Buying a heating system isn’t just like buying any other home appliance. You can’t just buy any heating system that you like the moment you see it. A heating system requires a substantial investment on your part, and that is why you need to be thorough before finalizing any purchase.
Being thorough when you’re buying a new heating system means you need to consider several factors to see which one would serve your needs best. Here are some of those factors that can help you reach the best possible decision when choosing a heating system.
Do you live in a region where the temperatures drop to near or below zero in the winter on a daily basis? If so, then the heating system you need to buy is a furnace. Its standard combustion process of generating heat is perfect for areas with subzero winters.
Don’t even consider buying a heat pump if you live in an extremely cold winter environment. A heat pump does not generate heat the way a furnace does, but instead extracts heat from the outside and transfers it indoors. It will be hard-pressed to draw heat from the outside, as there is simply little to no warm air in below-freezing temperatures.
On the other hand, a heat pump would be great if your home is located in a place where the winters are mild.
Photo by Chris.laws27, via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to heating systems. When you’re shopping for one, always consider your heating requirements, which you can determine by taking into consideration the size of your house, its physical and thermal characteristics, the number of occupants, insulation levels, and your own preferences. All this information will then help you find the right-sized heating system that you need.
It’s important that your heating system is sized right just for your home because if it’s oversized, you will be generating more heating than you need and that would be wasting energy and money. If it’s undersized, on the other hand, your heating system will have a hard time generating the heat to fulfill your requirements, which will then lead to the unit working harder to meet those demands and consume more energy in the process.
To find the right-sized heating system for your home, you are going to need the help of an HVAC professional to determine your heating demands by performing a load calculation on your home. In all likelihood, your HVAC professional will conduct the load calculation in accordance with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)’s Manual J, a protocol that helps determine the heating and cooling needs of a house.
Before settling for any type of heating system, you need to be sure about the type of energy source or fuel that will be most convenient, readily available, and more affordable for you.
For those thinking about getting a furnace, know that your options include natural gas, LPG, propane, and fuel oil. You can also opt for furnaces or heat pumps powered by electricity.
Talk to your HVAC contractor and work out the math to find out which fuel or energy source will be most beneficial for you.
Unless you’re one of those people who don’t worry about their heating expenses, you must always consider the overall cost of a heating system that you’ve set your eyes on. Aside from the initial investment you have to put up for your new heating system, you will also need to take into account how much it would cost you to operate and maintain it in the long term.
It doesn’t matter if your heating system is a furnace that runs on natural gas, propane, or fuel oil, or a heat pump powered by electricity. The cost of operating it is going to be high compared to your other appliances, so always be on the lookout for the more efficient systems available to you. With an efficient heating system, your heating costs won’t have to be that high.
If you’re eyeing a furnace, then you must check its AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, the national standard used by the U.S. Department of Energy to measure combustion efficiency. Choose a furnace with a higher AFUE rating as higher ratings mean lower fuel costs.
If you’ve got a heat pump in mind, then check out its HSPF or Heating Season Performance Factor. As with AFUE, the higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump is.
Today’s heating systems are built more sturdily than older models, but they, like all machines, will eventually act up at some point in their lives.
When you choose a heating system, you need to make sure if the brand you’re interested in has a certified repair outlet in your area. You wouldn’t want to take the risk of having your heating system repaired by HVAC repair companies nor certified by its manufacturer, would you?
So to avoid any future inconvenience before choosing a particular heating system brand, do some research and find out which HVAC system manufacturers have a certified repair outlet near where you live.
These are just a few of the factors you need to take into consideration when you’re out hunting for a new heating system for your home. While choosing one can sometimes prove to be stressful, knowing which factors to consider before buying a heating system can help take much of that stress away.