Regardless of the season, you need a reliable heating and cooling system to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Before you think about replacing your HVAC system, there are things you should know. It is an important investment that should last at least 10 to 15 (and up to 25) years and will greatly affect your utility bills. If you thought that just going into the store or ordering a unit online is the easiest and best way to choose your A/C unit, you are in for a surprise. Buying and installing an A/C unit It is not as simple as it seems.
Do you need to replace your current A/C system?
The first thing you should consider is, of course, do you really need to get a brand new HVAC system. If your current A/C system frequently needs repairs, experiences declining performance, or if your utility bills are increasing, you probably need a change.
You could try fixing your current A/C system by replacing or improving certain parts, but quick fixes are likely to cost you more in the long run. By replacing small parts and patching up your current, older unit, you are merely prolonging the inevitable. Calling customer support to assist you every time an old HVAC unit acts up will cost you dearly and cause unneeded headaches. Newer A/C systems are designed to last longer than older models and come with warranties that guarantee hassle-free operation for a long period of time. A quick fix is rarely a permanent solution.
Select a system suitable for your home
We always recommend hiring a certified HVAC professional to recommend the ideal A/C system for you and your home. By taking measurements of your home’s interior and inspecting your attic’s insulation, an expert will be able to suggest a perfect solution for your needs. You can explain exactly what you are looking for and what kind of cooling and heating system aligns with your budget. Things you should know:
When an HVAC contractor comes to your house, the contractor should not simply guess which A/C system is ideal for your home. Instead, insist on a full evaluation of your property, including ducts, window fixtures, and insulation.
The size of your A/C unit is very important. Choosing a unit that is too large will cause the air conditioner to cycle on and off frequently, which will cost you more on electric bills. Furthermore, an A/C unit’s performance will start failing sooner than expected and you will have to go through the whole process again.
When talking about system size, you will hear a contractor mention “tons.” A/C systems use ‘’tons’’ as a standard measurement. For reference, one ton is equal to the amount of cooling obtained from melting one ton of ice.
Select an efficient system
New A/C systems must be more energy efficient that older models and must obtain a minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 13. While much more efficient than previous A/C units, systems with a score is 13 just meet the minimum efficiency required, and other units offer higher efficiency for only a slightly higher price. We recommend finding an A/C unit that meets Energy Star standards. Although they are more expensive, the increased performance will save you money on your utility bills for the next 20 years and won’t require frequent repairs.
Before you start thinking about the price and the features of your new unit, you should determine the size of the A/C system you need for your home. You should also consider where you would like to install your units. Your HVAC contractor should help you with this aspect by suggesting the best systems for your budget.
13 SEER is the minimal rate for an A/C system. You should ideally choose a unit that is above that rate, though. Higher rates mean higher prices, but also higher energy bill savings.
Check the filter location. If you already know where you are going to place your A/C, check if the filter location is convenient.
Look for a system with intelligent cooling and heating. The newer units have many smart features so you can control them with your smartphone.
Check the warranty. Do not forget to check the warranty. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s important to have just in case. Also, it’s a good way to tell how durable the unit will be. Does the manufacturer believe in this product enough to offer a long warranty?
Remember that your air conditioning system and your furnace use the same air ducts. Make sure your new air conditioner is compatible with your current heating system.
Ask local HVAC experts for advice. They should be able to explain everything you need to know and respond to every question you have regarding your new air conditioning unit.
The newest HVAC technology
The latest HVAC systems offer higher efficiency and on-board diagnostics designed to determine any heating and cooling inefficiencies. Regulations are currently being upgraded in order to provide safer refrigerants.
Things you should know:
There are many innovative air cleaners that work alongside your A/C unit to make your indoor air quality significantly better. Ask your HVAC professional is a humidifier or electrostatic air filter is right for your home.
The newest systems contain advanced options that allow you to control your home’s temperature right from your smartphone, even when you’re away. You will never have to wonder whether you left your A/C on when you are out of town. You can also program the time you expect to come home and have the A/C unit turn on early enough so that your home is at the appropriate temperature by the time you arrive.
If you have a home with little or no ductwork, you can still install a central air conditioning system by using a ductless mini-split system. These high efficiency systems offer the ability to cover only the critical parts of your home.
Select a qualified HVAC professional
Choosing the right HVAC contractor for you is just as important as choosing the right HVAC system. This person should advise you through the buying and installation process. Ask your neighbors, friends, and family for recommendations.
Remember that replacing your heating and cooling system is not a task you should take for granted. Choosing a good contractor and A/C unit will affect the comfort of your home for many years ahead. When you’re ready to replace your air conditioning system, make sure to follow these steps.