Your heating and cooling system is one of the most important – and expensive – investments for your home. Knowing what to look for and when to buy can save you a lot of money up front and in the long term. It’s a good idea to consider the following if you’re starting your search.
1. Up front cost of the equipment
If you haven’t been shopping yet, you’re probably going to experience a little sticker shock when you begin your research. It will be tempting to go with the lowest price – but you don’t want to be ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’ as the saying goes. While price comparison is always a good practice, you need to factor in other things that will affect your bottom line, such as the energy rating of the equipment, the size of the equipment for your home, and which system best suits your needs. A good bargain up front may cost you more in the long run if you’re losing money each month in higher energy bills.
2. Advances in technology
If you’re shopping for a furnace and/or air conditioning unit, you probably haven’t considered this type of equipment for at least 10 years – and in that time there have been leaps and bounds in technology. A government standard gives you some idea of a system’s energy efficiency: SEER, or 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.
3. The season for buying
Certain times of the year are better than others when you’re shopping for a furnace and/or air conditioner. The off season is always better for sales on equipment and/or installation. For example, the end of winter is a good time to shop for a furnace, and the end of summer for an air conditioner. Spring is usually a slower time for HVAC companies, and they may be more likely to runs specials that attract new buyers.
4. Buy separately or together?
Should you buy your heating and cooling units at the same time? Well, 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.
Sometimes the equipment simply needs replacement at about the same time. But if both are were originally installed at the same time but your air conditioner dies, your furnace may still run well for another 10 years. In that case, you don’t want to lose those 10 years of service. However, it’s important to consider if your existing furnace doesn’t have a variable- speed motor, and your new air conditioner has a SEER rating over 16 – then you’ll lose some of the energy efficiency you paid for.
The bottom line
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 the professionals at a local trusted HVAC company like Drake Heating & Air who can help answer your questions.