Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

What to Ask When Buying Your First HVAC System

Congratulations! You're shopping for your first HVAC system! But what kind of system do you need? How can you be sure you're getting the best system? There are a number of questions inherent in HVAC purchases. Here are some of the most important ones, answered.

What size system do you need?

If your unit is too small, it won't be able to heat or cool your home properly, and will end up overworked, wasting energy. But if it's too big, it cycles on and off too quickly, leading to disparate temperatures and wearing out the system. Make sure your HVAC contractor calculates your home's heat load according to Manual J and installs the right size unit for your house.

Do I need new ductwork?

Before buying a new HVAC system, you need to make sure your home's existing ductwork can accommodate it. It may need some repairs, to fix leaks and other problems. Or it may require a costly overhaul, with entirely new ducts put in.

How efficient is it?

A/Cs are measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio: how much cooling does the unit produce for the amount of energy it uses, over a given cooling season? Furnaces use Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency: What percentage of fuel is given off as heat vs. exhaust? For both SEER and AFUE, the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.

Is it Energy Star certified?

The best way to save energy with HVAC purchases is to look for the blue Energy Star logo. That means they've been certified by the federal Energy Star program to save money and energy over similar models, without sacrificing performance or features.

What kind of thermostat do I need?

A programmable thermostat will help reduce your power bill even more, by switching automatically to an energy saving setting when no one is home. A WiFi thermostat is a little more costly, but gives you even more control over your home comfort and energy use.

For more help with HVAC purchases, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. San Diego trusts us for all their HVAC needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).