As a homeowner, you often find yourself in the position of having to make significant decisions when upgrading or replacing appliances. These decisions can feel overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. If you think it’s time to buy new HVAC equipment, but you are worried about paying too much or buying the wrong kind of unit, take time to review the trouble spots below. When you do your homework and know what to look for, you can save yourself hassles and headaches.
These are 12 mistakes people generally make when buying a new HVAC unit.
Two common misconceptions are that a larger HVAC unit will be more effective, while a smaller one will save money. The truth is that the best system in terms of price, performance and efficiency is the one that is sized correctly for your home and your energy needs.
An HVAC unit that is too large will use more power than a properly sized one, so it will cost more to operate without cooling or heating your home any better or faster. Similarly, a system that is too small for your home will have to work harder to bring each room to the correct temperature, putting excess wear and tear on the unit while simultaneously running less efficiently than it should. Trained HVAC professionals like the team at Maichle’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing will be able to survey your home and calculate the correct size before providing an estimate.
If your HVAC hasn’t been working properly, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you need to purchase an entirely new system. Instead, check with a reputable company to see if it’s possible to repair your existing unit. Qualified HVAC technicians can repair many common issues for a fraction of the cost.
However, in older homes or those with obsolete systems, it may be less expensive to buy new equipment. The lifespan of the average HVAC system is around 10 to 15 years, so if your unit is showing signs of age, you can expect to need a replacement. Still, it is always worth checking to see if there is an easier or less expensive option before you take the plunge and purchase a new unit. Learn more about routine HVAC maintenance.
When choosing new HVAC equipment, its energy efficiency is an essential consideration, because it will greatly affect the system’s ability to keep you and your family comfortable in your home. Lower monthly utility bills can help defray the price of the unit over its lifetime, so don’t neglect to factor that into your purchasing decision.
Look for two things: Energy Star-rated products and a number called the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. According to government standards, a SEER of 13 is the minimum, while a SEER of 16 or above is energy-efficient. A good rule of thumb is to buy the most efficient system you can afford. Though it will cost you more up front, it will save money in the long run.
Even a top-of-the-line HVAC system will not perform well without proper installation. An experienced HVAC company with a commitment to quality will ensure the system you choose is not only the best one for your needs, but also that its installation will maximize efficiency and performance to increase the lifespan of the equipment.
While the up-front price tag is a crucial consideration, the purchase price of a new HVAC system is only one part of the equation that determines its total lifetime cost. You’ll need to factor in operating costs as well. Features that maximize performance and are more environmentally friendly can save you a lot of money in the long run, and their long-term benefits can far outweigh their initial cost.
If you had your heart set on a specific make and model of HVAC equipment, but assumed it was out of reach because of its cost, think again. HVAC manufacturers, utility companies and even the government often offer money-back rebates for buyers who purchase higher-efficiency models, potentially putting a higher-tier system within your budget.
As with any major purchase, it can be smart to shop around. After all, installation and equipment pricing can vary among HVAC companies. Be sure to consider the total package when evaluating estimates. The lowest price may turn out not to be your best bet. And, if a company doesn’t offer up-front pricing, consider going with a different service provider to avoid hidden costs.
Often, people get so wrapped up in the urgency of replacing their old system that they fail to ask important questions. However, since HVAC equipment can be such a significant investment, you owe it to yourself to do your research on this purchase. Ask how long it will take to install the unit, if there is a warranty or maintenance plan included and what supplementary purchases you might need to add, such as a new thermostat or filters. Ask how long the unit should last and if it is a good fit for your region’s climate.
Did you realize indoor air quality can be significantly worse than the air you breathe outdoors? Your ability to breathe easily in your home can lower your family’s standard of living, especially if anyone in your household has allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems. When you install a new system, make sure you choose a unit that won’t adversely affect the air quality in your home, and learn how to take good care of it so you can keep more pollutants and allergens outside.
If your ductwork is dirty or damaged, installing a new HVAC unit is only part of the story. Have you noticed some rooms are consistently warmer or colder than others? Often, this problem has more to do with blocked ductwork than with the heating and cooling system. Before you go through with a full HVAC replacement, have your ducts checked.
No one wants to have to make a snap decision when their HVAC system gives up. If you know you will need to replace your unit within the next year or so, start shopping. The more time you allow yourself to decide, the more likely you’ll be satisfied with your purchase and won’t have buyer’s remorse. Being a proactive shopper also allows you to take advantage of any seasonal specials that might come up throughout the year to help you get the best deal.
The last thing you want is to have poor installation damage or compromise your new unit. Before you hire a contractor to replace your HVAC, check for online reviews and referrals to make sure you’re getting professional services. Also, ask the contractor if they provide routine maintenance, so you know ahead of time who to call for tune-ups.
A new HVAC system has a major impact on the comfort and value of your home. Don’t take the decision lightly, and steer clear of these “rookie mistakes.” Of course, the best place to start is by choosing a trusted, reputable HVAC company to explain your options and guide you through the entire purchasing process. At Maichle’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing, we have provided high-quality service to customers in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania since 1984. If it’s time to replace your HVAC equipment, contact us to get started.