HVAC 101: What You Need to Know Before Buying an HVAC System

HVAC 101: What You Need to Know Before Buying an HVAC SystemThe HVAC is perhaps the most important system in a home, and purchasing one is a big investment. With many options and factors to consider, choosing a new HVAC can be a bit intimidating. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process with confidence.

System types

  • Communicating systems alert you when to use either your heating or air conditioning system, providing a superior level of convenience, efficiency and home automation.
  • Ductless systems provide the reliability of central heating and air conditioning in homes or additions where ducts are not an option. An outdoor unit connects to an indoor unit which is typically mounted on a wall or ceiling. Because these are individual units, there is flexibility in how they are controlled.
  • Packaged systems are self-contained, as the name implies, into a single cabinet that contains everything you need for heating and cooling. It can be a central heating and air conditioner or a heat pump.
  • Split systems have part of the system inside and part outside, which allows more space inside the home.


  • Air-purifying components greatly reduce indoor air pollution and are extremely helpful to anyone who suffers from allergies or respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.
  • Humidifiers or dehumidifiers control the moisture content in the air either in a single room or throughout your home.
  • A programmable thermostat maximizes the energy efficiency of your HVAC system by allowing you to easily program when the air conditioner or heater runs. In this way, you don’t have to remember to raise or lower the temperature while you are at work and your home will be a comfortable temperature when you return.


  • Energy efficiency for air conditioners is measured by SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and for furnaces and boilers  by AFUE (annualized fuel utilization efficiency). The higher the rating, the greater the efficiency and the lower your energy costs.
  • Size is important when choosing an HVAC system. Your HVAC technician should perform a load calculation that includes square footage, layout, the number and placement of windows, the amount of insulation, the orientation of the home (passive solar), and the family’s lifestyle. A system that is too large or too small will compromise efficiency by working harder than necessary. It may also result in inconsistent heating and cooling, excessive wear and tear, and shorter lifespan.
  • Brand can matter in terms of which contractors get to sell a particular product. Smaller less exclusive brands have less oversight over who installs their systems, which is important because proper installation is is a key factor in how the system will perform
  • Noise levels vary among brands and models. Ask about the noise level, measured in decibels (db) and choose a system under 60 db  to be sure it won’t be disruptive.
  • Maintenance is important for keeping your system functioning properly, efficiently and safely, and for maximizing the equipment’s lifespan while minimizing repairs. Regular maintenance may also be required to prevent voiding the warranty.
  • Cost should be evaluated by purchase price and also by energy savings. New high-efficiency systems can save a significant amount over the life of the system, so it is important to consider that in addition to the upfront cost. A good rule of them is to purchase the most efficient system you can afford.

One of the best ways to be sure you will be happy with your new HVAC is to choose the right contractor for both purchase and installation. Contact ABE Heating and Cooling for all your HVAC needs. We are located in Brighton and serve the entire Denver Metro Area.