In the US, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems market was worth $15.6 billion in 2020. Experts project this sector to grow further as climate conditions become more extreme. After all, without HVAC systems, building occupants can develop climate-related health conditions.
However, existing HVAC systems can become useless if they stop producing conditioned air. They can even contribute to poor indoor air quality due to old age or lack of unit maintenance.
For those reasons, it’s vital not to delay getting a new HVAC system if your existing one is on its last legs.
To that end, we created this guide detailing what you need to know before you buy a new HVAC unit. Keep reading so that you can get the most out of your replacement system.
Have the Old HVAC System Assessed by a Pro
Furnaces have an average life span of 15 to 25 years, while central air conditioners can last for 7 to 15 years. Proper maintenance, in turn, allows an HVAC unit to reach or exceed its life expectancy.
Now, let’s say your furnace or AC user manual states that the equipment should last for at least 10 years. However, yours is only eight years old, but its performance has already degraded. These signs of decline may include no or poor airflow, uneven heating or cooling, leaks, or odd sounds.
That doesn’t mean you need to replace it on the spot; an HVAC technician might still be able to fix it. For starters, your HVAC system hasn’t even reached its minimum service life yet. It’s possible that a professional only needs to replace some of its parts to extend the unit’s life.
For that reason, be sure to have your existing system checked by a pro first before you get an HVAC replacement. This way, a licensed HVAC tech can assess if your cooling and heating system is still fixable. The expert can also tell you if it’s a smart idea to have it repaired or if it’s better to get a new air conditioner or furnace.
Proper Disposal of the Old HVAC System
If you need to purchase an HVAC system as a replacement, the next thing to consider is how to dispose of the old one. The good news is that some utilities offer bounty programs that let you cash in on an old air conditioner. If your old AC qualifies, you can get a “bounty” (cash incentive) for turning in the old equipment.
Bounty programs exist to facilitate the proper disposal of refrigerated appliances. Proper disposal is imperative as such equipment contains harmful greenhouse gases and chemicals. That’s why you can’t just throw in an old AC with regular household trash or bring it to a dumpsite.
Another option is to hire an HVAC installation company that will take care of the disposal. In this case, the technician who installs your new HVAC will take and dispose of the old one for you. If your old system has recoverable and usable parts, the HVAC company may even give you a rebate.
Re-Assessment of Your Heating and Cooling Needs
Such assessments are a must for all HVAC installations, be it for a new home or a unit replacement. It’s through these evaluations that HVAC professionals can determine proper HVAC sizing.
Proper HVAC size, in turn, determines the system’s heating and cooling ability. It also influences how energy efficient the equipment will be once it’s in operation.
In addition, early studies found that oversized air conditioners are common in the US. For example, one review found an average of 23% of oversized cooling systems, while it was 31% in a separate study.
In both analyses, oversized AC units consumed more energy than necessary. Their use then led to a significant increase in electricity bills.
You can avoid such costly HVAC woes by having your heating and cooling needs re-assessed by a pro. Don’t worry, though, as reliable HVAC companies offer this as a free service. They’ll have one of their technicians assess your home to determine how big your new HVAC system needs to be.
The Current State of Your Duct System
Experts say that, on average, duct systems can waste 25% to 40% of a home’s heating or cooling energy. However, they could waste even more if they have damages, such as holes or cracks. As such, if your existing HVAC system relies on ducts, you need to get them checked before putting in the new unit.
Consider Ductless HVAC Alternatives
If you don’t have ducts or would like to go ductless, you can go with a ductless mini-split HVAC system. These appliances don’t need ducts; instead, they provide cooling and heating through zoning.
Zoning in a ductless mini-split system lets you cool and heat specific areas or “zones.” Each zone comes with an individual indoor unit, also called an air handler, plus a thermostat. The air handler, installed within the zone itself, delivers the conditioned air.
Since the air handler is within the cooling and heating zone itself, it eliminates the need for ducts. Moreover, you can have four to five zones by installing the same number of indoor units. All air handlers then connect to a single outdoor unit.
Another key advantage of a ductless mini-split is energy savings. It can help you save on energy as you can turn off all other air handlers that aren’t in use.
Go Energy Star
Energy Star heat pumps and AC units can be up to 20% more energy-efficient than older models. On the other hand, replacing your old furnace with an Energy Star model can reduce your heating bills by 15%.
Note that not all HVAC installation companies carry Energy Star appliances, though. As such, be sure to ask each prospective HVAC contractor if they sell and install these products.
Make an Educated Choice When Getting a New HVAC System
Keep in mind that a new HVAC system costs thousands of dollars. For that reason, it’s best to take advantage of a free HVAC consultation before you shell out money on a new unit. Besides, this no-cost assessment can help you determine if your system is still fixable or not.
If it turns out you need a new one, a reliable HVAC professional can assist you in choosing the best replacement.
Interested in more innovative ideas to improve your home, living, or even health? Then feel free to have a look at our latest blog posts!
Read Also: 5 of the Most Common Commercial HVAC Repairs