When it comes to home comfort, reliable heating and air conditioning systems make all the difference. Several factors can be considered when determining who is the “best”.

You don’t need to be an expert to shop for an HVAC system. However, you should know your needs and the individual components that can help meet them. Below are six key factors to consider when shopping for a new heating and air conditioning system.

  • Energy Efficiency: This is a very important thing for most homeowners. The more energy-efficient the HVAC system, the more money you can save. The energy-efficient model works less to cool and heat your home, therefore utility bills get reduced. To evaluate energy efficiency, note the system’s “SEER” rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. In Florida the bare minimum SEER rating a homeowner can buy is 14 Seer, However, the more efficient central AC systems are rated 18 to 20 Seer.
  • Warranty: A good HVAC warranty usually lasts 5 years for commercial and 10 years for residential equipment. But remember this is a part and labor warranty. With most name brand manufactures, the manufacturer covers the cost to replace faulty parts during this period, but the warranty does not always cover labor costs. When shopping, always ask for full warranty details. If warranties are super important to you, you can potentially purchase an extended warranty. It is a good idea to look for companies that offer extended labor warranties on installed equipment. This can potentially reflect the workmanship of a company.
  • Cost: It is important to consider the initial system cost and ensure you stick to your immediate budget. You should also consider long-term costs associated with the system’s energy efficiency and the durability of a system. The way things are built and materials used can have a significant effect on the length of a system’s life and efficiency. Going cheaper on the front end is not always better long term.
  • Sound Rating: To understand the amount of sound an HVAC system makes, look for the decibel rating on its label. Most systems range from 25-55 decibels, which isn’t much louder than an older refrigerator. If you live in a smaller home where the system is close to bedroom windows, you may want to look for a quieter sound rating in that 25-35 decibel range.
  • Customer Reviews: By reading other buyers’ opinions, you can gain valuable insight into an HVAC system. Manufacturers often list reviews on their website, and you can also read reviews on retailer sites such as Home Depot and by simply googling a brand. Look for detailed reviews that list the customer’s home type, budget, and location. Remember that the most important factor for a successful HVAC installation is the people installing it. Be careful not to let reviews that reflect poor installation come down on a brand name.
  • Advanced Features: The Internet and other smart technologies have entered some HVAC systems, providing advanced features to make your home as comfortable as possible. Some of the best central air conditioner brands of 2020 offer models that include smart thermostats, sound reduction, automated system monitoring, and even radar to track the weather. With American Standard and Trane’s Nexia line, the homeowner can now even link doorbells, locks, cameras and even light bulbs to a single thermostat. You may not need all the bells and whistles, but some advanced features are well worth the price and help make the system more efficient.

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