Investment in an energy-efficient HVAC upgrade can reduce utility bills and improve air quality – so if you are considering one this year, here are a few helpful tips that may come in handy. Installing a new HVAC system is a decision worth making, increasing resale value and creating an enjoyable living environment for current and future residents. Curious about central air installation but not sure about the cost? Autumn Air Heating and Cooling has everything you need for your next home upgrade.
Understand your current system
Understanding your current HVAC system involves assessing a variety of factors instrumental in making an informed decision about what type of upgrade will best suit your needs. These factors include:
- Type of system: Do you have a split, packaged, or heat pump system? The type of system you currently have may influence your upgrade choices.
- Capacity of your system: Capacity refers to the system’s ability to cool or heat your home. It’s measured in tons for cooling and BTUs (British Thermal Units) for heating. An undersized or oversized system can lead to efficiency issues.
- Age of your system: HVAC systems roughly last 15-20 years before it may be time for an upgrade. If yours has reached this age range, now may be an opportune moment to consider its replacement.
- Energy efficiency: Check the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), or HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) ratings of your existing system to understand its energy efficiency.
- Maintenance history: Regularly maintained HVAC systems often perform more efficiently and have longer lifespans. Keep track of your system’s maintenance log, as it may guide your upgrade decisions.
Energy-efficient HVAC systems provide significantly lower energy consumption, which helps to lessen utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some things to consider before you invest.
Energy Star ratings: Look for HVAC systems that have an Energy Star label. This label means that the product meets or exceeds federal standards for energy efficiency.
High SEER, AFUE, and HSPF ratings: Systems with high SEER, AFUE, and HSPF ratings are more energy-efficient. They consume less energy for the same level of performance compared to low-rated systems.
Advanced features: Certain HVAC systems come equipped with energy-saving features, including variable speed motors, two-stage compressors and smart thermostats that adjust temperatures according to usage patterns.
Proper sizing: An appropriately sized HVAC system operates more efficiently. A too-big or too-small system for your home can lead to energy waste.
Installation: Proper installation is crucial for maintaining energy efficiency. Improperly installed HVAC systems can consume more energy. Therefore, ensure you hire a reliable, experienced professional for the installation.
Shop around for multiple quotes
Before making a commitment to an HVAC upgrade, it’s vital that you get multiple estimates in order to find the most cost-effective option for you and your investment. Here’s how.
Reach out to various HVAC contractors: Make a list of reputable HVAC contractors in your area and reach out to each one for an estimate. This will give you a broader understanding of the pricing landscape and what each contractor offers.
Consider the scope: Each contractor might offer different scopes of work in their quote. Be sure to understand what is included in each quote, whether it’s just installation or if it includes ongoing maintenance or warranty.
Quality vs. Price: The cheapest quote doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option. Evaluate the quality of equipment and services each contractor provides. A slightly more expensive system might be more cost-effective in the long run due to higher-quality parts and better energy efficiency.
Ask for detailed quotes: A good quote should detail the costs for labor, equipment, and any extra services. This transparency can help prevent unexpected costs down the line.
Review and compare: Once you have all the quotes, review and compare them side by side. This will help you decide on the best contractor for your HVAC upgrade.
Schedule a pre-installation evaluation
Scheduling a pre-installation evaluation is a crucial step before any HVAC upgrade. This helps ensure the proposed system is correctly sized and tailored to your home’s needs. During the evaluation, a professional can identify any potential issues that might affect the system’s performance, such as air leakage, inadequate insulation, or ductwork problems. This proactive approach can prevent costly adjustments after installation, maximize efficiency, and ensure optimal operating conditions for your new system.