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8 Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New AC or Furnace

When it’s time to replace your air conditioner or furnace, you may feel overwhelmed by all the choices available to you. By avoiding the following pitfalls, you can make a wise decision that will be worth the expense.

1. Going For the Lowest Price

Most often, a higher efficiency model can save you more money over time than will the cheapest option. With a high efficiency model, you can save about $300 per year for the 12 to 15 years your system is likely to last.

2. Getting Just One Estimate

Since every HVAC company’s fees are different, you’ll want to get more than one estimate in order to compare service contracts, permits and installation costs.

3. Buying the Wrong Size Equipment

Quite a few homeowners get the wrong size heating and air conditioning equipment, which results in high utility bills, mold buildup, damaged equipment and an inefficient system that creates an uncomfortable atmosphere.

4. Ignoring SEER

The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating lets consumers know how efficient a particular HVAC system is. Go for a SEER rating of at least 13, and ideally 16 or higher. This can cut your energy bills significantly.

5. Missing Rebates

Many manufacturers and states offer rebates to those who purchase energy efficient HVAC systems. These rebates can be significant and can sometimes be up to $1500. Ask your contractor about rebates or visit www.dsireusa.org.

6. Not Getting a Maintenance Contract

Annual maintenance is important in order to keep your HVAC system working its best. Dirt, dust and debris build up in a system over time, and when these aren’t cleaned out, your system can become less efficient. This can result in parts breaking down and an increase in your energy bill. A maintenance contract ensures your company will perform thorough maintenance every year.

7. Getting Outdated Refrigerant

Any new unit produced after 2009 is restricted from using R-22, often called Refrigerant®, due to its ozone-depleting properties. Make sure your new system uses an approved refrigerant like R-410A.

8. Not Using Professionals

Some companies use high school students to work with mechanics, but neither the mechanic nor the student specializes in the type of system being installed. When this happens, either your estimate or the installation may be delayed. In case you get a company that doesn’t follow through with the job in time, include a 5% penalty in the agreement.

If you’re looking to invest in a new heating or air conditioning system, avoid these pitfalls and make a smart purchase that will keep your home feeling comfortable.

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