A few select tips to help you decide direction when buying heating and air conditioning equipment.
HOW LONG DO I PLAN TO LIVE OR OWN THIS HOUSE?
This should be the first question you ask yourself. If in the next five years you are going to sell the house or turn it into rental property, you should consider spending a lessor amount.
If you are going to keep the house for 10 years or more, you should look at higher efficiency systems. Why? Because by then you will more than taken advantage of the energy savings higher efficiency equipment offers
No matter where you come from, where you live or how long you live there, how much you can spend will help you zero in your choices. When bombarded with the all the possibilities, ask for ball park amounts of a mentioned system to rule out things you can't afford. Asking for prices for every system will only confuse things.
You can spend $2000-$30,000 on a new system with most heating and air conditioning systems bought averaging $5000-$8000. I like to tell customers that they have no bad choices, they just need to choose a system they can afford.
The Department of Energy along with AHRI came up with a system for customers to easily compare between tiers and manufacturer's. In all ratings, the higher the number, the higher the efficiency.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating used for central air conditioning systems.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor used for air source heat pumps
Coefficient of Performance used for geothermal heat pumps and currently being used in some air source ratings.
Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency is a percentage of heat output compared to the total amount of heat in the fossil fuel used in gas furnaces.
Energy Efficiency Ratio is used in all system with a compressor
Central air systems efficiencies may depend on what furnace or air handler it is connected too. If you want the highest available central air efficiency, you will have to replace the furnace too.
Manufacturer's warranties are very competitive and similar. They average a 5 year parts standard warranty with an extension to 10 years or maybe even 12 years if you register the equipment on the manufacturer's website. There may be stipulations that require annual maintenance on each piece of equipment. There may even be some labor coverage. All things to take notice of when purchasing a system.
Utility companies, Government and manufacturer's offer rebates for higher tier equipment and higher efficiency ratings. The rebates are attractive and may help you get equipment above what you thought you could afford. Remember, some incentives will take time to process. It could take months. Refer to you budget before taking advantage. Government tax credits should be with the advise of your income tax preparation person or accountant before taking advantage to verify eligibility.
You can buy the best equipment money can buy, but if its installed by the least qualified person, it won't make any difference, you are going to have a bad experience. If you have no experience with a company, ask for references of customers with similar work. Inquire with the State Licensing Board that oversees Heating, Air Conditioning and Mechanical licenses. Call the Better Business Bureau and ask if there were complaints filed. Call the municipal or city inspections department and ask if the company has had any problems.
If the job is extensive, ask for a Surety Bond to cover the cost of the job. This bond will pay you if the contractor doesn't finish the job. Get proof of insurance that should have a workman's comp disclosure if installation companies have employees so if they get hurt on your property, those employees won't sue you.
BUY WITH CONFIDENSE
If you've done all this, your are more than prepared to replace your heating and air conditioning. If you have more questions, you can always call ADVANCED TEMPERATURE SYSTEMS.