Getting a new HVAC system installed is a great way to improve your energy bill and more efficiently heat and cool your house. This process involves more than just new equipment, however, and with the right components, maintenance, and scheduling, you can make the absolute best out of your new installation.
Have Your Ducts Cleaned, Repaired, or Replaced
If you're hoping for a boost in energy efficiency with your new HVAC system, the air being carried to every room in your house depends just as much on your ducts as it does your air conditioner or furnace. If your ducts are old, worn, or damaged, you may lose air through gaps or holes in your ducts. The air may also not retain as much of its cold or warmth due to failing insulation. Old and inefficient ducts will negate many of the benefits of having a new air conditioner and furnace installed.
If your ducts are mostly in good shape but have suffered some damage, which can often occur due to pest infestations, you may benefit from having your ducts cleaned instead. In a mostly closed system, your ducts won't get anything more than a little dusty, but with big enough gaps you could get more dirt and debris, mold, or rodent waste. These in turn can cause your home to get very dusty or for those living in your home to experience allergic reactions.
Before you have your system installed, have an at-home consultation where your ducts are inspected, then ask your HVAC technician what they recommend. Having your ducts in optimal working order is the best way to experience everything your new system has to offer.
Install More Efficient Components
Beyond just installing new air conditioning and furnace units, your HVAC technician can do everything from installing a new thermostat to changing your vents. The extra cost is often very much worth the end result, especially if you're replacing much older components.
To start, switching to a smart home thermostat by itself can save you over a hundred dollars a year. Some of this is due to being able to set a temperature for the thermostat to hold itself at automatically, but advanced scheduling features let you set up variations in temperature depending on the day, or even time of day. A good way to use this is to schedule your heater to turn on at lower temperatures during hours when you're at work or overnight when you're in bed.
Another feature to look for in your HVAC system is a filter check light, which will typically turn on after a certain number of hours. This is a helpful reminder to replace your filter before it gets too dirty, which will keep your whole system in good shape.
Depending on your setup, you may also benefit from a variable speed air handler, which keeps your system running constantly rather than cycling on and off. This runs your system at lower fan speeds, which can save money over time and keep your home at a more consistent temperature. Ask your HVAC technician what components would work well with your home.
Save Money Where You Can
Getting a new HVAC system installed isn't cheap, but even if what you're after is comfortably within your budget, there are still several ways to save money, especially if you are flexible with when you want your system installed.
First, see if there are any utility company rebates or government tax credits available. These will often be offered as incentives to buy newer energy-efficient air conditioners and heaters, and in many cases can be stacked.
Second, see if you qualify for any government grants for home improvement. The requirements for specific grants may be a little strict, but it's worth the time to see if you can qualify for one. Good places to start are the National Residential Improvement Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Third, schedule your HVAC installation for some time during the fall or spring. These periods of more temperate weather make up the "off season" for HVAC installers; since demand is lower, your installation costs may also drop. This may not be the case for all contractors, however, so you should still do your due diligence when shopping around.