Many people take their HVAC systems for granted and they may even neglect them. Well maintained equipment tends to last longer with improved performance and energy efficiency. But, even if you’ve diligently adhered to the maintenance requirements and the system is well cared for, it still has a finite lifespan. Sooner or later, the increased frequency and scale of repairs will make this an economically unviable option. At this point, it’s time to consider a new HVAC system installation which can be a confusing process. In this article, we will look at four things that you need to consider before you go ahead.
1. Choosing When to Repair or Replace
This is the foremost decision and it’s a hard topic to tackle because there are many variables to consider. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing between a repair or replacement. But, there are some factors that can help you to make an informed decision if you take a moment to consider your options.
First, this decision needs to take place before the start of the heating or cooling system. This is not a decision that you want to rush because the temperatures are rising or falling quickly.
As a rule of thumb, you need to consider that the average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years and the air conditioner can last 18-20 years. These projected lifespans can vary a great deal depending on the quality of the equipment and level of care. It’s also true that poorly sized units tend to be overworked and this can lower the lifespan significantly. So, if your furnace or AC system is reaching this age and you have the budget, it’s a good idea to replace them. There are significant benefits to replacing the furnace and air conditioner at the same time. Purchasing and installing matched systems will increase the performance and energy savings.
When you estimate the costs of a repair, they must be weighed against the remaining lifespan of the system. Even a cheaper new unit will be far more efficient than an aging system. But, if you have the budget, it’s a good idea to choose high-efficiency systems that will help you to recoup the purchasing and installation costs faster.
2. Choosing Between DIY or Professional Work
Installing an HVAC system is not a task for a DIY enthusiast because it’s easy to make critical mistakes. Aside from the usual risks of working with electrical systems, there are other reasons to hire a certified and licensed HVAC specialist. First, the new HVAC equipment represents a significant investment and it’s easy to damage key components during the installation process. A DIY approach or hiring a local handyman will not offer any cover if something goes wrong and damage is caused.
Next, before the installation begins, it’s important to carry out a complex load calculation to match the equipment to the building. There are free online tools to do this, but they are purely based on the square footage of your home or business. Other key factors, such as airflow patterns, insulation levels, building orientation, the number of windows, and more are needed to get an accurate load calculation. Only a local HVAC specialist can carry this out for you and you need this information to get the ideal system to meet your needs.
Finally, it’s important to understand the value of a professional installation for long-term benefits. Many people are unaware that a bad installation can compromise the efficacy and efficiency of their HVAC equipment. If you’ve invested money in a high-efficiency system, those potential gains may be lost with a poor installation job. A bad installation can cause extra strain on the equipment that can lead to an unexpected repair bill or shortened lifespan. It may seem less expensive to install an HVAC system yourself or hire a handyman to do it for you, but this is a false economy.
3. Choosing the Right Local HVAC Contractor
As we’ve already mentioned, a poor installation job can wreak havoc in your home. So, you need to choose the right local HVAC contractor for the load calculation, installation, and ongoing maintenance. It’s a good idea to work with a local company with a great reputation because they will be easy to reach out to if something goes wrong.
Finding a reputable and reliable contractor in any field can be a challenge. But, if you stick to personal recommendations, check online reviews, and ensure they have a physical location, it can separate the wheat from the chaff.
When it comes to getting an estimate, get at least three and choose the one in the middle. This rule of thumb should ensure that you’re getting a fair estimate for the equipment and the installation. Involving the HVAC contractor at an early stage is smart, they can help you to choose the best system to meet your needs. In many cases, it may be possible to get competitive financing deals, special offers, and other perks too.
4. Evaluating the Need for Advanced Features
There are a number of advanced features that can further enhance the performance and efficiency of your new HVAC system. These should be considered as optional extras for those with a higher budget that want to make the most of new technologies. Adding a smart thermostat to your new system will give you unparalleled control over the equipment. It’s possible to operate and monitor the system remotely via Wifi in real time and the potential for energy savings is considerable. Another interesting option is a variable speed blower that can save energy when the fan pushes treated air through the ductwork. Adding an air purifier can make a significant improvement to the indoor air quality (IAQ). This is a great feature if there are allergy sufferers or people with pre-existing breathing conditions living in the home.
If you want to schedule a load calculation for a future HVAC installation, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.