As much as half of a home’s energy use can come from powering an HVAC system, so when you’re looking for a new heating and cooling system, choose one that fits both your comfort and your budget. Though the HVAC market has a wide range of products available, prepare yourself to make an informed decision by learning beforehand about the HVAC systems available. The infographic below, published by Davis Air Conditioning & Heating, is a good place to start.
Different features of an HVAC system can affect both its energy efficiency and its price, among them its SEER rating and whether it is a single-stage or a multi-stage model. Higher SEER ratings, especially on multi-stage systems, can mean a higher-priced HVAC system, but such systems will save you money in the long run.
Be sure to pay attention to both AFUE and SEER ratings when choosing a new HVAC system. The first measures the efficiency of boilers and furnaces, the second cooling output. The government-backed Energy Star rating scale can point you to systems that will provide the most energy efficiency for your money.
Modern heating systems can attain as much as 97 percent efficiency, depending on your choice of system. Furnaces can run on propane, natural gas, or electricity, whereas heat pumps operate using a heat transfer system and require minimal electricity. Similarly, modern air conditioners can be as much as 50 percent more efficient than models from the 1970s. Finally, consider whether you want central air, ductless air, or a heat pump — which can both heat and cool your home.