Get Educated on HVAC
HVAC system has 3 functions
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and uses a series of ducts networked throughout the home to disperse heating and cooling and keeping your home de-humidified. The system is relatively quiet and through the years, has improved its level of energy efficiency, if maintained, but still makes up the biggest portion of the utility bill.
Seer Ratings/Energy Efficiency
HVAC systems are rated with what’s known as a SEER rate – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The typical rating ranges anywhere from 14 to 23. The products with the highest SEER ratings are considered to be the most energy efficient.
The Higher the SEER of the equipment the higher the savings on your energy bill, as of 2015, 13 SEER was phased out and the minimum SEER is 14.
The higher SEER, better systems also can be installed with WiFi and communicating thermostats, that can be controlled by your smart phone
If a problem arises they can also show you an error code so you know what the issue is with your system.
Heating/Cooling Size, Capacity, and Type
The rule of thumb is 1 ton for every 500sq. ft. of space, however there are many variables beyond this, such as ceiling height, room configuration and window location, your HVAC contractor should choose the right size, capacity, and type of HVAC system, based on measurements such as ACCA’s Manual J. Too big and you’ll waste a lot of money and energy; too small, and you’ll overwork your system without ever feeling completely comfortable.
AC type: Straight cool w/heat strip vs. heat pump
Straight cool with heat strip:
A regular central air conditioner that heats the home using an electric heat strip to get you through cold snaps.
The heat strip is very inefficient, meaning it’ll run up your electric bills.
Cools like a normal air conditioner, but heats your home at half the cost of the electric strip. Thanks to a reversing valve in the outdoor unit, a heat pump can absorb heat energy from outside air, even in extremely cold temperatures, and transfer the heat inside the home, where it releases the heat into the air.
Costs more upfront than the straight cool with heat strip option.
Choosing the Right System-
There are three basic types of air handlers to consider when choosing a new HVAC system.
Single-stage – Older units often have motors with only one speed setting — high. These motors run at maximum capacity no matter how much or little cooling/heating you need. Because maintaining a stable indoor temperature rarely requires the unit to work at full blast, a lot of energy goes to waste.
Two-stage – A two-stage motor can run on a high and a low speed setting. Because the low setting is usually enough to keep your temperature stable, this motor can save you energy by most often running at a slower speed. It kicks into high only when your cooling/heating demand is great enough to require a large amount of cold/warm air quickly.
Modulating or variable-speed – A variable-speed motor isn't restricted to specific settings, but it can run at any speed within a set range. This allows it to choose the precise speed that's most efficient for the given cooling/heating demand. You'll enjoy optimal energy efficiency along with a more stable and even temperature.
Don't Forget the Ductwork
Choosing a new HVAC system isn't all about the heating and cooling equipment itself. A forced-air system relies on optimally designed and well-maintained ducts to reach top efficiency. Duct efficiency also affects the efficiency of heating and cooling system you'll need.
There are a number of problems that can impair a duct system's efficiency, so it's well worth making sure yours is in top condition before you start looking around for a new A/C or heat pump.