What Is the Best HVAC System for Your Home?
Choosing an HVAC system for your home can be more stressful and difficult than you may initially assume. This decision is so important because your HVAC system determines the comfort level of your home, which can have an impact on the quality of your life. And it’s an important investment that you’ll want to rely on. Plus, it’s understandable that you might be overwhelmed by the number of HVAC system options available, especially since there seems to be more now than ever. Luckily, at Entek, we have the tools and expertise to help make this decision much easier, from certified engineers and technicians to the home energy comparison calculator on our website.
Read on for some advice that will help you find the perfect HVAC system for your home.
What Is Your Current System?
One thing to consider is whether you want to stick with the same type of system you’re replacing or if you want to upgrade to a more efficient one. You should make sure to research all the different types of systems available. A more efficient system may be more of a hassle when it comes to installation, but the difference it makes in the years to come could be worth it, as they can sometimes save you about 20 percent on energy bills. But keep in mind that switching systems may require reconfiguring the ductwork in your home. If the highest-efficiency systems are out of your price range, don’t worry. Any newer system should be more efficient than the one you’re replacing.
Consider the Energy Ratings
When looking at the different HVAC systems, check the ratings and think about how they might affect the comfort level of your home. There are three ratings, which you should be knowledgeable about ahead of time. These are average fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF).
AFUE measures the efficiency of gas and oil furnaces. It’s generally recommended that you don’t choose an HVAC system with a rating of less than 78 percent. This means that the furnace will convert 78 percent of the fuel to heat your home. If you choose an HVAC system with a lower rating, it will just be a waste of fuel. There are some that even go as high as 98.5 percent.
SEER measures the annual efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. And HSPF measures the energy efficiency of heat pumps. The higher the SEER and HSPF ratings, the more efficient the heat pumps and air conditioners are. If a heat pump has an HSPF rating of 8.2 or above, it gets an ENERGY STAR® certification. A heat pump or air conditioner will be ENERGY STAR® certified if it has a SEER rating of 14 or above. The most efficient heat pumps have an HSPF rating of 13 or more. And the most efficient brands have a SEER rating of 30 or more. Most contractors agree that an ENERGY STAR®–certified unit will be your best bet.
Don’t Base Your Choice on Price Alone
Don’t make the system’s upfront price the only deciding factor. If an upfront price seems too good to be true, it actually might be. Again, an HVAC system is an investment, so quality also matters. You’ll also need to remember to factor in the cost of installation. And consider the long-term costs as well. This includes the cost of maintenance, as well as how long the HVAC system will last before you have to replace it. A high-efficiency HVAC system that costs more upfront will actually save you more money in the long run by reducing your energy bills. Standard-efficiency systems that are cheaper upfront may also end up costing you more for maintenance.
There’s also the choice of a fixed-speed, single-stage unit or a variable-speed, two-stage unit. A two-stage unit might cost more than a single-stage unit, but it could be more efficient and provide better comfort. Single-stage units, which are typically used in older systems, only have one speed setting. Because they run at the same speed no matter the circumstances, they can ultimately waste energy.
Furnaces Come in All Different Sizes—Choose the Right One for Your Home
Make sure the unit you choose will be the right size for your home. Correctly sized units can also help you save money. If your system is too small, you’ll end up putting too much strain on it. And if it’s too big, it’ll wind up costing you a lot in maintenance. A home energy comparison calculator can help you find the right size.
A home energy comparison calculator is a tool that will take into consideration a number of factors to determine which HVAC system is best for your home. It will prove to be incredibly helpful in your search. This calculator can estimate what your energy costs would be using different systems. Try using the home energy comparison calculator on the Entek website. You’ll also find a step-by-step guide on how to use it.
The factors our home energy comparison calculator take into account include where you live, the square footage of your home, when your home was built, the number of windows, how many residents live in the house, and the number of stories. It also looks at what resource you use to heat your home (oil, electricity, or natural gas), if you use central air, and the equipment you want to compare to what you currently have. After you enter this information, you’ll get the estimated cost for each of the system options. And you can look at each of these for more information.
Use a Trusted HVAC Contractor
Finally, make sure you have a local contractor that you can count on. If your HVAC system isn’t installed properly, it’ll cause problems later on, such as wasted energy. And the right contractor will be able to answer any questions you have about choosing the right HVAC system for your home.
Entek has brought top-rated service to the Portland area for decades and is the Pacific Northwest’s longest-serving Carrier provider for residential and commercial clients. You can find more information about Entek on our website.