How to Buy New HVAC System for Your Home or Office

Image Credit : | Your home or business HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system works to keep the temperature and air quality consistent. When it’s running properly, your HVAC system will be both quiet and energy-efficient. When the HVAC unit is not running properly, it could produce noise and cost you excess money for your energy bills.

When to buy a new HVAC system

image via Flickr by FanFan61618

If you’ve noticed your HVAC system is running less efficiently or generating more noise than usual, it may be time for a service call or it may be time to replace the entire unit. If you’re keeping your unit set to the same temperature, but notice your energy bills rising, this is also an indication of an HVAC unit that is not running properly.  If your unit is 10 years old or older, certain parts can become difficult to find, and if you are repeatedly calling out a technician to perform costly repairs, it may be time to bite the bullet and replace the entire unit.

SEER and other HVAC ratings

When shopping for a new HVAC unit, the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is a good place to start. The SEER rating is a ratio of the amount of cooling output by the unit compared to the amount of energy used in the process. Back in the 1990s, HVAC units traditionally performed at a SEER rating of eight or nine. Today, the federal minimum SEER rating is set at 13, and some units provide SEER ratings as high as 21. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) grants some appliances Energy Star ratings. The Energy Star rating means that the HVAC unit in question performs at higher efficiency than the industry averages.

Getting the right fit

To determine what size HVAC unit you need for your residence or business, you’ll first need to calculate the size, in square feet, of the floor space being heated or cooled. Then this number is multiplied by 25 to arrive at the minimum number of BTU’s (British Thermal Units) your HVAC unit will need to deliver. For example, if the space you are heating or cooling is 10 feet by 10 feet, the floor space would be 100 square feet, Multiplied by 25, that would mean you’d need an HVAC unit capably of pumping out 2500 BTU’s. While it is important to meet the minimum BTU required, there is little point in “going big.” A larger unit may cool faster, but you could lose some of the dehumidifying properties of the HVAC in the process.

Comparing Prices

When you are comparing prices on HVAC units, the two main factors to consider are the BTU ratings and the energy efficiency. While a less efficient HVAC unit may provide you a cost savings up front, it could end up costing you much more in monthly energy costs over time. The EPA’s Energy Star ratings regarding light commercial HVAC units denote that the Energy Star model runs at least six percent more efficiently than the average model and saves the user at least $2000 over the life of the unit.