Just the thought of purchasing a new air conditioner or furnace can be a bit overwhelming, but before panic sets in, take a few minutes to learn these important tips. Start with a reputable, licensed company. Look at SEER ratings, and ask about installation and rebates. Knowing what to do ahead of time can simplify the process and eliminate the headaches, hassles and stress.
These tips will help you avoid the top mistakes people typically make when purchasing a new heating or cooling system.
1. Don’t ignore the SEER rating
SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating, and it is the rating used to identify how energy efficient a system is. When comparing the price and features of different units, the SEER rating helps you determine what the operating costs will be. A low SEER rating (12 or below) means the unit will cost substantially more in monthly utility bills than those with higher ratings. Look for a SEER rating of 17 or higher for the greatest efficiency and cost savings. Units with the highest SEER ratings can cut your heating and cooling bills by as much as 50 percent compared to older inefficient models.
2. Make sure you get the right size for your home
When it comes to HVAC systems, the correct size definitely matters. Larger (overpowered) isn’t always better and smaller (underpowered) isn’t always cheaper. The key is to match your system with the size and layout of your home, as well as your lifestyle. Choosing the wrong size can cause your system to break down more often and wear out sooner, leaving you unable to maintain the optimal comfort level in your home.
3. Look for rebate opportunities
Rebates can make a pricier but more efficient system affordable. Don’t miss out on savings! Energy efficient systems often come with manufacturer’s rebates. Many states and energy companies also offer rebates for energy efficiency. Rebates can save as much as $1000 on the purchase of a new furnace or air conditioner.
4. Get more than one estimate
It pays to shop around, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Look carefully at installation costs, service contracts and permits as well as prices and options.
5. Look for the best value, not just best price
While purchase price is an important consideration, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Be sure to consider energy efficiency and operating costs as well. In general, a good rule of thumb is to purchase the most efficient system you can afford. Over the life of your furnace or air conditioner (about 12 years), monthly energy savings can more than make up for a few hundred dollars more in purchase price.
6. Choose a reputable and licensed contractor
A reputable, licensed contractor will ensure proper installation which is crucial for the performance and longevity of your system. The best contractors will thoroughly explain your options, answer your questions and be there help with any ongoing maintenance issues. Reputable contractors are dedicated to providing exceptional service, not just making a quick buck. Ask for references and check them, read online reviews and once you have chosen a contractor, be sure to get everything in writing.