Replacing your heating and air conditioning system is a major investment–one that could have positive (or negative!) consequences that last for years. Many homeowners feel that the most important decision is the brand of equipment they choose to install. But industry experts, including those with the EPA, ENERGY STAR, and Comfort Institute, say otherwise! Choosing a contractor who understands how your home’s construction, duct system, and equipment work together to create the comfort level for you and your home is the most important factor to consider when you start thinking about replacing your HVAC equipment.
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Start with a unique service that will ensure your new system really does save energy, increase comfort, reduce dust and improve the indoor air. Test, don’t guess!
While important, the brand of HVAC equipment should be the last thing you think about during the replacement decision. At James A. Wheat & Sons, we are a factory authorized Carrier dealer. We feel that Carrier offers the most advanced equipment in the industry along with incredible customer support, parts availability, and warranty coverage. That said, we do offer other brands and consider them to be an excellent choice of equipment.
When it comes down to it, your air conditioner (or furnace, heat pump, etc.) is a box that needs to be installed properly. No matter what brand of equipment you choose, if it is not installed properly, you will not be comfortable.
Another big selling point in our industry is efficiency. A lot of advertisements would have you believe that a higher efficiency unit will automatically yield major energy savings. However, the EPA and ENERGY STAR estimate that more than half of all HVAC equipment is installed improperly or has some deficiency that reduces the system efficiency to well below rated specifications. If you try to install a new air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump into a home with leaky ductwork, it does not matter how efficient the equipment is rated—the system will not heat or cool properly or efficiently. Remember that efficiency has to do with how well your HVAC system uses fuel, not how well the system heats or cools.
There are usually rebates or tax credits available for installation of higher efficiency equipment, and when installed properly the possibility of lower utility bills is always a reason to strive for the highest efficiency available.
One of the most talked about results of a new system upgrade, but the least actually addressed, is how comfortable your new system keeps you! If your old HVAC equipment did not cool or heat your home properly, why do you think the new system is going to do any better?
We consistently get asked to install larger equipment because of a lack of even or complete heating or cooling. But in our industry, we often find most equipment is over sized!
How can that be? A system will not cool or heat, even if it’s the correct size or too big? The answer usually comes down to the duct system or home’s overall construction. Checking the square footage of your home and guessing on insulation values is not testing your home—without a detailed analysis, you are just replacing one box with a new box!
At James A. Wheat & Sons, we offer duct system leakage tests and air infiltration tests to make sure that your new heating and cooling equipment will work properly and not only provide the required heating and cooling but will do so while creating minimal dust and the most even-temperatured home possible.
The EPA, ENERGY STAR, Consumer Reports, and other industry experts agree that choosing the right contractor is the most important decision you can make regarding your heating and cooling equipment replacement. But how do you choose? Do you base it on price of the installation?
The question we always ask here is—what price? The initial installation price? The price of installation plus the utility, repair, and maintenance cost after 5 years ? 10 years ? How about the comfort cost? Do you go with your gut feeling?
We feel that our job is to provide you with the best information available, to present you with all of your options and to make sure you understand how those options will affect you over the life of the system. Check out the link to from ENERGY STAR that deals directly with choosing the best contractor. We also have a link to a video from the Comfort Institute about choosing the best contractor as well. HVAC replacement is a large investment that can directly affect your cash flow, yearly budget, and comfort level for the next 15-20 years. Please take the time to watch the video and read the brochure from ENERGY STAR. Choosing the right contractor can make all the difference in the world.