How To Choose an HVAC System: The Complete Buyers Guide

Published by Parisa Ostovari

The decision to replace the HVAC system in your home is a big one. The process of choosing a system, getting estimates and having it installed can be stressful, especially for first-time buyers. We are here to eliminate that stress by providing you the information you need to navigate the process, starting with knowing whether your system needs to be replaced and going all the way to the final installation.

Let’s get started!

How To Know When It’s Time To Replace Your System

The first step is to determine whether or not it’s time to replace your HVAC system. Nobody wants to find out on the hottest day of the summer that they need to replace their air conditioning unit. The same is true when facing a cold winter night with a furnace that needs to be replaced.

Most of the time, your HVAC unit won’t stop working unexpectedly. Instead, it’s usually a gradual process as the end of your system’s lifespan draws near. If you know what signs to look for, you can be prepared to replace your HVAC system before it gives out.

You Make The Call: 5 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner
Read More: How To Know When To Replace Your Furnace

Do Your Research

If you need to replace your HVAC system, it’s time to do your research so you can choose the right type of system for your home. There’s more to choosing an HVAC system than finding out which brand is the best. It’s also important to research and compare the different benefits and features that come with each type of HVAC system you’re considering.

Additional questions to ask yourself include:

  • What type of air handler or furnace do I need?
  • Do I want a system equipped for zoning?
  • What are my comfort needs?
  • Do I prefer a heat pump or gas furnace?
  • Is a geothermal heating and cooling system right for me?

Explore Your Options: How to Choose The Right HVAC System For Your Home

Right-Sizing Your HVAC System

When it comes to choosing an HVAC system for your home, bigger is not always better. A unit that is too small for your home will be working too hard to reach your desired temperature. If it’s too big, it will cycle between blasting air and shutting off completely. This is not an efficient way for an HVAC system to operate.

Additionally, an air conditioner dehumidifies your house. If your system is too big for your house, it won’t run efficiently, which means it isn’t dehumidifying. A humid house will feel much warmer than it is. A system that is the right size will run continuously, keeping the humidity at the appropriate level.

Operate Efficiently: Right-Sizing Your HVAC System

How To Avoid Sticker Shock

Before you start getting quotes from HVAC contractors, you will want to set some financial expectations. A new HVAC system is an investment in your family’s comfort, but the cost can be a shock for some.

With all of the options available, HVAC system shopping can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are a few important questions to ask HVAC contractors when you’re getting an estimate.

  1. Do you use a standardized pricing system?
  2. Do you have a warranty program?
  3. Do you have an installation guarantee?
  4. What sort of training do your installation and service technicians receive?

Be Prepared: Avoid Sticker Shock When Shopping For an HVAC System

Getting a Quote

While it may be tempting to get an HVAC quote over the phone, an on-site HVAC inspection will provide a more accurate estimate. An on-site inspection allows an HVAC professional to determine what aspects of your home will affect the total installation prices. For example, if your ductwork will need to be updated or if an HVAC technician needs to access a small or tight space to install the new unit, the installation time will likely increase.

Know For Sure: HVAC Inspections Provide More Accurate Quotes

When you start reaching out to get estimates from HVAC contractors, you will want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. On paper, it may look like you’re getting a better deal for less from one contractor when you’re really just getting less. So, ask questions and make sure you’re comparing bids that include the same type of unit.

Apples to Apples: Things To Know Before Comparing Contractor Quotes

Having the HVAC System Installed

You know what your home needs, you’ve got your quotes and you’ve chosen the contractor with the best price for what you’re getting. It’s time for installation!

Buying a new HVAC system is a big deal, and trusting the people coming into your home to install it is an even bigger deal. When you’re scheduling your installation, you will want to make sure that the company is bonded, insured and the technicians are licensed; and that they will be respectful of your home and family. If all of these boxes are not checked, you should not do business with that company.

Spot the Red Flags: What to Expect When Having a New HVAC System Installed in Your Home

Start the Process: Invest in Your Family’s Comfort

Replacing your HVAC system is a large investment for your home. The decision should not be made without doing your research, getting multiple estimates and working with a trustworthy HVAC contractor.