Winter is knocking on the door. Before winter comes in full force, check your heating system to see if it is working properly. If your heating system has developed a problem while sitting idle, have a technician inspect it.
Sometimes, replacing a heating system is a better option than HVAC repair. If your heating system is on its last leg, it makes sense to replace it.
In Lafayette, many homeowners continue to use their old or malfunctioning heating systems during the winter and consider a new heating system a waste of money. They fail to realize that an old or malfunctioning heating system is unreliable and can stop working anytime, leaving them high and dry.
An old heating system needs frequent maintenance and repairs. Many homeowners who use a heating system that has reached the end of its useful life end up paying more on maintenance and repairs than they would have if they had replaced it with a new, energy-efficient system.
A malfunctioning or old heating system can start a house fire or emit dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide. Exposure to CO can cause memory problems, vision and hearing loss, and even death.
There are many different types of heating systems to choose from. Oftentimes, buyers get overwhelmed by too many choices and end up making a purchase decision that they later regret.
When choosing a heating system, consider your household’s heating needs and determine if the system you are considering can meet these needs.
Here are some tips to consider when buying a heating system.
Take the System’s Lifecycle Cost into Account
When calculating the cost of a new heating system, consider its overall lifecycle cost. Determine how much the new system will cost to install and maintain over the course of its expected useful life. This is the true price of the heating system.
While price is an important factor, it should not be the only factor you should consider when buying a new system. If a system has a high upfront cost and a longer lifespan than a more affordable unit and is also perceived as more reliable, it could save you headaches and more money on repairs and maintenance down the road.
Consider the Type of Fuel the System Uses
Some heating systems use different types of fuels such as natural gas, propane, and heating oil, while others use electricity. When determining the best system for your home, consider fuel prices, your location, and other factors at play.
Study the distribution system used by the system you are considering. There are two types of distribution systems: forced air heating systems and hydronic heating systems. Forced air heating systems use air ducts and registers to distribute heat, whereas hydronic heating systems use copper or plastic piping to distribute conditioned air.
Consider the System’s Efficiency
When considering a heating system, learn about its energy performance ratings. A heating system’s energy performance rating measures its overall efficiency. Consider the system’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) – defined as a system’s efficiency in converting fuel to energy.
The energy-efficiency rating of a heating system should not be below 78%. The most efficient heating systems have ratings of 98%.
Choose the Right-sized System
An oversized unit will short cycle and consume more electricity than normal. Your home will heat up quickly and potentially become too hot too fast.
On the other hand, an undersized unit will fail to meet your household’s heating demands. It will consume more energy than usual and can develop serious problems that can cut short its service life.
Have your Lafayette HVAC contractor perform a Manual J calculation. The aim of a Manual J calculation is to determine the right size of heating system for your home.
This calculation considers important factors such as your climate zone, ductwork quality & condition, number & style of windows, quality & amount of insulation, number of residents, and square footage.
Calculate your home’s square footage. Depending on your home’s square footage, your technician will estimate the number of BTUs required to heat your home. Heating systems come with a BTU rating. When buying a heating system, make sure its BTU rating is equal to or more than the number of BTUs required to heat your home.
Learn About Different Types of Heating Systems
Heating systems can be divided into three main categories: direct heating systems, central heating duct, and pipe-based systems, and ductless heating systems.
Direct heating systems do not use an outdoor unit or a duct system to distribute heat. They distribute heat in the immediate area around them and are perfect for small spaces.
A central heating system with ducts can be used to heat several rooms. The ducts of a central heating system run through the ceilings and walls. Duct-based central heating systems use furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers to generate heat.
As the name suggests, ductless heating systems do not have ducts, they are standalone units. A ductless system is usually used to heat a specific area or room. Some heat may make its way to other parts of the house, but it won’t be enough to heat it. Do not expect a single ductless unit to heat a home with multiple bedrooms.
When choosing between these options, evaluate their pros and cons. Direct heating systems cost less upfront and are also relatively less expensive to install, but are typically less efficient than central heating systems.
Adding ducts or pipes to your home will cost you, but is a great way to boost your system’s capability to heat your entire house. Ductless heating systems are easy to install, efficient, and cost less, but require significant maintenance.
Connolly Heating and Air Conditioning are committed to helping homeowners make informed decisions while buying a heating system. Do you need help choosing the right heating system for your home in Lafayette? Schedule an estimate at (925) 288-1408.