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How to Select the Right HVAC System for Your House

July 14th, 2015

Deciding on which HVAC system to purchase for your house can be a daunting task, especially if you do not know what you are looking for. The following guide will help you to select the right HVAC system for your house.

Understanding the Rating Systems

When you go shopping for a HVAC system, you will come across various ratings on different systems. There are 3 types of ratings that you should be aware of:


(1) Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – This is the standard measurement that is used to indicate the level of efficiency of oil-fired and gas furnaces. A high rating is an indication of greater heating efficiency. For example, a 60% AFUE rating indicates that the furnace converts up to 60% of the fuel (gas or oil) to heat your home. The remaining 40% goes out the flue. Choose a furnace with an AFUE rating of not less than 78%. The most efficient furnaces are rated at 98.5%.


(2) Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) – This measurement gauges the energy efficiency of heat pumps. A higher HSPF rating indicates that your heat pump uses less energy, meaning it is more efficient to run. The most efficient heat pumps are rated at 13+. Heat pumps with a rating of 8.2 and above have Energy Stars affixed to highlight their efficiency.


(3) Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – This is the rating used to measure the efficiency of heat pumps and air conditioners. Higher ratings indicate that the system uses less energy. Brands with the highest efficiency are rated at 30+. Air conditioners and heat pumps with a rating of 14 and above have Energy Stars affixed.

Deciding on the HVAC Unit for Your House

Now that you understand what the different efficiency ratings are, there are other factors you should keep in mind to help you make your final decision. Some of these factors include:

HVAC Units

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The Cost

There are two components of cost that you need to consider. The first is the price of the system. Make sure that you purchase an affordable system. This may mean comparing the cost of HVAC systems from different suppliers. The price should also include the cost of installing the system. The second is the long-term costs of the system. This includes the cost of maintenance, operation, parts, as well as the lifespan of the system. High efficiency products in many cases have high initial purchase and installation costs. However, their long-term costs are much lower, making them more cost efficient choices.

The Contractor

It is important to find a contractor that can install your HVAC system properly. Improper installation of a new system can result in wastage of up to a third of the energy used to run it. This is true even for the most efficient systems on the market. A good contractor will:

  • Know how to properly size the HVAC system for your house
  • Identify any pre-existing problems in your house and solve them
  • Understand and implement proper installation practices

Buying a HVAC Unit

In order to ensure that you purchase the right system for your house, ask yourself the following questions:

Buying a HVAC Unit

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  • What size unit doI you need for my house?
  • Will the contractor assist with the installation?
  • Do I want to save money in the long-run or only in the immediate costs of the unit?
  • Should I replace all my HVAC equipment too?
  • What are my rating requirements?

How to Buy a HVAC Unit

You can purchase a HVAC unit online or through a contractor. Purchasing online helps you save money on the price of the unit. You can compare different brands and take advantage of direct-to-consumer pricing. You also have access to different experts who can help you to determine the best unit for your home. Contractors understand exactly what you need and they will provide you with the correct rating and brand HVAC unit for your house. You can therefore be sure of quality items when purchasing directly from them.

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