Here's How to Choose an HVAC System to Buy Around Indianapolis, IN

How to Choose an HVAC System?

When it’s time to buy a new heating and central air conditioning system for your home, you’ll have many questions concerning choosing the right one. There are different types of HVAC systems, like furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, ductless mini split units, and boilers, which are available from various brands, creating seemingly endless choices for homeowners. While HVAC contractors are happy to provide guidance and assistance, ultimately it is up to you to pick the new HVAC system that you would like to purchase.

Installation of a new HVAC system to replace your existing system equipment is no minor project. With the comfort of your home’s indoor climate and a considerable amount of money on the line, it’s important that you make a choice that will be reliable, efficient, and practical for your house. Williams Comfort Air shares the important factors to evaluate as you select a new HVAC system for your home.

What Type of HVAC System Will Work in Your House?

The right HVAC system is different from one house to the next. Air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and ductless mini split models can be suitable choices depending on your home and living situation. Before you start comparing the different HVAC system equipment options available, it’s best to narrow down the types of HVAC systems you want to consider for your installation project. Keep in mind, you may not have to replace the current system with another unit of the same type, but there may be reasons it is practical to do so.

  • In homes with existing ductwork to support central air and heat, a furnace and air conditioning unit or a heat pump are often top choices. You can choose packaged or split system configurations, depending on the needs of your house.
  • The availability of different heating fuel types can make a difference in your choice of furnace or boiler. If you have local natural gas utility service available, switching to a natural gas furnace from an oil or propane furnace can save you money on energy costs over the years.
  • When considering heat pumps for Indiana heating and cooling, what type of backup heat system should you consider for the most energy efficient heat when the outdoor temperature becomes too cool for efficient heat pump performance? Electric resistance heat strips can be installed, or a natural gas furnace unit.
  • If your home does not have ductwork installed and there is either no space for installation or you’d rather not spend the added money to install ducts, a ductless mini split system is a possible choice.
  • If you only wish to add heating and cooling to one area or a few areas of the home, installation of a ductless system can be much more affordable than upgrading existing central air and heating units to serve the additional space.

Sizing for a New HVAC System

Before you settle on a new HVAC system, it’s critical that you know the correct equipment size for your home. When it comes to heating and cooling units, size doesn’t refer to the physical dimensions of the unit or the square footage of your house, but the unit’s capacity to heat or remove heat from a space. Sizing HVAC systems correctly impacts long-term operating costs and indoor comfort levels, so it’s important to find a perfect fit.

Call to schedule an appointment with your local HVAC contractor to determine the right size for your new heating and air conditioning equipment. Your trusted HVAC company will perform the calculations needed to find your home’s heating load and these contractors will advise you on the proper size for your new unit. Don’t try to search for the size yourself, as free online calculators for heating systems and air conditioner units don’t take into account all the unique factors of your house that must be analyzed – your local HVAC contractor will.

Choosing the Right HVAC System – Considerations

As you evaluate any air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, or other HVAC system equipment, you need to examine the following factors. Each quality plays a role in the cost to buy a new unit, ongoing energy costs, indoor air quality, maintenance needs, and the overall comfort provided by a unit.

Fuel Type

A conventional air conditioner or heat pump uses electricity to operate, so their SEER ratings for efficient operation aren’t impacted by different energy sources. Where heating units are concerned, there are more equipment choices specific to fuel type. When choosing the right heating system for a home, you need to think about what fuels your home is already set up to deliver and what is available in your local area should you wish to convert.

Installation of new gas lines will add to the cost of putting your new HVAC system into service, though converting can be worth it in the long run as you save money on heating bills. Natural gas and propane furnaces are more energy efficient than their heating oil counterparts. Natural gas heating is also more efficient than any electric furnace.

Energy Efficiency

Seasonal energy efficiency ratio SEER is used to measure how energy efficient an air conditioner or heat pump cools. Annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE is used to measure the heating efficiency of furnaces and boilers. Heating seasonal performance factor or HSPF is used to show the energy efficient heating performance of heat pumps.

How energy efficient a new heat pump, air conditioner, or furnace runs will have a direct impact on long-term operating costs. High efficiency units with higher SEER, HSPF, and AFUE ratings convert more fuel to heating or cooling versus units with lower energy efficiency, so you save more money running a high efficiency unit because it generates less energy waste. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio SEER, annual fuel utilization efficiency AFUE, and heating seasonal performance factor HSPF ratings also tend to affect the cost of a new unit, with high efficiency systems being more expensive than lower rated models.

