How To Choose An HVAC System
When your Burbank, CA, home is in need of a new heating and air conditioning system, choosing one can be a challenge. You might not know if it’s better to replace just the cooling or just the heating system or to get both at the same time. There are also systems that offer both heating and cooling functions. You’ll also have to consider costs, comfort options and energy-efficient features. At Air Max HVAC, Inc, we’re proud to install a wide range of furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners and other types of HVAC systems for your home. Use these 10 tips to make an informed decision about which system is the best one for your comfort, home and budget.
1. Fuel Source
If you’re replacing your heating system, you’ll need to choose between a gas-powered or electricity-powered one. Not all homes are set up for natural gas or propane. Electricity and natural gas rates vary by season and provider. An electricity-powered furnace or heat pump may require an upgrade to your home’s electrical panel. Although there are solar and geothermal heating systems available, they do require some electricity to power their fans.
It’s important to choose a heating and cooling system with the right capacity. Our technicians calculate your home’s heating and cooling load and advise you on which systems have the right capacity. Choosing a system with too low of a capacity will result in a shorter system lifespan and poor indoor comfort control. Selecting a system with too much capacity will lead to high utility bills and less-than-ideal comfort. A system with excess capacity will also cost you more to install and maintain.
3. Zoning Options
If different people in your household like different temperatures, consider a zoned heating and cooling system. These systems allow you to set up three to six zones. Each zone has its own thermostat. You can have one or more zone’s heating or cooling turned off and just cool or heat part of your home. This could lower your utility bills because you won’t be heating or cooling areas of your home that nobody is using. Zoned climate control systems don’t use ducts. Instead, they have a wall-mounted evaporator and fan. You can manually control the thermostat or use a remote control to adjust the temperature and fan speed.
4. Ducts or No Ducts
If your home doesn’t have ducts, you’ll need a ductless split system or mini-split system. If part of your home doesn’t have ducts, you’ll also need a ductless system. When you’re adding onto your home or installing central heating into an old home, a ductless system gives you more options for equipment placement and floor plan designs. A ducted heating and cooling system may waste energy if the ducts are leaky. Ducts also need routine cleaning every one to three years. Dust and other debris can get into the ducts and impede airflow. Ductless systems offer increased design flexibility and lower energy use, but they also cost more to install.
5. Combination or Single System
If you just need a new heating system, you could select a furnace or boiler. If you’re only in need of cooling, a central air conditioning system is a cost-effective option. When your home needs a new heating and cooling system, you could get an air handler, furnace and central air conditioner. Another option is a heat pump. Heat pumps offer both heating and air conditioning functions. There are air-source, water-source and geothermal or ground-source heat pumps available. Air-source heat pumps are the most common and least expensive to install.
6. Placement Options
Central air conditioners and heat pumps have an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit requires a stable concrete pad to support it. The outdoor units measure about 3 feet wide, long and tall. The indoor units also require a considerable amount of space. Furnaces and boilers only have indoor equipment. However, they do require access to a flue for releasing the waste gases from the combustion process.
7. Energy Efficiency
Choosing an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system reduces the size of your home’s carbon footprint, is better for the environment and saves you money each month on heating and cooling costs. Air conditioners and heat pumps are measured with the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating system. Choose a SEER rating of 14 or better to lower your summer cooling costs. Compared to an old air conditioner or heat pump with a SEER of 10, you’ll pay about 30% less to cool your home. Furnaces use the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) measurement for energy efficiency. An AFUE of 90% means that the system converts 90% of the input energy to heat and loses 10% of the input energy to waste gases released out of the flue. Heat pumps’ heating functions are measured with the heating season performance factor (HSPF) rating. Look for a heat pump with an HSPF of at least 8.2 to lower your wintertime heating bills.
8. Cost to Operate
The cost to operate the heating and cooling system is an important part of your decision-making process. Gas and electrical rates will vary by season and supplier. The manufacturer’s literature should explain how many British thermal units (BTUs) or kilowatt-hours of power the heating or cooling system uses during a typical season. You can calculate the cost to operate a system by contacting your utility company and asking for current rate information. Consider choosing Energy Star-certified heating and cooling systems, which use 30% less energy compared to a system of the same capacity that doesn’t have this certification.
9. Smart Thermostat Compatibility
A smart thermostat has software and uses a connection to your home’s Wi-Fi network in order to download algorithm updates. It uses those updates to optimize heating and cooling cycles and speeds. The algorithms enable the system to learn your schedule and track your location via an app downloaded onto your smartphone. This ability allows the smart thermostat to adjust heating and cooling cycles if you’re running late or returning home early. These geofencing features could save you a considerable amount of money on heating and cooling your home. You can also use the app to adjust the temperature while you’re away from home.
10. Comfort Features
New heat pumps and air handlers offer variable-speed compressors. These compressors allow the system to operate at the lowest necessary speed for a longer period of time. Running at a slower speed reduces noise, improves airflow and leads to better temperature control. Fewer heating or cooling cycles means less wear and tear on the system and lower energy use. You may also benefit from a furnace with an energy recovery ventilator that captures heat from exhaust gases and retains moisture in the winter months of the year.
Air Max HVAC, Inc is the trusted installer of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in Burbank. Customers also turn to us for dependable heating and cooling maintenance, repair and replacement services. Our home energy audits and indoor air quality solutions are designed with your health, comfort, safety and budget in mind. For more information about how to choose an HVAC system for your home, call us at Air Max HVAC, Inc today.Tags: AC Installation, AC Replacement, HVAC Systems