Tips for Selecting a New HVAC System

How to Choose an HVAC System?

Replacing existing heating and cooling units can be a challenge, as there are many options to examine when you shop for a new HVAC system. The options may feel overwhelming if you aren’t familiar with how to choose an HVAC system, which makes choosing the right system for your home difficult. Once you narrow down the types of HVAC systems available, all the heat pumps, furnaces, air conditioners, boilers, and ductless mini split units need to be evaluated for SEER and AFUE efficiency ratings, fuel type, brand, and other features!

Choosing a new air conditioner, furnace, heat pump or other type of new HVAC system doesn’t have to be confusing – turn to your trusted, local HVAC contractor for assistance! Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is Louisville’s preferred heating and cooling company and we are always happy to help you compare heating or cooling system equipment for purchase and installation at your home. Below, find the most important aspects to evaluate as you compare HVAC systems for your house.

Different Heating and Cooling System Types

There is no right HVAC system that is a perfect fit for all homeowners, as each family and home’s needs are different. Units like furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, boilers, and ductless units can all meet the needs of a home, but certain attributes will make one type of equipment preferable over the others.

Before you dive deep into comparing system features and ratings, first determine the type of new HVAC system you would like to buy. This will help you narrow down the pool of systems you need to browse and compare.

  • If your house has a good duct system that can be reused, it’s probably most practical to choose a new HVAC unit of the same type as the current one. Central air conditioning and forced air heat split systems can be configured with a central air conditioner and furnace or a heat pump that will heat and cool the home’s air.
  • Fuel types can impact your choice of HVAC system, as energy costs impact your ability to save money long-term. If your home is already connected to natural gas lines or you have the option to install them, it may make sense to replace your old oil or propane furnace or boiler with a new natural gas model as the cost of natural gas is much lower than other fuel sources like oil, propane, and even electricity.
  • If you plan to use a heat pump to heat and cool your Louisville house, what sort of backup heating system do you need to keep warm with energy efficient operation even when the outdoor temperature dips too cool? Gas furnaces and electric heat strips are possible choices.
  • For homes that don’t have ducts, cannot have ductwork installed, or if you simply don’t want to pay the cost of new ductwork installation, ductless systems may be your best choice. A ductless mini split system can be configured with multiple units for whole house heating and cooling.
  • When only one new area or a small space requires cooling or heat, adding a single ductless mini split is more affordable than extending ducts and upgrading central air conditioning units and furnaces or heat pumps to provide a comfortable climate in the new space, in addition to the rest of the home.

Finding the Right HVAC System Size

Size matters most when shopping for new HVAC systems and finding a perfect fit is critical. Purchasing a new air conditioner, furnace, boiler, or heat pump that is too big or too small for the house results in higher costs to buy, operate, and replace the unit.

For heating and air conditioning units, size doesn’t mean the size of the house or the size of the physical equipment. Size refers to the ability of an HVAC system to add or remove heat for cooled or heated air inside the home. The best way to find out what size your new air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump should be is to call a local HVAC contractor for help.

If you search air conditioner or furnace sizing online, you’ll find calculators that claim to share the right size for a new unit in your home, for free! However, you should really avoid using these tools as they will not provide you with a reliable size. Most only want to know the home’s square footage before spitting out sizing information, when in fact, sizing HVAC systems requires so much more!

Schedule an appointment for your HVAC company to send a contractor out to your house and perform necessary heating and cooling load calculations. These calculations incorporate all types of home elements that affect how much indoor heating or cooling will be needed to maintain a comfortable climate, such as ceiling height, exposure, number of windows, construction materials, and more! The only way to ensure you find the perfect size for your new HVAC installation is to have a local contractor visit your home.

What to Consider When Choosing the Right HVAC System for Your Home

When you check out the specs on any air conditioning unit, furnace, or other heating or cooling unit, you’ll be faced with a lot of information. All these qualities will impact purchase cost, operating costs, air quality, and indoor comfort. Below, see the most important elements you should consider before you decide on new furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, or air conditioners for a home.

Fuel Source

Air conditioners and heat pump systems utilize electricity only, so their SEER ratings will not be impacted by varying energy sources. Heating systems are available for use with multiple fuels, including heating oil, propane, natural gas, and electricity. Some energy sources provide more energy efficient heat than others, some will increase the cost of installation versus others.

Think about the energy sources you have access to at home, whether they are already installed or you have the option to go ahead with installation should you choose to convert. Adding equipment like gas lines to facilitate installation of a new HVAC system that uses a different fuel than your existing system will increase the cost, but it may pay off should you move to a system that has a cheaper energy source and offers more energy efficient performance.

