Factors to Consider Before Buying and Replacing Your HVAC System

before replacing hvac

Jake Smith, Online Marketing Strategist
Technically Reviewed by Jake Smith, Online Marketing Strategist on Jan 28, 2024 | Written by Alpha Mechanical Editorial Contributors

Whether you are a new homeowner in Sacramento County and surrounding cities, or you’re an established commercial business owner, considering the wear and tear on your HVAC system is an important evaluation to make. An air conditioner is often an overlooked part of the home until something goes wrong that leaves your home in the heat of the day. Your heating unit is also taken for granted on those chilly Sacramento nights. When you’re left with no other option besides buying or replacing, there are important decisions when buying or replacing an HVAC system that you need to take into account. The age of your unit and the weather elements from season to season are fundamental factors for choosing an HVAC system.

It can be overwhelming to continuously invest in repairing your unit when it breaks down. In the long run, there comes a point in which replacing the unit altogether becomes the most necessary thing to do. HVAC cliches aside, one of the hardest parts of making this decision comes when discerning if you have reached that point yet or not. This article is your guide to sort through the details and questions to ask when buying a new HVAC system or replacing your current one. We will unpack each factor to give you a better sense of the right step to take.

Factor #1 Assessing Your Current HVAC System

There are a few tips to consider before replacing HVAC system such as the age of your unit, size of your home, frequency and cost of repairs and so on. Depending on the priority of your home, the greatest factor to contemplate would be the cost of repairs and the age of your unit. If your unit is more than 10 years old and you are consistently pouring hundreds of dollars into servicing your HVAC unit, the ratio between the age and cost might amount to investing into a new unit as the better choice. The HVAC system replacement cost might be higher initially until you take into consideration the frequency of the repairs required to keep your current unit up and running.

Age and Efficiency

Before buying a new HVAC system, if your unit is around 6-9 years old, there is still life left in your initial investment. The average lifespan of an air conditioner is between 14-16 years with furnaces lasting a few additional years depending on the maintenance and upkeep. Another aspect with HVAC system lifespan considerations is its efficiency for your home. HVAC system efficiency factors to examine is if your energy bill has increased or fluctuated considerably since the previous years, replacing your unit with newer, labor-saving equipment is the best move. A new unit will also provide a new warranty, eliminating your worry and cost on unexpected repairs in the Sacramento weather.

Performance and Comfort

One of the major components that contribute to the performance, cost and comfort of your unit is the size. When deciding between replacing and repairing, you have to consider that a unit too small will be unable to effectively heat or cool your home while a unit too big will overwork, leading you to dictate the perfect size. Should you be in need of finding a Fair Oaks HVAC contractor, we have technicians ready to analyze your unit and answer any questions. Ultimately a HVAC consultant will determine the cost of the air conditioner and heating system that you are looking for within your budget and specific needs. When the performance is the direct result of the size, the amount of power needed to operate the heating and cooling will need to be considered. This is measured in tons (not in weight but in power) between 1-5. The larger your home, the more tons it will require which could essentially require two units to get the job done right

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Factor #2 Choosing the Right Product

Coming soon in 2030, California HVAC consumers will no longer be able to purchase gas furnaces, although the parts will still exist for repairs. PG&E gas prices have increased drastically in the last couple of years and those prices aren’t going anywhere. In California, there are rebates such as $3,500 SMUD Rebate, $2,000 Federal Tax Credit, and $1,000 CA Clean Tech offered to homeowners to switch their equipment to a more efficient option. This is something to keep in mind when you are choosing the next HVAC equipment for your home.

There are HVAC units that you can choose ranging from your own priority of comfortable to affordable. One of the things to consider before buying and installing a new HVAC system are the stipulations involved and the condition of your home. The minimum requirements that must be met when placing a new HVAC unit in a home include the size of the unit, following building codes, BTU (British Thermal Unit) load for the unit, AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), and SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio) rating required in the Sacramento California region. These are critical things that have to be met, however, there are also energy efficient HVAC options that go above and beyond the minimum. Residential HVAC design services render immaculate customization for the comfort and layout of your home.

Super Efficient

The Super Efficient, also known as the “comfort grade” systems, the highest grade includes variable speed equipment by producing steady cooling or heating instead of shutting on and off in cycles which in turn decreases the energy needed to keep it going. These types of units are generally the most expensive, most comfortable, and offer the most customization for your home which is the wiser choice when you are planning to live in the home for 10 years or more. The key benefit to these units is their energy-efficiency with gas prices being as costly as they are in California. With variable speed equipment operating at 20-18 SEER AC and heat pump rates. When searching for HVAC system upgrade considerations the comfort grade is the solution for you.

High Efficient

This is the standard HVAC unit which provides average efficiency, offers standard warranties, and less customization for your home. While there are more eco-friendly HVAC solutions, the mid grade units present a reasonable price and lifelong expense.These high efficiency machines are multi-stage equipment with 16-17 SEER AC and heat pump ratings. The gas furnaces run between 97-92% efficiency condensate levels and there are modulating gas valves with variable speed fans to choose from. Mid grade is more popular and very possible for mobile home air conditioner installation as well.

Standard Efficient

The standard or builder grade HVAC equipment reaches the bare minimum requirements and is typically arranged for homebuilders looking for the cheapest home mechanical system. The standard grade is a single stage piece of equipment with 14-15 SEER AC/heat pump rating which runs at 81-78% efficiency. The furnaces have single stage gas valves and still offer multi speed fans. These are usually the units that landlords purchase when replacing their rental homes HVAC or for high volume building projects which means there are few comfort options or customization and HVAC system warranty coverage. So long as you consider HVAC replacement guidelines, you can more effectively determine the grade you are looking for within your home.

