Whether your current heating and air conditioning system is on the brink of failure, starting to get old, or you would like something more energy efficient, research and knowledge are a good starting point. Below are some important factors to take into consideration when thinking about a new HVAC system.
Air conditioners are rated according to their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to measure its energy efficiency. SEER is the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. It is the average calculated over an entire season and based on a constant indoor and various outdoor temperatures.
Furnace efficiency is measured by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). AFUE is a measure of how efficient the appliance is in converting the energy in its fuel to heat over the course of a typical year. Energy.com explains that an AFUE of 90% means that 90% of the energy in the fuel becomes heat for the home and the other 10% escapes up the chimney and elsewhere. AFUE doesn’t include the heat losses of the duct system or piping, which can be as much as 35% of the energy for output of the furnace when ducts are located in the attic, garage, or other partially conditioned or unconditioned space.
Sizing is important for efficiency and the life of your system. An oversized system often results in cold or hot spots throughout your home. Both oversized and undersized systems are forced to work extra hard. They will cycle on and off frequently causing extra wear and tear. The constant on/off doesn’t allow for adequate time to go through the dehumidification process. As a result your home will be more humid.
Depending on where your condenser is located, noise level may be an issue. If it is close to a window, you will want a system that doesn’t create any unnecessary disturbances for you or your neighbors.
Your new HVAC system is a major investment which means quality matters. Lower efficiency might save you money up front, but in the long run you will be paying higher utility bills. Lower quality might also save you money immediately, but it may mean more repairs, higher utility bills, and a shorter lifespan.