The central heating and air conditioning unit is an important aspect of any home, so choosing a unit is a process you shouldn’t take lightly. If your home is equipped with a HVAC unit that is over a decade old, you could be paying nearly 30 to 50 percent more on your annual heating and cooling costs than if you purchased a new unit. Here are a few things you should consider when buying a new HVAC unit for your house.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating

One of the most important things to consider when buying a new unit for your home is its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher its efficiency, the better performance it will have when heating and cooling your house. A SEER rating between 10 and 16 is generally high enough to keep the average person comfortable throughout the year. If you can afford a unit with a higher rating, you can save even more money in the long term because it will keep your average energy bill even lower.

British Thermal Units

The next thing you want to look at is the BTUs of your unit. This is a measurement of how much heat it can remove per hour. If you have a large house, you’ll want a unit with a higher BTU rating. Sometimes sellers and manufacturers use the term “ton” to rate air conditioning units. This is the equivalent to 12,000 BTUs. When trying to determine the BTU rating you need, consider

• the size of your home,
• the number of windows your home has,
• how much of your home is in the shade, and
• the number of appliances in your home that release heat.

Noise Factor

One thing that most homeowners don’t consider is the noise factor of their new unit. Some models are quieter than others, but the noise level is rated in decibels on most units. When considering appropriate decibel level for your unit, think about your surroundings. For example, consider your proximity to your neighbors. If your homes are close together, choosing a unit with a lower decibel level may be the considerate thing to do. Also, if you have an outside window located close to your unit, the sound is likely to travel inside. In this situation, you may need a quieter unit for your own sanity.

No matter what unit you choose, always remember to have your new unit professionally installed by HVAC contractors. Failure to install the unit correctly can shorten its life span and compromise its ability to control the temperature in your home.