If you’re considering your very first HVAC purchase, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the information overload. The buying process doesn’t have to be so complicated, and most issues can be clarified simply by asking the right questions. A qualified, reputable HVAC contractor will be happy to provide the answers. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or not, here are some questions you should always pose before making HVAC purchases.

What manufacturer brands does the contractor recommend?

Like most consumer products, there are top-of-the-line HVAC brands as well as discount brands. Ask the contractor to provide information about more than one brand name and give reasons why he or she recommends one over the other.

Will a formal load calculation be performed before installing the new HVAC unit?

Never have a new central A/C or cooling system installed unless the contractor performs a load calculation to determine the exact BTU capacity of the new unit to match the specific thermal requirements of your home. Since over-sized and under-sized units typically deliver sub-standard performance, higher operating costs, and incur wear and tear faster, educated guesses or rule-of-thumb estimates aren’t good enough.

What is the efficiency rating of this unit?

For air conditioners, the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) number begins at 13 for standard efficiency and rises above 20 for high-efficiency units. Furnaces utilize the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. Standard units are around 80 percent while high-efficiency condensing furnaces have AFUE as high as 95 percent. Of course, the higher the SEER or AFUE rating is, the steeper the sticker price of the unit. Energy efficiency must be balanced with purchase price to get the best deal for your home comfort needs and budget.

Will I need other work done?

Connecting a new A/C or furnace to leaky, deteriorating ductwork may not deliver the improved results you’re hoping — and paying — for. Same goes for installing a new system in a home with inadequate insulation or excessive air leakage. Ask the contractor about other improvements that may be required to maximize the comfort and efficiency of the new unit.

For more answers to your questions about HVAC purchases, contact the professionals at Jackson & Sons.

Jackson & Sons, Inc.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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