Selecting a New Heating and A/C System

It looks like we’re in for another scorching summer, and as you probably already know, the heating and air conditioning system is the single-biggest user of energy in the average American home.

If your HVAC system is more than ten years old or just isn’t heating and cooling like it used to, upgrading to a new system can help reduce your energy bills and usage no matter how high the mercury climbs.  But how do you know which system is right for your particular needs?

Here are some things to consider when shopping for a new heating and air conditioning system:

Brands Matter

Although it can be tempting to skimp on the price of your new HVAC system, chances are you’ll regret doing so over the long run.  “Off brand” units may cost less initially, but purchasing a proven, reliable “name brand” model will give you years of trouble-free service, and will deliver immediate savings in terms of reduced monthly bills. Buying a unit from a major manufacturer will also ensure that your heating and A/C technician has the experience and knowledge to work on it when maintenance or repairs are required.

Think Energy Efficiency

Look for the ENERGY STAR® label.  When properly sized and installed, ENERGY STAR® certified heating and cooling units can reduce your energy costs by up to 30%, and most qualify for federal tax credits and utility rebates depending on where you live.

Quiet Operation

Sound should be a primary consideration when selecting your new heating and air conditioning system. Some furnaces can be as loud as 100 decibels, and some air conditioning units can produce up to 80 decibels.  Depending on where your unit is located, you may find that your new HVAC system provides adequate cooling and heating, but makes it nearly impossible to watch your favorite television show, or carry on a conversation.  Be sure to ask about the operational sound level of the unit you’re considering purchasing.

Temperature Consistency Throughout Your Home

Single-speed heating and air conditioning systems are notorious for producing inconsistent temperatures inside the home. In fact, temperature differences of seven degrees off the thermostat setting are not uncommon. Selecting a two-stage or variable speed unit will ensure that your entire home stays evenly comfortable regardless of your proximity to the thermostat.

Humidity Control

The humidity level inside your home can have a dramatic effect on your comfort.  In order to maintain the proper level in your home, select a thermostat that controls both temperature and humidity.  If you live in humid region of the country, you might also want to consider investing in a dehumidifier.


Your heating and A/C system repeatedly cycles to respond to your changing comfort demands. Frequent cycling can lead to air stagnation. Selecting a model with a variable speed motor will prevent this from occurring.

Indoor Air Quality

Choosing a model with an air cleaner will help maintain healthy air quality.  This is especially if members of your household suffer from chronic respiratory conditions including allergies and asthma.

Check with your local heating and air conditioning technician for help in selecting the best unit for your situation and needs.

Ongoing Maintenance

No matter what make or model heating and A/C system you choose, be sure to have it inspected and tuned up on a regular basis. Having an annual air conditioning tune up will save you money in the long run and can help prevent unnecessary A/C repairs.

Many experts also recommend a thorough air duct cleaning prior to installing your new HVAC system.

Are there other considerations that we forgot to mention?  Please leave a comment below.  And, as always, please share this post if you found it useful.