Factor #3 Technology and Special Features

HVAC technology today offers a variety of upgrades to give you a more relaxed and restful home life. Zoned controls and smart thermostats and everything in between give you greater jurisdiction over each room and level of your Sacramento, CA home. Before replacing your HVAC system with the basic unit, consider the luxury of regulating your thermostat by an app in your phone or being notified before a repair needs to be addressed.

Smart HVAC Systems

Designed to predict when maintenance is necessary before any malfunctioning or damage takes place within your unit. Sensing data on the function of your equipment will help you to remember when your unit needs routine maintenance to get your HVAC tune-up in Sacramento scheduled in good time

Efficiency – Traditional vs Variable Speed Technology

HVAC units consume about 50% of the energy in the home and about 35% in a commercial building. The biggest energy consumer in the HVAC equipment is the compressor. Therefore, if your unit is able to adjust the speed than energy is saved substantially. During mild seasons, the compressor does not need to run at full capacity which reduces the energy consumed as well. A traditional or single speed compressor is less efficient and louder because it does not provide the option to adjust the speed. Variable or multi-stage unit uses inverter compressors and goes hand and hand with solar panels as well which is a great option for your California home, offsetting the energy cost.

Trane comfort variable speed compressors have 700 speeds which modulates the speed of the compressor and indoor fan to match the internal heat load or cooling load demand between the outside temperatures and your indoor thermostat. The temperature set point is maintained within 0.5F degree precision. The system operates much longer, mixing the air constantly and yet still consuming less energy. In such cases, variable speed technology is more efficient.

Smart Thermostats

Another bang-for-your-buck feature is a smart thermostat which allows you to schedule your thermostat settings for different times throughout your day, conserving energy and only using your system when you need to.

Zoned Controls

One of the important things to know before buying a new HVAC system is whether you have people in your home who run a little on the colder or hotter side and desire to have a room that best fits their preference.If you have rooms that vary in temperature and are causing your existing unit to overwork, zoned controls give you the power to set the temperature for each individual living space. Zoning is best used for multi level homes and large spaces that have different outdoor wall exposures.

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Factor #4 Budget and Cost Considerations

Whether you are buying a new home or you are buying your first HVAC system, you are investing into the air and easement that comes from your home each time that you rest.

Factors such as the location and blueprint of your home, the grade and capacity, and special features attachments you are looking for will alter the cost. Depending on if you are looking for a low maintenance unit or one that you more regularly will need to service it. Other overlooked expenses and things to look for when replacing HVAC includes if your home needs changes to ductwork, wiring, vents and controls.

Before buying a new air conditioner or furnace, you need to create a budget that also fits the structure of your home. The ordinary cost of buying a new unit scales between $9,000 to $20,000. What to know before buying a new HVAC system though is whether or not the company you are purchasing from offers warranties or insurance and whether or not their technicians are certified. It is important to gather a few estimates of their HVAC system replacement cost and purchasing a new unit as well as their installation guidelines and offers for the Sacramento area.

Factor #5 Professional Installation

There are so many HVAC companies out there but fewer who bring trustworthy expertise and value for your money. Choosing the right company to purchase and install your new HVAC mechanics with can be an immense task but there are important things to look for when buying a new HVAC system from a business. Learning about the warranties and maintenance requirements will be crucial in making these decisions so that you know what is expected from you as well when buying or replacing a new unit.

Full Service HVAC Company

These include larger companies that are well established in the region and render a range of services. Full Service companies have the resources, technicians, and supplies for proper HVAC, furnace, and heat pump replacement in Sacramento. They typically offer financial options, experienced and quality centered, and 24/7 customer service care.

Reputable HVAC Business

Service technicians may not specialize in one area but may also be the dispatchers and installers. These companies are more hit and miss on full term customer service but they do not lack in proficiency. There is usually another company where they source inventory rather than owning their own warehouse with direct manufacturer support.

Individual HVAC Technician

Homeowners are able to purchase HVAC equipment online or elsewhere, however, established companies will not generally install these units. The warranty is usually not honored and they might lack the training to that specific brand.

Summing Up

There are several moving pieces in the HVAC machine that come together to make the decision of buying or replacing an important investment. You’re going to want to survey your home and find out the in’s and out’s of what you have to determine the best way to get to where you want to be in terms of your comfort and basic HVAC needs in your home.

Choosing the right company to install and provide AC repair in Sacramento can be crucial to your overall satisfaction with your heating and cooling system.

Assessing the size of the unit, the age and performance of your current unit, what newer systems have to offer are the puzzle pieces that, when you’ve hired a top notch HVAC company and answered the question of “how does a HVAC heat pump work,” you can sit back and watch it fall into place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose a heat pump system over gas electric?

Within the next 5 years, California homeowners will no longer be able to purchase gas furnaces due to the ecological damage they ensue. With PG&E gas prices increasing every year, switching to a heat pump system will provide a more efficient system and rebates are being offered to those who make that switch.

What can I expect to pay for a HVAC system replacement?

Most home improvements and renovations do cost money. It’s best to get multiple quotes. Remember you’re making a one time investment that will last you at least 15 years. Break down your initial investment by 180 months and the justification to spend makes more sense. Plus there are many financing options that can help you with the purchase. $9,000-20,000

Why should I consider buying a variable speed system?

Variable speed systems, while a greater investment upfront, will over time reduce your energy consumption and costs especially when paired with solar panels. These non-traditional options provide a system that uses less exertion to run at optimized levels and offers you the greatest comfort settings for your home.

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