How to Choose a Home Heating System That’s Right for You

Purchasing and installing a new home heating system is a big investment, similar to investing in a new vehicle. Since you will be living with your decision or at least 10-15 years, it’s important that you choose a unit that fits your needs and budget.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing a new home heating system:

Upfront Investment

Although you may have your eyes set on a solar zoned heating system, the initial cost may be out of your budget. Before you start shopping for a new heating system, set a price range that you are comfortable with first and try to stick with it.

Expect to pay somewhere between $2,500 and $14,000, however this is contingent on many factors. Learn more about HVAC costs.

Unit Compatibility

When selecting a replacement heating system, it’s important to find one that is compatible with your existing distribution system and home. Unless you are completely replacing the entire system, distribution system and all, this is definitely something you want to consider.

For instance, if you have a forced air system with attached ductwork, and you want to use the old ductwork, it’s best to find a heating unit that is compatible with the duct system. If you are looking to install a ductless mini=split unit or radiant system, the distribution system will be a lot different. Speak with a professional about what systems are compatible with your home and what adjustments need to be made, if any.

Professional Installation

You expect high efficiency and perfect performance when you get a new heating system. Unfortunately, many HVAC systems are improperly installed, even by so-called professionals. According to ENERGY STAR, “more than half of new systems in U.S. homes do not perform to their rated efficiency as a result of improper installation. In fact, improper installation can reduce performance by as much as 30%.”

If you want low energy bills, high comfort, and proper humidification, professional sizing and installation is crucial.

Heating systems that aren’t sized and installed properly result in:

  • Hot and cold spots (uneven heating)
  • Higher energy bills
  • Frequent cycling on and off
  • Humidity and indoor air quality problems (declining comfort)
  • Overworked, stressed systems
  • More maintenance and repairs

Energy Costs (Energy Efficiency)

Each heating system comes with its own rated efficiency levels, usually measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE number calculates the percentage of fuel that is used for heating your home. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the system.

It’s important to take long-term fuel costs into consideration when shopping around for a new heating system. While the cost for fuel can vary significantly, some fuel sources fluctuate more than others. Speak with a professional about rated efficiency levels as well as long-term maintenance costs.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy:

When a furnace is 20 years old, it is likely that its initial efficiency is very low (probably 78 percent or lower) and has significantly degraded with use. You could expect a good return on investment by installing a new 95 percent efficient condensing furnace. Expect even more savings if you choose a two-speed or variable speed system.

Learn what else you need to know before buying a new HVAC system.

Sign up for a Home Maintenance Plan to make sure your heating and cooling system is running at peak efficiency.

Heating System Options

If you have an aging heating system that needs replacement, a variety of heating technologies are available as replacement options:

  • Furnace (Forced Air System)
  • Boiler
  • Heat Pump
  • Hybrid Heating
  • Solar Heating
  • Ductless Mini-Splits (Zoned Heating & Cooling)
  • Radiant Heating

Learn more about the different heating systems available to you and the average life expectancies for each one.

In order to choose the right heating system for your home, contact the professionals at Service Champions. We will complete a full inspection of your home and recommend custom solutions for your needs.

To speak with a local professional about heating system replacement options, contact Service Champions. We are your reliable HVAC experts for Northern California.

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