HVAC systems have become a necessity in most houses. They control temperature and humidity to keep them at healthy levels and produce a comfortable environment. But which HVAC system is the best? Or rather, how do you choose a system that’s right for your needs? Here are some tips on how to shop for a new HVAC unit.
There are many, many brands of HVAC equipment. It’s impossible to say which the best is because that view is subjective. So what consumers need to do is understand their requirements and search for a system that can fulfill them. By learning what each type offers, how size can influence results and the importance of energy efficiency, money is saved and return on investment is guaranteed.
• Size: Yes, larger systems seem and sometimes are capable of delivering better heating and ventilation. But if your house or office is a modest size, what’s the use of purchasing an expensive system whose full capabilities will never be realized?
To find a system that’s the right size, measure the square footage of the site. Areas totaling 100 to 300 sq ft need 5,000 to 7,000 BTU. 550 to 1,000 sq ft will require 14,000 to 18,000 BTU, 1,500 to 2,000 sq ft require 30,000 BTU and sites measuring 2,000 to 2,500 sq ft need 34,000 BTU. Based on these figures, you can more easily choose a system that delivers these outputs.
• Cost: Having a budget will prevent you from purchasing an overly expensive system but it shouldn’t be the guiding factor. If the right system costs more than what you figured, go for it over one that’s cheap but can’t fully deliver what you need. HVAC equipments have a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) number that indicates power efficiency. The higher the number, the more expensive they are. 13 SEER is the minimum. Choose a system that has 14.5 or 15 SEER to balance cost and efficiency.
• Efficiency: Efficiency doesn’t only mean how energy efficient a system is; it is the difference between saving money on electricity bills and having to spend thousands every year. Aside from SEER, a system must have an Energy Star rating which is a globally recognized and accepted benchmark set for electronic equipment. Systems with a 5-star rating are among the most energy efficient but they also cost a lot. To further balance cost and efficiency, go for one that has a 4-star rating.
• Compare prices: This is the only way to get a clear reading on the going price of HVAC systems. If it’s a mid-range system you want, compare the cost of different systems in this range. You’ll arrive at an average and won’t spend more than needed.
• Features: For an additional price, you can have access to certain features like remote activation/ deactivation of systems and timers. Equipment for commercial establishments are more high-tech and may boast features like alarms and programmable unit controllers.
• Reliability: If a system isn’t reliable despite having added features or being energy efficient, all that it boasts will be in vain. Reliability should be the driving factor in the choice of system as repair work is expensive and not always possible. You don’t want to be saddled with additional expenses considering the already high price tag HVAC equipments can carry. So be a responsible shopper and compare brands, models, features, efficiency, warranty, guarantee and cost before settling on a system.