So many choices, so many things to consider. It may seem like a Herculean and tedious task to study all the makes, models, and brands of HVACs for you home – but, if you spend some time doing your research, you can get exactly what you want. That equals comfort for your home for years down the line and can pay off if you know your stuff before you buy. A major factor for consumers is the price tag and when it comes to understanding HVAC prices, we are here to help you decide which unit to buy for your home.
You Get What You Pay For
A basic HVAC system may come cheaper but will only fulfill your home’s basic heating and cooling needs. A top-of-the-line HVAC comes at a much higher price – but also has outstanding benefits. For most homeowners, you’ll be choosing somewhere in the range between.
Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, says there are three basic things to consider when looking for a new HVAC system and its price – efficiency, noise levels and ease of maintenance.
Higher efficiency costs more. A quieter unit costs more. And if it’s easier to maintain (uses better-made parts), it will also cost more upfront, but can pay off with how often you’ll need to call someone to service it.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself in each category to help prioritize what’s important to your purchase.
How much energy does it use to cool or heat your home to the optimal temperature? Will it need to work harder to maintain comfort? Depending on the climate you live in, how often do you need to turn on your furnace or AC to keep you comfortable? Will having a high-efficiency model save you more money on energy costs in the long run compared to the initial money saved buying a standard model? Is saving money upfront or over time more important to you?
How noisy is the unit? Are there items built in to keep noise to a minimum? Do you wake up when your HVAC kicks on or sleep right through it? Does a nearly silent HVAC system matter to you?
Ease of Maintenance
How long do you expect your new HVAC system to last? Are the parts well made and use higher quality materials? Will you be doing basic maintenance yourself or calling a professional to service your HVAC unit? Are you OK with paying more to service a high-efficiency HVAC system, knowing that the quality parts are more expensive to purchase, but the labor is about the same and break down less frequently? (To save you some homework, we’ve done the price comparison when it comes to fixing high-efficiency HVACs vs. standard models.)
“There are big differences in all of these areas so do not assume -- do your homework,” Keith says. “Even if you don’t plan on running it very much so high efficiency is not an issue, you will still need to maintain it and you will want it to meet your expectations on sound levels.”
Keith says additional “advanced” considerations are multistage and variable speed units, which provide even higher efficiencies, lower sound levels when operating at lower speeds, and do a much better job of dehumidifying.
“These are by far the best units but [they] come with a higher price tag,” says Keith. “In my opinion, it’s money well spent.”
For a general overview on what people have spent on heating and cooling projects, check out this guide on the HomeAdvisor website. And for more information on the products at Stay Comfy Heating and Air Conditioning, you can check out our products page.