5 Features to Look for in a New HVAC System

by Editor on July 23, 2013

hvac meets passive

Although a lot of us would probably like it if our HVAC system could last forever, the reality is that if you’ve had a unit for more than 10 years, it might be time to start saving up for a new one. The reason why we say that is because as they get older, they tend to have more electrical issues which means that you’ll have to have technicians to come out more often. In the height of summer or the coldest time of the winter season, that can prove to be a real challenge as you try and keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

So, if you are coming up on the 10-year mark and you’re thinking about purchasing a new HVAC system, we wanted to provide you with a few ideas about the kind of features to look out for; ones that may have not even existed when you got the unit you have now; ones that might prove to make purchasing a new unit a really smart investment that you actually look forward to getting.

High efficiency rating. As people are becoming more environmentally aware, manufacturers are making products that are more energy-efficient. This is a good thing because it means that you can purchase an HVAC system that still keeps the rooms of your home at a comfortable temperature while also saving you some money on your utility bills. Personally, we recommend purchasing an Energy Star system, but even if you don’t, make sure to look for high EER (energy efficiency ratio) and SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings. For EER, 11.6 is standard. For SEER, 14 (or higher) is good.

Variable-speed air handler. If you have ceiling fans or oscillating  fans in various rooms in your house, it really isn’t necessary to keep your air unit running on high. So, also look for the kind of system that has a variable-speed air handler. What makes this particular feature so great is that you can have your unit running on low for the majority of the time and it will only go on high when it’s absolutely needed. You can definitely save money on your energy costs by utilizing this option.

Fan-only switch. In the hot summer months, oftentimes it gets cooler during the evening hours. This means that you don’t have to always rely on your unit to blow full blast. Thankfully, many new systems have a fan-only switch that you can turn on to keep your home well-ventilated without using quite as much energy to do so.

Filter check light. With the unit that you have now, an air filter basics rule is that you must remind yourself to change the filters every three months. With many of the new units, though, there is a light that automatically comes on indicating when you need to check or change them instead.

Quiet operation. And finally, a lot of us know that if we go outside to play with our kids or do some landscaping, it can sometimes be hard to hear what’s going around us because our HVAC units are so loud. However, there are actually several systems that are much quieter than they used to be, so make sure that while you’re shopping for a new one that you make the request for the ones that have a much lower sound. It’s just one more perk that comes with buying a newer HVAC system.

photo by: jennypdx

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