A Big Decision That Requires Careful Thought
The selection of a central heat and air conditioning system is one of the most important decisions that a home owner will make both because of the substantial cost involved and also because of the effect that it will have on the home’s worth. It will play a key role in the amount of money that the owner will have to pay to heat and cool the home for years and years. It will also effect how comfortable the home feels throughout the year particularly during periods of extreme heat or chill.
The more efficient a system is, the cheaper it will be to operate. A good system must also be reliable, durable, quiet, and easy to service. It is important to get the right size unit. One that is too small will not be capable of adequately heating or cooling the home. If a unit is too large, it will tend to cycle on and off too rapidly which will lead to energy wastage.
The Department of Energy has much information at their official website http://energy.gov/ regarding how best to calculate the size of the unit required. The basics involve calculating a house’s square footage, but consideration must also be given to local climatic conditions, the amount of window space, and also to lifestyles. People who do a lot of cooking or often have many people in the house will have more substantial needs than mere square footage might indicate.
Pay a Little more Upfront for Future Savings
Federal laws now mandate that appliance manufacturers evaluate their products and make a determination regarding how much energy they use. This is called the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER. Models with a high SEER rating are generally more expensive to purchase, but over the expected lifetime of the product, they will more than make up this cost.
Many of the models with these sorts of high ratings are given an Energy Star designation. This is an official designation put out by the Department of Energy. In many instances, it can act as a trigger for rebates. The Energy Department, working in conjunction with state government and local utilities, has several programs that entitle home owners to rebates for buying appliances that carry the Energy Star designation. These were authorized by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and have been periodically renewed.
The Energy Department has issued guidelines for utilities to conduct In Home Energy Evaluation, IHEE for short. Once this sort of audit is properly conducted, the homeowner may qualify for a rebate on the installation of an Energy Star system in addition to the rebate on the unit itself.
It is important to use a qualified contractor to do work of this sort. Take the time to make sure they have the proper licenses and carry insurance. The units that they install should be name brands that you have checked out to make sure they have an acceptable SEER rating. Go with an Energy Star device whenever possible.