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Heating & Air Conditioning Buying Guide

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What to Know When Purchasing a Heating & Air Conditioning System

Heating and air conditioning equipment is the largest energy user in your home. That’s why it’s important to know what efficiency, warranty and financing options are available to you before investing in new equipment. Our Energy & Comfort Consultants will help you find the best system for your home and budget, whether you’re looking for a high-efficiency system or a more budget-friendly option.

If you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, it may be time for a system upgrade.

  • Are your heating and cooling bills higher than they used to be?
  • Does your heating and air conditioning system breakdown often?
  • Does the furnace short-cycle (consistently turn off and on) in the winter?
  • Does the air conditioner or heat pump continuously run in the summer?
  • Do you notice any rooms in your home that are always too hot or too cold?
  • Is the heating or cooling system too noisy?

Contact us today to speak with a professional about buying heating and air conditioning equipment.

What to Consider When Buying Heating and Air Conditioning Equipment

Before making a final buying decision, it’s important to take the following factors into consideration.

  • Type: Not every home requires the same heating or cooling equipment for optimal comfort and efficiency. Therefore, you must determine what kind of HVAC equipment is most appropriate for your home. For heating, options include furnaces and boilers; for cooling, options include a central air conditioning unit; and for combined cooling and heating equipment, consider a heat pump.
  • Fuel Source: Electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and geothermal energy are the primary heating and cooling fuel sources. The type of fuel your home uses affects your equipment options, efficiency ratings, and your monthly energy bill.
  • Size: The size of your system can have a significant impact on your comfort. A unit that is too large is prone to short-cycling, which can shorten the system’s life. If a unit is too small, it will run constantly and have difficulty satisfying your comfort needs.
  • Warranty: A manufacturer warranty provides parts and labor coverage in the event of an equipment malfunction. A warranty can also provide invaluable peace of mind.
  • Accessories: Programmable thermostats, whole-house humidifiers, whole-house air cleaners, duct cleaning and carbon monoxide detectors can enhance the health effects, safety, and efficiency of your equipment.

Your heating and air conditioning system is responsible for keeping your family comfortable. On a chilly winter night, you rely on the warmth of your furnace, boiler, or heat pump to keep you comfortable. And on a scorching summer day, you rely on the cool air from your air conditioning unit. Will your new heating and air conditioning system offer the reliable comfort you need? There are several comfort issues to consider when choosing your equipment.

  • Customization: Is it easy to customize your comfort level with the equipment you’re considering? Having the ability to fully control your heating and cooling system is essential.
  • Noise Level: Heating and cooling systems should not impact the peaceful lifestyle you maintain inside your home.
  • Air Quality: Because air quality can have a direct impact on health, investing in equipment that meets or exceeds air quality standards is important.

Recent technological improvements in the HVAC industry have improved the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment. New central air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers can keep you comfortable while reducing operating costs. When it’s time to upgrade to a high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system, it’s important to know and understand equipment efficiency ratings. We’ve outlined some of the most common efficiency ratings below.

Cooling Efficiency Ratings:

  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is the measure of energy efficiency for air conditioners and the cooling mode of heat pumps. The SEER rating indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. The higher the SEER rating means the greater the energy savings potential. The minimum government standard for SEER is 13.

Heating Efficiency Ratings:

  • AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is the measure of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces or boilers. The AFUE rating indicates the efficiency of the system in converting its fuel source to heat over the course of a typical year. For example, an AFUE rating of 90% means that 90% of the fuel is being utilized to heat your home and the remaining 10% is wasted. The minimum government standard for AFUE is 78%.
  • HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is the measure of energy efficiency for the heating mode of heat pumps. The HSPF rating indicates the efficiency of the system in converting electricity into heat. The higher the HSPF rating means the greater the energy savings potential. The minimum government standard for HSPF is 7.7.

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