Installing a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in your home is one of the largest projects you and a contractor can undertake. Because managing the temperature of your home is so important, especially in a climate with four distinct seasons, you want to make sure you get your HVAC installation absolutely right. There are many HVAC professionals out there who will relentlessly try to upsell you, mislead you, or otherwise take advantage of an uninformed customer. Don’t let that happen to you. Be thorough in preparing for a new furnace and air conditioner with these questions to ask before residential HVAC unit installation.
Do You Give Free Estimates?
Without free estimates, shopping around for HVAC systems can set you back before a single piece has been put in place. It’s important to manage your costs by trying to get as many free estimates as possible. Remember that a reputable technician will be happy to give a free estimate and recoup that cost with a successful installation.
Is Forced-Air HVAC Right for My Home?
Today, we take central air systems not as a luxury but as an expected modern amenity. However, not every home in every region is suited for central heating and air conditioning, and a good HVAC technician will be honest with you in that regard. If the costs of retrofitting older reconstruction to incorporate central air are prohibitive, or the aesthetics of installing ductwork would be unpleasing, you deserve to know that. Some homes that rely on electricity for heating may benefit from baseboard heat instead.
What Kind of Thermostat Should I Get?
The Internet of Things has exploded in recent years, lending internet connectivity to items we never would have thought could have benefitted from such modernization. Today, your doorbell, locks, and even your refrigerator can connect to the internet. So too can your thermostat with a number of “smart thermostats’ on the market. These manage the temperature of your home by learning your occupancy patterns and conserving energy accordingly. However, if you work from home or have a stay-at-home parent in the household, there are fewer patterns for the thermostat to learn, and a more affordable manual thermostat may be all you need in order to keep the home as warm or as cold as you’d like.
How Many Zones Should I Have?
Further development of central heating and air conditioning is the ability to divide the home into distinct heating and cooling zones. With more than one thermostat control, an HVAC system can heat and cool different parts of the homes to different desired temperatures. Traditionally, a two-story home’s zones will be the upper and lower floors. Homes can have additional zones at the expense of difficulty managing all the zones at once. If you live in a one-story home, a second heating and cooling zone should not be necessary. A good HVAC technician will give you an honest assessment of how many zones your residence can benefit from—the answer may well be only one.
What Kind of Filter Do I Need?
One of the most important and perilously overlooked aspects of any forced-air HVAC system is air filtration. A furnace works its best when it receives clean air, but in most homes, air ducts can carry dirt, dust, hair, pet dander, mold spores, and other particles through the system, and these particles make your furnace work harder than it should—not to mention they continue to distribute allergens through the air, likely causing uncomfortable allergic reactions. There are numerous types of air filters on the market, from hard-working single-use filters to highly effective reusable filters, which can have triple the lifespan of traditional fiberglass filter models. Your HVAC technician should be able to determine which air filter is right for both your furnace and your household conditions—namely, whether or not you have pets or people with allergic reactions. If you have highly sensitive people in the home, a highly-rated MERV 11 filter, which screens out 95 percent of particles and needs to be replaced only once every six months, should go far in solving your household’s allergy problems.
Can I Get a Tax Credit?
We’re all trying to go green—or at least as green as we can. Local governments and utility providers may offer tax incentives to install energy-friendly systems, and retrofitting an existing home to feature energy-efficient heating and cooling could net you a federal income tax credit of up to $500. Consult your relevant utility provider to see what sort of credit or rebate you can receive on your new and more efficient HVAC system. Even if you cannot apply for a federal income tax credit based on your energy efficiency, products with EnergyStar certification can still reduce your energy costs.
How Do I Maintain This System?
Being a homeowner means taking so many crash courses in general maintenance, learning your way around topics you never thought you would approach. While serious repairs should always be left to the professionals, your HVAC technician should be able to give you some tips on what you need to know about your newly installed HVAC system and what you can do to take basic care of it in between scheduled annual maintenance calls. While it may seem redundant at first, we cannot understate the importance of these annual tune-ups in not only keeping your system running at peak performance but ensuring that you remain in compliance with your warranty in case the system should fail.
Don’t be shy when it comes to being thorough about your new HVAC system. An informed customer is a good customer when it comes to the operations of your home, and any HVAC contractor you consider should be willing to field any of these questions to ask before residential HVAC unit installation, along with any other specialized concerns you may have. Gleaning as much information about your home’s construction and what goes into a high-performance heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system will allow you to make the correct decision as a consumer, and hopefully begin to build a relationship with HVAC professionals who will keep your system functioning at its best for years and years to come.