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How to Shop for an HVAC Unit


It’s Been Years Since I Shopped for a New Heating and Cooling System. What Changes in Technology and Equipment Do I Need to Know About?

Every few months, when the newest version of some popular smartphone is released, fans line up outside of stores to make sure they have the latest and greatest technology before anybody else, even if they just bought a new phone less than a year ago! And few people today would be happy using televisions or computers that are more than a decade old.

But when it comes to HVAC systems, many homes still have the equivalent of a “dumb” flip-phone or a big, boxy “tube” TV. Just like with phones and televisions, major advancements in HVAC technology and equipment have been made in the last ten to twenty years. So if you haven’t shopped for a new HVAC since before phones got cameras in them, here are a few exciting new options to look for.

High-efficiency systems: New high-efficiency HVAC systems use far less energy to heat and cool your home than the older models did. Older furnaces on average convert 80% of fuel energy to heat, while newer, high-efficiency models convert 95% or more, meaning much less energy is wasted in the heating process. New high-efficiency air conditioners, meanwhile, use so much less electricity than older models that they can decrease utility bills by up to 20%.

Variable speed fans/blowers: Previously, the fan or blower in an HVAC system generally had two speeds: on and off. But variable speed fans are actually able to speed up or slow down. A variable speed fan can run slowly to maintain a comfortable temperature—or speed up to quickly heat or cool the house when needed.

Dual fuel heat pump: This system combines the best features of both an electric heat pump and a gas furnace. At temperatures above 35 degrees, the electric heat pump provides extremely energy efficient heating, but when the temperature drops below 35, the gas furnace takes over, making sure you stay warm and cozy on the coldest nights.

These are only a few of the great innovations available today that can improve the efficiency and comfort of your home. Our phones have gotten smarter—isn’t it time your HVAC system got smarter too?