When you’re shopping this time of year, you’re usually thinking “holiday” not “HVAC” – but when you need a new heating and cooling system, shopping around is the right thing to do. And because a new heating and cooling system represents a sizeable investment, it’s a good idea to consider the following as you start your search.
The price isn’t always the bottom line cost. While it’s good to get the best deal you can, you want to consider how energy costs over the next 10 years are going to affect your “bargain” price. A system that is less energy efficient will end up costing more in the long run than the sticker implies.
If your equipment is at least 10 years old, you’ll be surprised at how much technology has changed in the last decade. Newer units are designed to utilize the minimum amount of energy to regulate your home’s indoor temperature throughout the year. The US government has developed a standard to measure this efficiency: SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently your HVAC system will perform – and the more money you will save over time.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Timing is everything.” This is no less true when it comes to shopping for a new heating and cooling system. There are times of the year when sales on equipment are more likely – like the end of winter for heating and the end of summer for air conditioning. Spring is generally a slower business time for HVAC companies and they tend to run specials to attract buyers. Also, if you’re planning to retire soon, this might be a good time to take care of this significant investment so you don’t have to worry about it for years to come.
Should you shop for air conditioning and heating equipment separately?
The answer to that question is: It depends.
Studies show that the average life expectancy for an air conditioner is about 10 to 15 years, while a furnace is 15 to 20 years. If both systems were installed at the same time originally, and your air conditioner is on the fritz, you still may have a good 10 years left in your furnace. Or if your existing furnace doesn’t have a variable-speed motor and your new air conditioner rates over 16 SEER, you’ll lose some of the energy efficiency you pay for with the new AC unit. And sometimes, the equipment simply needs replacement at about the same time.
If you have any questions about pricing, technology, timing, or whether you should replace one or both parts of your heating and cooling system, it’s best to consult a trusted HVAC company like Air Specialists who can help answer your questions.