When it comes to choosing a new heating and air system, I think it would be wise to pay attention to three main priorities: comfort, safety, and money savings. Here are some questions to ask as a good starting point.
Improving airflow goes a long way toward improving a home’s overall comfort level. Someone might decide to replace the heating and air system because they always have to bundle up with a blanket on the couch, or because a bedroom or basement is much colder than the rest of the house. But before taking out an existing system just to put the exact same thing back in, you might want to ask the question, can the issue be solved by redesigning the ductwork or putting in an extra return instead? In many homes, the original design of the heating and air system isn’t very good. You’ll want to optimize the airflow (out of the vents and through the return) in bigger rooms and/or rooms with high heat loss.
There could also be issues with the sizing of the actual system itself, especially in tract homes or contractor-built homes where they try to skimp on the size of the unit. The basement might be colder than the rest of the house because the thermostat is upstairs and there’s no way to regulate the temperature (which we fix by using zones). The bottom line is, you should focus on comfort. On a hot or cold day, ask yourself, is there anywhere in the home that I’m not comfortable? The question could be explored by a consultant or professional.
When it comes to safety, air quality is a relevant consideration for every system. It’s pretty rare for a heating and air system to have mold inside of it simply because of the sheer amount of airflow. But if the system hasn’t been working properly, the filters haven’t been changed, or the vents have all been shut off, airflow will be drastically reduced. This can cause condensation and lead to moisture buildup, which is the perfect environment for mold growth when combined with a warm area. Mold is definitely a safety concern for the health of the individuals in the home.
For natural gas units, LP (liquid propane) gas units, oil-fired systems, or maybe even diesel units (if the system is extremely old), it’s important not to minimize the concern for safety. A good question to ask is, Do I have a gas system? From there, you might want to ask, is it vented properly? Is it up to code? Maybe have the flames tested to see if they burn clean. Those issues can influence carbon monoxide, which could actually go into your duct system and be dispersed throughout the home.
How much it costs for a heating and cooling system to do its job can result in overpayment. You’ll want to ask, how old is my system? What is the current SEER rating? Is hot or cold air being wasted from leaks as it travels through the ductwork? The current SEER rating gives you an idea of whether or not the system is as efficient as necessary. Technology has come a long way over the last 20 years, so if you have a system around that age, it’s probably largely inefficient and costing you extra money each month to heat or cool your home.
We offer both heat and cool checks, depending on the time of year. These checks are free right now, so if you call in and get it scheduled, we’ll uncover any issues when it comes to comfort, safety, and money savings. Contact us online or give us a call at 540-483-9382.