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Things to Look for When Buying a New HVAC System

What to Know About Buying a New HVAC System

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Being in the market for a new HVAC system can be intimidating, whether you’re a new homeowner or a seasoned one. There are many factors to consider that an average homeowner may not know to look for. At Raynor Services, we believe that every homeowner should receive the best HVAC service possible. That’s why we’ve created this list of things to remember when you’re buying your new HVAC system.


Size Matters

The size of your unit can drastically affect its efficiency. For this reason, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) have come up with their own unit sizing system called a Manual J. Basically, Manual J is a “tool” or protocol contractors use to calculate the amount of heating and cooling needed by a home and the necessary load to ensure the system is successful. Using the Manual J measurement tool requires your contractor to record a long list of factors to get an accurate reading, including the positioning of the walls, the building materials, etc. If your contractor is making a recommendation based solely on the square footage measurements, they are doing you a disservice. Make sure when your contractor comes to build a quote for a new unit, they fully inspect your home to get proper measurements to give you the best HVAC service possible.


Efficiency Matters

According to the US Department of Energy, almost half of the energy in homes goes towards heating and cooling systems. This makes energy efficiency even more important to consider when dealing with HVAC replacement. Similar to the Manual J, there are some industry standards for measuring energy efficiency. Two of the most important ones are AFUE and SEER, which apply to heating and cooling respectively.

AFUE stands for Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency. For this measurement, higher numbers mean greater efficiency. They represent the percentage of the fuel that is converted into heat. The closer to 100% the better, and anything below an 80%, don’t even bother.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. For this measurement, higher numbers mean greater efficiency as well. The highest SEER score you will find on a brand will be over 30.

There’s actually a third measurement that comes into effect, but it only applies to heat pumps. It’s called the HSPF, which stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. Higher ratings mean less energy consumption, which means higher efficiency. The highest HSPF score you will find on a brand will be over 13.


How the Quote is Written Matters

There are many ways contractors will put hidden fees in your estimate to seem like they are offering a lower price than they really are. Pay attention and look out for line items in the body of the quotes you get. Many times contractors will give you what seems to be a low “bottom line” price, but really it’s not lower once you add up all the additional things you wanted. They will put in the body of the quote as “To add the Wifi thermostat add $600, to increase your efficiency add $1500, to add the humidifier add 1800”. This can end with you paying significantly more for your installation than you initially believed.

In addition to hidden line items, there are a few other things you can be aware of to help with the cost of the HVAC replacement. First, you should be aware of whether they are including permits in their costs or not. Permits can end up costing anywhere from 160-225 per system, so it’s important to know how that’s being taken care of. Second, is the contractor an approved vendor for the local utility company and state rebate and home energy programs? If so, that means they have achieved all the requirements that those entities have. They require a much higher level of customer service and insurance than contractors that are not approved to be in those programs. For the customer that means that they have a more professional company, greater customer service and higher standards are maintained.

Also check to see what kind of financing options are available. At Raynor Services, we offer numerous financing options with low monthly payments to help you move forward with your project. If you are in the market for a new HVAC System or have questions about your current unit, contact us and we will be happy to help!

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