentage of fuel to heat the space provided. A 98% AFUE rating, for example, means that the HVAC unit converts most of the oil and gas to heat your home or business. Look for furnaces with AFUE ratings of at least 78%.
HSPF or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor:
This rating is for heat pumps. The higher the score, the less energy the system users. The most efficient HVAC pumps have ratings of 13 or higher.
SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio:
This rating measures the efficiency of the HVAC unit overall. A higher rating means the system uses less energy. Look for brands with ratings of at least 30 or higher.
6- Noise Levels
Looking at labels and calculating the size of your HVAC system are essential steps to take but be aware that some systems are noisier than others. It is difficult to assess how loud something might be just by viewing it on a website or seeing it on display in a store. That is why you might want to read online reviews to see if anyone complains that a particular model and size of HVAC unit is extra loud. An overly loud unit may be able to cool your home or business effectively, but you will be mighty annoyed while the system is activated. When buying an HVAC unit, you want to feel comfortable with the level of heating, cooling, and noise. That is why you should make the level of sound a priority when selecting the perfect system for your needs.
7- HVAC Maintenance & Repair
When having a residential or commercial HVAC unit installed, ask the contractor about a regular maintenance plan, such as once yearly. This will ensure that your machine and each component is looked after and updated if need be. You can also be sure that any malfunctions are corrected without harm to the rest of the unit, and so that your unit continues to run as efficiently as possible. Most installers of heating and cooling systems have yearly plans at affordable prices, such as the ones we offer at Hood Builder.
8- Consider Off-Season Shopping for Better Deals
Here’s a pro-tip you might be able to take advantage of. When buying a heating unit, look for great deals in the summertime, when everyone is looking for air conditioners, and vice versa. When a system is in high demand, it is often charged at a higher price. Take advantage of off-season markdowns to save a little cash on your new heater or A/C system.
9- Get Reliable Installation Services
Don’t trust your HVAC buying and installation to just anyone. Only a professional contractor who is experienced with your type of system should be trusted to install your recently purchased HVAC system.
Whether you are buying for a home or office, a skilled HVAC installer will ensure you buy the right size and capacity of unit, and that you get one that is quiet as can be. You can get Energy Star efficient heaters and A/C systems that will keep your energy expenditures low while providing the warmth or cool air you need during the harsher summer and winter months.
Call Now for a Free Quote & Low HVAC Prices
For installation of your HVAC system and to get the best and lowest cost system for your needs, we encourage you to call Hood Builder, now serving clients in Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California.
Call now for a free quote and let’s discuss the heating and air conditioning system you require for your home or office space.