So, You Think It’s Time to Replace Your HVAC System?
Here are Some Important Questions You Need to Ask Before Doing So
If your present HVAC system is outdated, inefficient, or in need of repair, it just could be time to consider replacing it.
There’s little doubt . . .buying and installing a new HVAC system can be a sizeable investment. While you obviously want to keep it up and running as long as possible, it’s important to understand when it’s time to upgrade to a new, more efficient system.
Moreover, working with the right contractor could well be the most important decision you make in the entire process. A knowledgeable, well-thought-of HVAC company will steer you through the replacement process sincerely and honestly.
That said, you shouldn’t begin the process uninformed, so it’s imperative to know precisely what questions you need to ask.
We invite you to take a few minutes and check out some of the more frequent questions that the professionals at Schultheis Brothers have asked.
When should I replace my HVAC system?
A system that’s working as it’s designed to function should only need occasional repairs. So, if you’ve attempted to fix your present system a number of times and, in spite of everything, it still isn’t heating and cooling your home, it just might be time to think about upgrading your HVAC system.
Keep in mind that the number one cause of HVAC system failure is simply old age! Once your HVAC system reaches the point where the cost of repairing it outweighs the cost of purchasing an entirely new unit, you need to consider replacing it seriously. Besides, older systems are simply not as energy efficient, and you might save yourself a lot of money in the long run by installing a new system.
Why should I consider replacing my present system if it’s working okay?
The fact is, you should only replace your HVAC system if it’s in your best interest.
However, you should talk with your HVAC professional if your present unit is older than 15 years because you just might be able to save a bundle of money by installing a new, highly efficient system in your home.
No doubt about it, paying for a new HVAC system is a big investment, but a new system can slash your home heating and cooling costs by as much as 50 percent, plus saving on any further repair costs for your aged unit.
Should I replace all of my HVAC equipment simultaneously?
Most professionals will advise replacing your entire HVAC system all at the same time. Because your system must communicate with all its various parts, they must be in sync. Attempting to blend old and new equipment can trigger issues down the line.
True, if a part of the system breaks and needs replacement, you have the choice to swap out only the broken part, but you still may find that replacing the entire system is more cost-effective. Your HVAC contractor can offer valued insights before you make a final decision.
What are the available types of HVAC systems?
The most common system is the popular heating and cooling split system. To begin, it’s hard to beat the value of a traditional split system. As the name implies, your HVAC split system is divided into two distinct units, one serving the function of heating and the other one for cooling.
Ductless mini-split systems are composed of an outside air conditioner for cooling only or a heat pump for cooling and heating. The mini-split units are mounted on your home’s walls and connect to the outside unit. There are no ducts involved. This is a cost-effective option,, particularly where you’ve made additions to your home or when the garage or basement is being renovated into suitable living space.
A packaged system is manufactured with all the major components in one large cabinet. These systems are most prevalent in homes lacking a basement. Package systems, in most cases, should only be taken into account when a split system isn’t an option.
Geothermal systems employ the stable temperatures of the earth to enable heating and cooling. Despite advances in technology, geothermal systems are still quite costly compared to the other systems, but if it’s within your budget and you plan to stay in your home for ten or more years, then they may be worth consideration.
What size HVAC system should I install?
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no general rule of thumb for sizing a system to a particular home. Depending on your home’s specific construction, one ton of air conditioning can cool somewhere from 300 to 800 square feet. So the one sure way to make certain the size of the system you’re installing will be large enough to cool your home, but not any larger than required, is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs assessed by a licensed HVAC professional. Your technicians at Schultheis Brothers will be happy to assist with this assessment.
What’s the best SEER rating for a new air conditioner?
The more efficient the air conditioner, the less energy it will consume to cool a home. Most A/C units include a yellow sticker labeled “Energy Guide” that reveals the SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The federally regulated minimum SEER for an air conditioner is 13 or 14, but ratings go as high as 25.
After assessing your home and its current HVAC system, a contractor should be able to tell you what size and what capacity unit would best match your space and needs. They should also tell you what the recommended SEER is for that particular unit, especially if it’s energy efficiency you’re looking for.
