How to Choose the Right System for Your Home: HVAC Buying Guide
When it comes time to purchase a new HVAC system, you may feel overwhelmed. Not only are there so many confusing terms to understand, but there are numerous types of furnaces and air conditioning systems. Making matters worse, most people are thrust into this situation on a cold winter morning after discovering that their HVAC system is not working or has been red-tagged.
Making the right choice for your home can make a significant difference to not only your family’s comfort over the next 15 years or so but also your energy consumption and, consequently, your energy bills. As one of the most significant factors on your utility bills, you’ll want to choose a system that is energy efficient and easy to maintain.
If you are thinking that a new HVAC unit is in your near future, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Repairing vs Replacing
While most HVAC issues can be repaired, it is not always the best course of action. For example, replacing a cracked heat exchanger may cost $3000, but you can occasionally get a whole new system for not much more than that. If your existing system is more than 12 years old, it might be time to stop sinking money into repairs and opt for a new system that is also likely to be problem-free and be backed by an extended warranty. Most HVAC systems last 15-20 years, but after about 12 years, repairs are more frequent and tend to be more costly.
Other things to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace are the issues you’re experiencing or the components that are breaking down. A thermostat that needs frequent adjusting might indicate problems with your compressor or condenser, which is a pricy repair. If the air in your home feels stuffy or humid, this, too, is a significant issue. If your energy consumption is increasing, that too is a sign of serious problems. Mechanical issues like noises that occur during start-up or running might be a simple fix addressed during a quick maintenance appointment.
Evaluate your frequency and cost of repairs, your current energy bills and your system’s efficiency to determine whether it’s better to repair or replace. Remember that today’s technology means more efficient systems, and lower energy bills every month.
If you’ve decided to buy a new HVAC unit, there are a few essential factors to consider:
Ductwork – Does your home have ductwork installed? If it does, you will have more options available to you. If it does not, you’ll want to investigate having your home retrofitted with new ductwork or investigate ductless systems. Some of the latest ductless systems are the most energy-efficient models on the market.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) – A unit’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) identifies an HVAC system’s efficiency for an entire system. Think of it as similar to a vehicle’s MPG or KM/L rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit is. Not only will this help you save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint, but it will keep your home more comfortable.
Several factors around your home affect a system’s efficiency, including insulation, windows, home size and existing ductwork. A licensed HVAC technician can help you determine the right size and unit for your home.
Warranties & Licencing – The purchase of a new HVAC system is an investment. Purchase a reputable brand and have it installed by a licensed HVAC technician. Furnaces and air conditioning systems are not a DIY project! Your HVAC provider can set you up with a maintenance and service plan to help you get the most out of your unit, extend its lifespan and ensure you retain your warranty coverage.
Reliable Home Environment is Ottawa’s trusted HVAC supplier. Whether you are dealing with a red-tagged furnace, maintenance issues or simply have questions, you can count on Reliable Home Environment for service with experience, know-how and integrity. We will find the best HVAC solution for your situation and work with you for a quick resolution to all your home comfort issues.