While buying a new home, most of us are more interested in the condition of cabinets, floor treatments, countertops, ceiling and plumbing fixture. We forget an essential part of the house, and that’s the heating and cooling system. Most people immediately feel dissatisfied just a few weeks or months after moving in. But there are few things about HVAC, particularly the air conditioner, that you should familiarize yourself with while buying. Here is a checklist of the essential features of an HVAC system:
HVAC System Key Features
• The design and type of ductwork
This is a crucial feature that you should inspect while buying a new home. Most important is the sizing of the ducts. If you find that the ducts are not sized and balanced properly, you won’t get the full efficiency from the unit. Your home will never be comfortable if it’s fitted with long runs of the flexible ducting. If possible, go for externally insulated round ducts since they are more efficient.
• The refrigerant
This is another key feature that you need to check. First, there are types of refrigerant that are fading out of the market, such as R-22, due to their inefficiencies and environmental pollution. I would recommend that you go for the ones using R-410A, which is environmentally friendly. R-410A is also known for higher efficiency.
• The location of the indoor unit
The location of the indoor unit is likely to inconvenience some of the activities in the house. First, it should be mounted where it’s easily accessible for servicing. It would be difficult to service a unit if one is struggling to reach it. Note that some units may start leaking if they become faulty and thus you need to mount them in areas where a leakage won’t cause other damage to your home. It should not be installed anywhere near the ceiling. Also, an indoor AC unit should not be mounted close to the floor like a furnace.
The efficiency of the unit is will determine its running cost. That’s why it is important to have a system with a higher efficiency to ensure that you don’t have too high energy bills. Efficiency is also important to ensure your appliance remains economical for a period. To get the efficiency of the unit right, check the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings. The lowest you should go is 13, but we recommend the highest SEER rating available- some AC units have a SEER of 20. The initial buying cost may be high, but the economic benefits of a higher SEER are immense.
• The Condenser Coil Type
For an extended useful life of the HVAC such as air conditioners, you need to check the type of condenser coils used. It’s more economical to go for coils made from metals such as aluminium or copper. Such metals are known to be more efficient and last longer, especially in wet places. They are not prone to rust. For areas prone to salty water spray, coated coils are recommended.