What thermostat do you recommend?
The right thermostat can help you save a lot on energy costs year-round. As a prime example, programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule that changes the temperature depending on the hour of the day and day of the week to help cut energy waste when no one is at home.
Are you into apps?
A number of newer HVAC units offer cutting-edge, smart thermostats that let you control your heating and cooling needs remotely from an app. They can also supply energy usage reports to help you better understand your energy usage.
Some thermostats work better with certain types of HVAC systems, so you need to check with your contractor to understand better which options will work best with your selected system.
Can I keep my current ductwork?
The air distribution system in a home plays a crucial role in how your HVAC system functions. Many existing duct systems don’t move as much air as needed because the ducts are too small, kinked, too long, or have other limitations.
Ductwork must be accurately sealed, insulated, and sized for your new system. If you need ductwork repaired, cleaned, or replaced, the cost ought to be included in the initial estimate.
How long does it take to install a new HVAC system?
This is a question we are probably asked most often. There are generally two types of heating and A/C installations: a changeout and a full system replacement.
A changeout is when the furnace or air conditioning unit is being replaced, but the rest of the equipment stays as is. A changeout usually requires a full day, or 8 hours of labor, to complete.
A full system replacement requires a bit longer since everything needs to be replaced, possibly including the ductwork, if present. But, by and large, a full HVAC system replacement will take around three days – one day for the change out and two days for the ductwork.
What about total cost?
The recommendation here is that you acquire three written estimates before choosing a contractor. Ask each to give details on their cost breakdown, including the system pricing, the cost of labor, and any charges for add-ons such as thermostats or air quality components.
Ask questions before agreeing to any work. Remember, an estimate does not mean an obligation on your part.
Make sure you understand what’s included in each price – what’s being done, what equipment is being provided, and when the installation process will begin and end.
Always keep in mind that installation costs will fluctuate from one contractor to the next, and equipment costs will vary from brand to brand. However, you should also be especially attentive if one contractor’s estimate is appreciably lower than the others, as chances are they are most likely not offering an equal level of quality product or service. Or, as the saying goes, not talking apples to apples!
You should also ask your HVAC technician for a return on investment (ROI) and lifetime cost analysis that a new system offers. For instance, the amount of time you plan to remain in your house will make a difference on the potential ROI.
Additionally, and this is important, look for the ENERGY STAR label for the best options when considering an HVAC replacement.
What about financing?
Most quality contractors provide financing to help you manage this investment in your home. There are a number of existing plans out there with approved credit, so ask your contractor to provide details of their specific plans, so you can select the one that best fits your needs and budget,
Also, your contractor should be aware of the allowances for installing a new HVAC system, such as available discounts, rebates, or tax credits that could help save money.
What about maintenance and warranties?
All HVAC equipment involves regular maintenance, and having a maintenance agreement helps ensure your system is ready to go, no matter the weather.
You need to understand what guarantees, warranties, and follow-up services are offered. Ask your contractor if they provide a maintenance service agreement, its cost and exactly what it covers.
Equipment warranties differ, so it’s essential to know precisely what’s included in the warranty and what’s not. You should also find out whether you need to register your new equipment or if your contractor will take care of this.
Important: Keep in mind, too, that the lack of routine maintenance on your part can void your warranty so make sure to have a plan in place to care for your investment.
What should I look for in an HVAC contractor?
Obviously, choosing the right contractor is crucial. Begin by asking about their licensing and credentials. They need to be properly licensed and carry sufficient insurance. Also, ask about the size of their staff to assure there are enough workers to install the system and respond to service calls rapidly. You should also inquire about the technicians’ certifications and if they’re accustomed with the brand of equipment, you want to purchase.
Once you’ve decided on which contractor you want to work with, ask them for customer references and make sure to contact those individuals. Be sure to inquire about the quality of the work and if the job was completed well-timed and professionally.
Call Schultheis Brothers to evaluate your current HVAC System
If you think it’s time to replace your HVAC system or if you simply have questions concerning your present system, it’s worth a call to Schultheis Brothers. It’s the only way to be assured of the essential comfort and safety for you and your family before the onset of colder weather.