Energy Efficient Performance

How energy efficient HVAC systems are is shared using specific acronyms.

  • Seasonal energy efficiency ratio SEER shares the cooling efficiency of air conditioners and heat pump cooling systems.
  • HSPF stands for heating seasonal performance factor, which shares how energy efficient heat pump systems heat.
  • Annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE represents the heating efficiency of a furnace or boiler unit.

How energy efficient central air conditioning or heating HVAC systems are directly impacts cost. High efficiency systems cost more to purchase upfront, though heating and cooling costs over the years will be lower because these systems don’t waste as much energy as models with lower efficiency ratings. The higher the seasonal energy efficiency ratio SEER, HSPF, or annual fuel utilization efficiency AFUE rating, the more you can expect to pay for the unit, though you stand to save a considerable amount of money after installation.

Brand Choices

Many homeowners could name a few reliable HVAC brands. When it comes to choosing a unit for your house, the selection often comes down to personal experience. Homeowners base opinions on what is a quality or reliable system based off what they’ve experienced in the past.

Before setting your sights on one particular brand, be sure to check with contractors to see what they install. One company may only install one brand while another company of HVAC contractors can provide installation services for any HVAC brands you would like to buy.

Most brand lines of HVAC equipment offer comparable models at the basic level – as you get into the territory of high efficiency systems, that’s where you will see more specialization and variation in systems and their components to deliver more efficient operation. Search for the features you wish to have and explore brands to find a unit that meets those needs.

The manufacturing brand warranty will vary between brands in terms of what is covered and the length of the warranty term. If warranty protection is something you highly value, you may wish to shop around the brands to find terms you feel are most favorable.

System Maintenance Requirements

The services needed to maintain an HVAC system are pretty standard across the board. A new system or existing HVAC system requires an annual maintenance tune up for heating and one tune up each year for cooling. The brand that provides the equipment warranty usually requires these services be performed by licensed HVAC contractors to preserve the warranty agreement over the years.

Outside of professional maintenance service for your HVAC system, there are small project tasks you’ll need to complete along the way to maintain the equipment quality and performance of your unit. These tasks include:

  • Changing air filters regularly for forced air heating and cooling units. Certain models may use bigger filters which require less frequent replacement.
  • Oil boilers and furnaces use an oil filter that requires regular replacement.
  • The outdoor heat pump or air conditioner unit must be kept clean so the condensing coil is able to perform at the appropriate SEER or HSPF level.
  • Vents in the house should be left open and unblocked to prevent a backup of pressure in the ducts which can damage your ductwork system.
  • Ductwork and other areas of the home should be sealed to conserve heated air and cooling.
  • The indoor evaporator coil should be cleaned to stop mold growth and free up space on the coil to allow refrigerant heat transfer.

Equipment Features

Technology in today’s world has created no shortage of equipment features to keep you warm or cool and completely comfortable no matter what. As you search for a new split or packaged HVAC system, these are some of the leading quality options you might wish to look for in your new system.

  • Communicating technology available in some models allows homeowners to receive alerts when service is necessary to maintain or repair the system. Filter change reminders for better indoor air quality and other notices are sent to the thermostat or related mobile application.
  • The use of R-410A refrigerant makes new cooling systems more environmentally friendly than R-22 systems in years past. While you cannot buy a new R-22 system today, if you have one in need of repair, it’s going to cost you less in the long run to go ahead and replace it with a system using R-410A refrigerant. R-22 is in limited supply so repairs grow more expensive everyday!
  • Pairing your new system with the right thermostat offers superior temperature control. Contractors perform installation service for all types of thermostats and there are a number of models to choose from.
  • Variable speed blowers in heating and cooling units lessen operating noise to minimize disturbances indoors when the system runs.
  • The addition of a zoning system by your project contractors could help you create the perfect new HVAC system. Zoning service delivers enhanced temperature control, giving everyone the capability to individually set the temperature in their own space. A zoning project installation service helps your cooling equipment operate with better SEER and conserve energy when heating the home, too!
  • Condensing furnaces and boilers make more efficient use of combustion waste to heat the home.
  • Variable speed blower components operate at varying capacities based on the needs of the home climate, which can deliver improved filtration and air quality.

Tackle Your New HVAC Project Today!

Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is Louisville’s preferred HVAC contractor, helping customers throughout the area gain access to efficient heating and cooling models and components that keep families warm and cool while they save money throughout the year. Give us a call and schedule time today to explore your options and receive a free estimate.

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