Shopping for a new HVAC system is an exciting opportunity to give your home a major (though mostly invisible) upgrade. Funny enough, though it spends most of its time locked away in a closet, out of sight and out of mind, an air conditioning unit is one of the appliances that most impacts our quality of life day to day. The impact of air conditioners largely accounts for their generally high price tag. There’s no denying that shopping for a new HVAC system is a big investment, both in money and time. And, if you’re equipped with the right knowledge, it’s also a chance to save hundreds of dollars long term, while making sure that the money you do spend is justified by the best possible features. That’s why we’ve compiled this short-list of the HVAC features that are worth the splurge in order to make sure that this big investment is worthwhile for you.
One of the most important features to pay attention to in an HVAC unit, especially in a continuously warm and humid climate like Florida’s, is the SEER rating. This rating describes the efficiency of your unit: how much energy it expends in order to adjust the temperature of your home. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient a unit. SEER currently maxes out at around 26 – and, as a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you stick to a minimum rating of 14. Higher SEER ratings don’t always correlate to higher price points, but they’re definitely among the HVAC features that are worth the splurge.
It’s pretty common for a unit to be priced deceptively low up front, only to be followed by a wide array of installation and maintenance fees. Generally speaking: the more complicated a unit is to install, the more professional manpower (and hours of work) it will take. Installation and long-term maintenance fees can add up significantly over time, so be sure to inquire about them if a unit seems to good to be true. At the same time, if a unit carries a slightly higher price point in exchange for low to nonexistent installation costs, it’s probably worth the splurge.
Speaking of long-term maintenance fees, this next tip is a little-known hack that could save you hundreds of dollars long-term. Many HVAC brands boast low up-front prices, only to require you to spend extra money when you need repairs. This is largely done by brands whose units don’t support generic parts for repairs and replacements. There can be a considerable price difference between generic parts and brand-specific ones (not to mention additional waiting time when trying to track down and get ahold of a specific brand’s part). The considerable pricing gap makes generic part support one of the major HVAC features that are worth the splurge.
It’s safe to say that, whether it was in our own home or someone else’s, we’ve all experienced a loud air conditioner. Some of these are no joke: they interrupt conversations, disturb sleep, and are all around pretty startling. Your HVAC system shouldn’t have to announce itself loudly when turning on – and, as technologies get better, more and more brands are offering silent, energy-efficient units that don’t totally break the bank. Though it can be tempting to write off air conditioner sounds as white noise, it’s worth it to ask about a unit’s silence when you’re about to make a major investment in it.
A new HVAC unit is a splurge in and of itself, so it’s important to be informed about which HVAC features are worth the splurge you’ll be making. As you shop for a new system, consider the criteria below in order to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth, both in the short and long term. To learn more about what HVAC features are worth it, or to compare some of the best units for your home, don’t hesitate to download our eBook for free!