High efficiency models include specialized components that help HVAC systems limit energy waste. Specialized components to consider for new HVAC systems include:

  • Condensing furnaces and boilers make more efficient use of heating fuel by pulling heat from exhaust gases to warm the air, using a secondary heat exchanger and condensate drain system.
  • Variable speed blower motors for a forced air furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner allows the blower to run at different speeds depending on the home’s airflow needs, giving the unit a higher SEER rating. They are quieter and better at controlling humidity for improved indoor air quality.
  • Two stage furnaces are able to run with the burner flame at full capacity and a lower capacity to conserve energy based on the home’s climate need for heated air. Modulating furnaces can run at varying capacities to more precisely align with the temperature needs of the home for higher efficiency. These options offer better filtration and air quality.

HVAC Brands

There are numerous reliable and well-known brands producing quality heating and cooling unit models and HVAC systems. Before you search different brands, be sure to check with your preferred HVAC contractor – one company may only sell and install one brand of HVAC system, whereas another company could sell and install any brand of new HVAC system you would like.

Which brand you choose is a personal decision in many cases, as each brand often has comparable units available, especially when you are looking for a basic heating and air conditioning system. If you are looking for a high efficiency HVAC system with specific components that improve user experience, you may wish to choose one brand over another brand to get exactly what you want. Manufacturing brands also offer warranty coverage for their new system, and these terms will vary from one brand to the next – a good warranty can save you quite a bit of money should you experience defects affecting certain system components down the road.

Maintenance Needs

All HVAC systems will require maintenance to preserve energy efficiency and function. Professional maintenance is recommended annually for heating system and cooling system equipment. Homeowners should call to schedule service to maintain their heating unit in the fall and cooling system in the spring. HVAC brands typically require these professional services annually to uphold warranty terms, as the need for repair services is less likely when you maintain your heating or cooling systems well.

In addition to professional maintenance services, you need to be aware of the other tasks you’ll need to perform throughout the year to maintain your new unit.

  • Air filter changes are needed in all forced air models.
  • An oil furnace or boiler will need to have its oil filter replaced regularly.
  • Outdoor air conditioner and heat pump models need cleaning to prevent airflow obstructions that harm the condenser coil.
  • Vents need to be kept open to avoid excess pressure in the ducts that can lead to ductwork leaks.
  • The indoor evaporator coil needs to be cleaned to keep them free of mold growth and allow refrigerant to efficiently absorb and transfer heat.
  • Ducts need to be inspected for damage and gaps that can allow air leaks.
  • Ductwork and other areas of the house should be sealed to improve energy efficiency.

Specific Features

Today, there are many options available in split and packaged systems that deliver a better user experience. These features will impact the cost of buying new HVAC systems, but the improved quality of the unit and how you interact with it can make the cost worth it, depending on your priorities.

  • Some new HVAC systems offer features such as communicating technology that makes it easier for homeowners to maintain their central air conditioning and heating systems. Alerts are sent to thermostats or connected mobile apps alerting homeowners to the need for service, air filter changes, and other system issues.
  • New air conditioner and heat pump units use R-410A refrigerant, which is an environmentally friendly alternative to the popular Freon refrigerant in use for decades. With a limited supply of Freon R-22 refrigerant available, many consumers choose a replacement project instead of making repairs to these older systems.
  • Installing a new Wi-Fi or smart thermostat with a new HVAC system can provide enhanced control over the indoor climate and temperature. You are able to stay connected with HVAC equipment even when away from home and search energy use data for information that is helpful as you make home improvements to further cut back on the energy cost you pay each month.
  • Central air conditioners, heat pump systems, and forced air furnaces with variable speed blowers operate with less noise, so you aren’t disturbed while your comfort systems run.
  • Ask your contractor about the installation of a zoning system with your HVAC replacement project. Contractors regularly install these products which can offer superior temperature control throughout your house. Send warm or cool air only to the rooms that need it to save energy and keep everyone comfortable with their preferred climate settings. Thermostats in each zone allow you to adjust the amount of warm or cool air needed, and dampers inside the ducts ensure it is directed only where needed.

Indianapolis Heat and Cooling Contractors

Search no further than Williams Comfort Air as you look for an HVAC contractor company to install your new heating or cooling unit. We offer reliable system choices with high efficiency SEER and AFUE ratings, and models available with the features that deliver a better experience for your family. Trust our licensed HVAC contractors to perform skilled installation service for new HVAC systems in your Indianapolis area home. Call us today to learn more!

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