Choosing a new HVAC system involves a series of decisions that will affect the comfort and lifetime costs of cooling and heating your home. To ensure you make the best decisions to meet your needs, it’s important to work with an HVAC professional that can provide information on best practices for HVAC sizing, selection and installation.
HVAC System Types
The most popular HVAC systems in U.S. homes are forced-air systems. They use a network of ducts to supply conditioned air to the home, and return airflow is cooled or heated by the system. This cycle continues until the thermostat set point is reached. Following are popular forced-air HVAC systems:
- Furnace – Most furnaces use natural gas to heat the home. Propane and oil may also be used as an energy source.
- A/C – Central A/C systems are often paired with furnaces to provide home cooling using an evaporator coil and shared blower.
- Heat pumps – Heat pump systems operate much like A/Cs. Though, heat pumps work in reverse to provide energy-efficient home heating, in addition to home cooling.
Efficiency ratings can help you estimate the lifetime costs of HVAC equipment, rather than making a decision based on the initial cost alone. The lifetime cost is the sum of the estimated energy usage, maintenance, repairs, purchase and installation. Keep an eye on the following efficiency ratings when shopping:
- The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating indicates the efficiency of a furnace as a percentage. For example, a 97 AFUE means that 97 percent of energy input is converted to home heating.
- The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a factor of energy input to cooling output during the cooling season. SEER is used for A/Cs and heat pumps.
- The heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) is a factor of energy input to heating output during the heating season.
The higher the rating number for HSPF and SEER, the greater efficiency and energy savings.
For assistance choosing a new HVAC system, contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling today. We’ve provided HVAC solutions for Portland area homeowners for nearly 40 years.