On average, a good HVAC unit will last 15–20 years. This number fluctuates, of course, depending on factors like climate, lifestyle and investment in routine maintenance from an expert HVAC Alexandria, VA company. When it’s time to replace an old unit with a new, more energy-efficient cooling and heating system, it can feel like an overwhelming endeavor. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to look for before investing in a new HVAC system. 

Need emergency HVAC installation Alexandria, VA residents can trust? Give Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air a call at (703) 651-2056 or contact us online for more information.   

How to Choose a New HVAC Unit

A new heating and cooling system is a long-term investment that’s directly tied to the comfort level, utility costs and indoor air quality in your home. It’s important to research the available options and choose a system that meets your needs and your budget. Here are the top ten things to consider before taking the plunge:  

  • 1. System Efficiency

    Investing in a high-efficiency system will pay for itself over time with the money you’ll save on monthly energy bills. While high-efficiency systems are slightly more expensive than standard systems, installation and maintenance costs will likely be the same. When you purchase the highest-efficiency unit that will work for your home—and that your budget will allow—you can save up to 30% in heating and cooling costs every month (not to mention it’s the right move for the planet).

  • 2. Proper HVAC Unit Sizing

    An important factor to consider when shopping around for a new unit is proper sizing. A qualified HVAC technician can evaluate your home and make recommendations based on your needs and budget. A unit that is too big for the space it’s in is subject to “short cycling.” This is a condition where the system cools a space to the desired temperature quickly and shuts down before reaching its optimal efficiency level. Perpetually stuck in the start-up phase—which uses more energy—an oversized unit will cost more in utility bills and take on more wear-and-tear as it kicks on and off too frequently. An oversized unit also never runs long enough to remove humidity from the home, resulting in a stuffy, clammy feeling indoors. Conversely, a unit that’s too small will struggle to keep up with cooling demands, shortening its lifespan and leaving you with insufficient cooling. 

  • 3. Find References and Read Reviews

    Selecting and installing a new HVAC unit means you’ll need to partner up with an HVAC installation, Alexandria, VA, professional you can trust. Homeowners can count on sources like Google+ and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for reliable reviews from those who have worked with an HVAC contractor. It’s also wise to ask friends, family members and neighbors for recommendations. Upon finding a prospective HVAC contractor, consider factors like how long they’ve been in business, which industry certifications they have and what their customer service is like. 

  • 4. Upgrade Indoor Air Quality Components

    The installation of a new HVAC unit is an excellent time to upgrade or invest in indoor air quality  components like humidifiers and air filtration systems. These can often be purchased as add-ons to your new system, and bundling the purchase might score you a discount. 

  • 5. Research HVAC Brands

    Before deciding on a new system, research HVAC brands and see which ones meet your needs and your budget. Your local HVAC Alexandria, VA, company can always make further recommendations based on the brands you end up short-listing. 

  • 6. Ask about Maintenance Plans 

    Routine maintenance plays a major role in A/C efficiency and the longevity of your unit. The costs and ease of ongoing maintenance should factor into the decision behind a new installation. Ask your prospective HVAC contractor about the maintenance plans available for your new unit. 

  • 7. Get Information on Permit Requirements

    Major home installations require a permit from your local building department and an inspection upon completion.  This may seem like an annoying hurdle, but it’s meant to protect homeowners and ensure the work is up to code. Your contractor will need to sign the permit, stating that they are the “responsible party.” That means if any problems like code violations are discovered, your contractor is required by law to correct it. Check in on your local permit requirements and understand that this is an important part of the installation process.

  • 8. Choose an HVAC Partner You Trust

    Just because your new HVAC system is installed doesn’t mean the job is over. You’ll need to work with your HVAC contractor on long-term system maintenance and any time you need repairs. Take the time to research HVAC companies and settle on one you feel comfortable with. A good HVAC contractor will evaluate your home to make sure your new system is designed and installed correctly for your space and individual needs. 

  • 9. Check HVAC Contractor Licensing and Sales Agreements 

    Investigate your state’s licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC companies and ask to see proof that your prospective air conditioning contractor meets them. Homeowners should also ask for a written and signed contract detailing the work, itemized price estimates and the timeline for completion prior to installation or repair work. 

  • 10. A Word on Warranties

    A new heating and air conditioning system is a big investment. Ask your contractor about warranties and compare what’s available from different manufacturers. Many HVAC service companies offer at least a one-year warranty on workmanship. Understanding what you’re entitled to upfront will serve you well if you need repairs or run into any problems with your new unit.