Making the Decision

Spending money is always a decision that comes with fears and anxieties. Consumers work hard for their  money and when it comes time to spend it on a new HVAC system, they want to make a good decision. This decision to possibly spend up to thousands of dollars for a replacement or new system is a major one and can be done with many factors considered.

Factors to Consider

If your system is 10 years old or older, the contractor you hire may have trouble finding parts for it. When they are found, they may be more expensive due to their scarcity.  HVAC technology has made and continues to make good improvements based on the latest Department of Energy recommendations, the United Nations mandates, and discoveries made by research laboratories.  The maintenance and repair of outdated systems can end up costing more than the installation of a replacement system. A new system will do away with a constant maintenance and repair bill from your chosen HVAC contractor.

A primary concern related to whether or not to upgrade is the use of excessive energy. Of course, the use of excessive energy leads to a larger expenditure of money. A high efficiency system, especially those that have an rating will yield substantial savings. The use of this kind of system will also have a positive impact on the carbon footprint you are leaving on the planet. Further, many newer systems come with a feature that monitors the mechanical parts of your system and will alert you when they are not functioning to capacity or in need of maintenance.

Rule of Thumb

Sometimes HVAC companies will use a “rule of thumb” when calculating the cooling load of a structure. When contractors are calculating what size or tonnage to use in a home or building they include a factor that is a measurement of the thermal energy(heat) that must be removed from a given cubic foot area. It is completely possible to precisely and accurately determine the cooling load for each location. However, because of the “rule of thumb” idea, the installer may not be as precise as needed. As a result, they install a unit that is not accurate for that location.

Because of  this miscalculation, it may be possible to determine a lower cooling load thus causing you to need less tonnage for your situation. If you keep the old system, it will eventually suffer from inefficiency and excessive use which will lead to a decreased lifespan. Switching to a reduced cooling or heating load unit will cost less money and require less maintenance visits in the future.

Smart Technology

When considering an upgrade, keep in mind that recent developments in HVAC have included the use of “smart” technologies that function using wifi, cell phones, laptops, and tablets. Because of this, your entire home can be managed from a distance. Many of these “smart” technologies will also be able to lower your energy expenditure as they precisely monitor all areas of the home and adjust demand to match necessity. Older HVAC units do not have this feature and will use more energy, over time.

The most popular device currently being installed with a new or old system is a programmable, smart thermostat. This device can combine local weather forecasts within its algorithm and adjust your homes atmosphere accordingly. It can also record and respond to various settings to accommodate all those who live in the home. The ease of control and remote commands make this upgrade feature a must have for energy efficiency.

Home Energy Yardstick

This measurement tool may be found by navigating here. This tool will determine your annual energy usage for your zip code and can even make calculations based on your address. It compares your energy use with other homes in the area along with national averages for that geographical space. It includes in its algorithm the local weather, size of your home/office, the number of occupants and how much you paid the energy supplier throughout the year. It will suggest changes and modifications needed to lower your expenditure of energy. The tool is normed to an area based on research and data reached by the US Department of Energy’s Residential Energy Consumption Servey (RECS).

What to Look For

There are some indicators that homeowners can look for that will indicate to you whether or not you should upgrade to a new system.

  • Equipment requires frequent repairs

  • The inside environment has humidity problems.

  • The heating and cooling system is noisy

  • The home has excessive dust.

  • The furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.

  • The heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.

  • No one is home for long periods of time during the day and you do not have a programmable thermostat.

  • Extreme temperature fluctuations from room to room.