skip to Main Content

HVAC Basics You Need to Know Before Buying A Home Heating and Cooling


Buying an HVAC system can be intimidating. Maybe you aren’t sure what kind of system you need or you aren’t sure which systems have higher efficiency. Whether you are replacing an old HVAC system or installing a brand new one, there are a few things you should know before you buy.
Do you already know which system you want? Our team at Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air in Sterling, VA are ready to help. Give us a call at 703-721-8888 to schedule your HVAC purchase and installation.
Continue reading for more information on buying a new home heating and cooling system.

Cost of a New HVAC System

There are a few different factors that may affect how costly your HVAC system replacement will be:

  • Ductwork: ductwork greatly impacts the function of an HVAC system. A poor duct system may be incompatible with certain systems. Upgrading a duct system may add a few thousand dollars to your total cost but be a worthwhile investment.
  • Location: depending on the climate of where you live, it may cost more to install a heating and cooling system.
  • Difficulty of installation: the type of home that you live in or the terrain that you live on can impact the cost of an installation. If the HVAC system needs to go in a tight, hard-to-reach space, then the cost of installation may be higher.
  • Home size: all heating and cooling systems have to be sized before they can be installed. A system that is too small will not be able to efficiently cool or heat your home. A system that is too large will cost you more in monthly energy bills. The technician should complete an inspection to determine the size of the system that is perfect for your home. This could increase or decrease the price of the system.

While there are more factors that could impact the cost of a new HVAC system, these are the most common. Talk to your technician to find out more about their pricing.

Heating and Cooling Systems

There are a few different heating and cooling systems that you should take a look at. Each has a different price point and use. Here’s a crash course:

  • Air conditioner: most commonly purchased as a split system and used in larger homes. The system will have an indoor and an outdoor unit that work together to turn warm outside air into cool air.
  • Central system: both an air conditioner and a heater in one system. This system is most common in areas with warmer climates where a separate furnace is not necessary.
  • Furnace: can be bought in gas, electric and propane forms to help heat your home. Furnaces are complex systems with various parts that help to keep the system safe.
  • Heat pump: while the name may sound like this system only provides heat, it can also provide cool air. This is a smaller system (and less expensive) that can be found in a variety of homes.
  • Ductless system: this kind of system is most common in small and mobile homes. It does not require ductwork to work. This system is typically fitted in the wall or through a window and draws in outside air to cool and heat.

Give your HVAC contractor a call to find out what kind of system will work best with your home.

Important HVAC Terms

When looking at different kinds of HVAC systems, you may find a few words and terms that you don’t recognize. Here is a list of some of the most important HVAC terms that will help you understand what kinds of systems you are looking at:

  • AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency tells you how efficient a furnace is. The higher the number, the more efficient it is.
  • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a number that describes how efficient an air conditioner is. Like AFUE, the higher the number, the more efficient the system is.
  • Split system: this is a system with an indoor and an outdoor unit.
  • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is another efficiency rating but for heat pumps.
  • Packaged system: this is a system that has both heating and cooling components.
  • Energy star: when a product has an Energy Star rating, you can be sure that it is highly efficient. It is always recommended to look for Energy Star products when shopping for HVAC systems.
  • Cooling stage: the amount of settings that an air conditioner has. Multi-stage and variable systems allow you to have more control of the temperature and are more efficient.
  • Heating stage: the amount of settings that a heater has. Like cooling stages, a variable system will give you better control of the temperature.

Understanding these terms will help you to find the exact system you are looking for.

When to Schedule Seasonal Maintenance

Once your system is installed, it is very important to schedule HVAC maintenance twice a year. The best time to schedule maintenance for your air conditioner is in the spring. For your furnace or heating system, it’s best to schedule maintenance in the fall. It’s always a good idea to get maintenance during these times so that you are ready for incoming rises and drops in temperature.
These are also the best times to schedule maintenance because HVAC companies are typically less busy. This means you may even be able to save money as companies tend to reduce prices during these times. You should also be able to easily book an appointment and have everything taken care of in one day.

Reliable Sterling HVAC Installation and Replacement

If you are looking for a high quality hvac contractor in Sterling, VA, then Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air is the company for you. Our team is ready to help you choose the perfect HVAC system for your home. We have got the tools and expertise necessary to properly size and install your system. If you are concerned about affordability, we offer financing options and discounts.
At Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air we also offer a variety of other services such as repairs, replacements and maintenance for all kinds of plumbing and HVAC systems. Give us a call at 703-721-8888 or head to our website to book an appointment today.

Share this article

Back To Top