Are you thinking about buying a heating system for your home? If so, you’re more than likely scratching your head at the massive amount of options and technical jargon you have to sift through, especially if this is your first time installing a system in your home or if you haven’t upgraded your existing one in a long while.
With that in mind, we have created a list of the top questions you should ask your heating services contractor when buying a heating system for your home so that you can make sure you have all the bases covered.
Typically, heating systems require a considerable upfront investment, which is why it’s important to get the right solution. In addition to this, your heating system uses more energy than any other system in your home, making up around 42% of your utility bill, which is another reason why it’s crucial to choose wisely. With all that said, let’s get into the questions.
Consider the different options when buying a heating system
First, you need to have a good think about what type of heating system you want to install in your home. If you haven’t upgraded your heating system in a while, you may be surprised to see all of the new options available; after all, technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.
Before you look at the various heating methods, it’s a good idea to decide what fuel you want to heat your home with. Here are the main types:
- Natural gas
- Fuel oil
After you’ve got your desired fuel in mind, it’s time to consider the different heating systems available to you. According to the US Department of Energy, here are the main options to consider when buying a heating system:
* It’s worth noting that each of these heating methods can be broken down into further subcategories, so make sure you do further research before deciding the best system for you
- Furnace and boiler systems
- Electric resistance heating
- Active solar heating
- Heat distribution systems
- Radiant heating
- Wood and pellet heating
Ask for energy efficiency options
One of the most important questions to ask when buying a heating system is its energy efficiency. As we have touched upon, these systems make up the vast majority of your utility bill, so whatever option you decide to go with, it is going to make a considerable impact on your future spending.
Generally, the most energy-efficient options are going to be the ones with newer technology, and as you might already have guessed, they are more expensive than older models. However, if you are looking to save your pennies, you might want to think twice before you pick up the cheapest option you can get your hands on.
Even if you save money with a cheaper model, you will almost always pay more in the long run due to the less efficient models’ increased energy expenditure.
Ask about the AFUE rating
The US Department of Energy sets the Efficiency Rating standards under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987. The act requires all heating systems to display their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which is given in a percentage. The higher the number, the more energy-efficient it is.
The great thing about this new standard is how easy it is to understand. An AFUE rating of 95% means that for every dollar spent on energy, 95 cents of it will go towards heating. The best advice is to install a model with as high an AFUE rating as you can afford, as you will make plenty of savings in the long run.
Find the right size heating system for your home
When buying a heating system, it’s vital to find one that is the right fit for your home. If you install a system that is too small, it won’t be able to heat your home effectively, which means you may end up feeling a little cold in the winter.
In addition to his, the system will have to run a lot harder to try and cool or heat the space to the desired temperature, which in turn will put a lot more strain on the device. This will almost definitely increase the amount of wear and tear it receives and will reduce its longevity.
Conversely, if you install a system that’s too big, you will be wasting a lot of money unnecessarily, both in installation costs and on your utility bill. The large system will be consuming far too much energy to provide heating/cooling for a smaller space.
On top of this, because the heating system will likely reach its desired temperature rather quickly, it will constantly be turning itself on and off, which could cause further issues down the line.
Ask if you need to upgrade your venting system
If this is the first time you’ve upgraded your heating system in a while, you need to ask about your vents’ condition. The vents are what’s going to carry your air around your home, so if there is any problem with them, you need to know about it.
At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to have the air conditioning repair services take a look at it and assess whether or not they need maintenance or replacement.
Ask about maintenance
One question that everybody forgets to ask is about maintenance. Most people get their new system installed and have the “set and forget” mindset. However, if you want to keep your new system in tip-top shape for as long as possible, you must give it regular maintenance.
Depending on the type of system you have, this could mean changing the air filters at least once every couple of months, cleaning the air conditioner and evaporator coils, and making sure the condensate drains are not clogged.
If you’re not sure how to do this properly, you should ask your contractor about furnace repair, installation & maintenance services near to you.
Ask how to pair your new system with a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats are simply a must-have nowadays. They allow you to set a timer for when you want your heating system turned on and off, and you can even set what temperature you want it to be at certain times of the day.
This is great if you spend a large portion of your time out of the house, as you don’t need to leave your unit running unnecessarily for the whole day while you’re out at work.
Luckily, you can now get apps on your mobile phone, which allow you to program your thermostat from just about anywhere. Make sure you ask about getting it linked up with your new system.
Ask about financing and incentives
When you’re considering your options, don’t forget to check out whether or not you could take advantage of a tax incentive or rebate for picking up a certain model.
There are both state and federal schemes that offer rebates, incentives, and discounts to people who opt for systems with higher energy efficiency. Check-in with your local utility or state energy office to see if you qualify.
Ask about the life expectancy of the heating system
It’s always a good idea to ask about your new heating system’s life expectancy so you can try and gauge any upcoming costs in the future. In general, most HVAC systems will last between 15 to 25 years, but it all depends on the type of heating system you get and the fuel it uses.
Ask your contractor about the average longevity of the system you wish to purchase and if there is anything you can do to improve this number. After all, your heating system is one of the most expensive systems in your house, so it’s better to take care of it as best you can.
Ask about your indoor air quality
Buying a heating system presents a great opportunity to ask about your indoor air quality. We often overlook the importance of having high-quality breathing air in our home, and neglect to take steps to improve it.
Ask your contractor about your air quality’s current state and what system would be best to improve it. If you have pets or smoke indoors, it’s highly advised you install high-quality air filters that catch out all the allergens, bacteria, and dust in the air.
This is even more important if you have young children or if anyone in the house suffers from asthma.
Buying a new heating system can be a daunting task, especially because of the hefty price tag that purchasing and installing one comes with. This is why it’s important to make sure you ask all the right questions and ensure that you’re getting the perfect option for your home. This means choosing the correct heating method, size, and energy efficiency.