Buying a New HVAC System
Buying a new HVAC system is a big deal, but getting prepared can help you feel confident about your decision. Follow along for steps you can take as you start shopping for a new HVAC system and talking with a dealer.
Step 1: Consider your home environmentIdeally your heating and cooling system complements your lifestyle. Start by asking yourself some key questions about activity in your home.
- Are my utility bills too high? If you think you’re paying too much for utilities and are interested in lowering utility bills you have options. Think about investing in an energy-efficient HVAC system that uses less energy to heat or cool your home. Typically, the more energy-efficient your HVAC system, the less you pay in energy costs. Pay attention to your unit’s SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient your HVAC unit. You may even consider a smart thermostat, which can help you save energy by automatically adjusting your temperature settings, monitoring your usage and switching to energy-conserving eco settings when you’re not at home.
- Do I have rooms that are always too hot or too cold? Keep this in mind so you can search for systems that will evenly distribute heat and air throughout your home.
- Does anyone in my home have allergies? The right HVAC system can help improve your home’s indoor air quality, filtering out allergens, dust mites, pollen and other harmful particles that may cause allergy or breathing problems.
- Is my heating and cooling system too old? Think about the age of your current system and whether now’s the right time for a replacement. Typically, air conditioners and heat pumps can last 10 to 12 years while furnaces usually last 15 to 20 years.
Step 2: Get familiar with your current systemBe ready to tell your dealer more about your current HVAC setup. No need to get too technical. Use these questions if you need help figuring out what kind of system you own.
- Do you have central air? Central air conditioning refers to systems that distribute cool air in every room of your home using fans and ductwork. It’s considered “central” because the air is cooled in a centralized unit. It typically includes a thermostat, outdoor unit, indoor unit and ductwork that regulates the flow of air throughout your home.
- Do you have a gas furnace? Furnaces use natural gas to circulate warm air throughout your home. They work well for homeowners living in areas where temperatures regularly dip below freezing because they don’t rely on outdoor temperatures to convert heat.
- Do you have electric heat? Electric heat can include baseboard heaters, electric furnaces, electric radiators, convection heaters and other systems that use electricity to heat your home.
- Does my home already have ductwork? Consider the age, design and condition of your home’s existing ductwork as you shop. Good ductwork evenly distributes air throughout your home, saves on energy costs and ensures that air flows through your HVAC at the proper rate. Keep these factors in mind to decide whether you should retrofit a new system to your existing ductwork or replace your ductwork entirely.
Step 3: Design a system that fits your homeNext, think about features of your home and surrounding area to help determine the size, look and efficiency of your new HVAC system.
- Your region: Where you live in the U.S. directly impacts your HVAC system needs. For instance, a homeowner living in New England may not need the same kind of air conditioner as someone in the humid Southeast or Midwest. In certain regions with more extreme climates, a hybrid system might be necessary. Your dealer will know where you live and can recommend a system that makes sense for your location.
- Your home’s size and structure: Your home’s square footage influences the size of your system. Knowing those measurements can help you select a system with enough size and power to cool and heat a home your size.
- Your average energy use: Keep track of your last few utility bills to gauge how much energy you typically use. Estimating your utility costs can help you create a budget for buying a new HVAC system. Knowing how much you spend can help you calculate how much a unit with a higher SEER rating can lower costs.
Step 4: Schedule your dealer’s visitArrange a time to meet your HVAC dealer and discuss your options and preferences for your home's heating and cooling. These tips can help kick off the conversation:
- Ask about everything: Feel free to ask your dealer for specifics about your installation, costs, system features and anything else you may need help understanding.
- HVAC financing: Ask your dealer about possible financing options to take some of the pressure off your purchase.
- Discuss your energy habits: Make sure to talk about your current utility usage, so the dealer gets an idea of what kind of energy-efficient system suits your needs. Need a dealer? Find one here.
Step 5: Evaluate your optionsYou may have multiple options (and quotes) to consider as you prepare to purchase a new system. Consider these factors before you make your decision.
- Ask about promotions, rebates or special offers: Some systems include special offers, deals and rebates that make your purchase even more rewarding. Ask your dealer about special incentives and explore current offers for American Standard systems.
- Get warranty information: If you’re comparing two or more systems, make sure you get details on warranty coverage. Know exactly what will and won’t be covered for free should something on your system break.
- Pay attention to ratings and reviews: Read what other customers have said about the products you want to buy and the dealer you may work with. This may give you insight into what your experience could be like and help you feel more confident in your decision.
- Compare quotes: Buying a new HVAC system is a major investment — one you don’t want to make lightly. Once you start getting quotes from dealers, compare them. Ensure you’re getting a system that best meets your needs for a price that works for you, too.
Step 6: Purchase your HVAC system + request regular maintenance
- Buy the system that’s right for your home and get ready for your installation.
- Once your system’s installed, be sure to schedule seasonal maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Request maintenance before the start of winter and before the start of summer — two times of year when you rely on your system to keep you the most comfortable.