Last Updated on September 8, 2022 by Andrew Giermak
The air in your house is regulated by the HVAC system, which includes the air conditioning and heating. If you’ve done a good job with scheduled maintenance throughout the life of the system, with checks twice a year, it’s most likely your HVAC is in good, reliable condition. Still, if a system’s getting up there in years, up to about 15 years for many systems, there could be efficiency issues. The same goes for systems with low-quality components or which haven’t been given the right maintenance. There are some basic HVAC upgrade options to consider for improving your HVAC’s efficiency, extend its life or give it additional health-related abilities you might wish or need to have for your specific needs.
On the other hand, if it’s been a while since the last HVAC check in your home, the system is probably in need of service, replacement parts and cleaning. This may be the right time to upgrade your HVAC. What do you need? There’s not a single answer. It depends on your home, your family, your indoor environment, your air quality and other individualized issues. Take a look at these common upgrade ideas for your heating and cooling system.
All HVAC systems have filters as part of the airflow process from bringing in outdoor air to sending the air into your home. HVAC filters filter airborne particles, contaminants and matter such as mold, mildew, hai
r and dust. This filtering protects the system and gives the people in the house some relief.
You might be thinking about, or even needing, a stronger filter. Filters have a score, a MERV rating. MERV is Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and it ranges from 1-20. The higher the rating, the more filtration is being done. For most home HVAC units, a filter with a MERV from 5-10 is recommended.
Certainly, if interior air quality (IAQ) is a higher priority for you, there are means to modify a HVAC system so it’s compatible with a HEPA filter. HEPA means High Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter will give your home hospital-level filtration ability and air quality. HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particulates to as small as 0.3 microns.
If your HVAC system can’t be modified to work with a HEPA filter, there are other potential answers including a whole-home air filter.
A manual thermostat can lead to inefficient or just plain uncomfortable heating and cooling. New smart or programmable thermostats are more exact. These newer thermostats have a lot of features to make your HVAC system as efficient as possible. There are custom settings, with the ability to change the thermostat and your home climate from anywhere.
From anything from a typical day at work to a long vacation, you can control your heating and cooling anytime, anywhere. If you’ve programmed it ahead of time, it will efficiently save energy while no one’s home. For most models now, even if you didn’t set it before leaving, you can use a phone, tablet or computer to control everything. Saving on energy can in effect pay for the new thermostat fairly quickly.
Just like other home upgrades, a smart thermostat and more efficient HVAC system may be improvements to your home value, too. Even if you’re not a high-tech person, new thermostats and apps are easy to learn and use. A pro technician can show you how to use it so it’s easy and efficient.
Since you don’t often see the ductwork in your house, it’s very often out of mind. It’s easy to entirely forget about it until there’s a major problem.
Not all upgrades are just about the heat or air conditioning. Similarly important to the whole system is where the air comes from and how the airflow moves in the house. This is why ducts are important. Ductwork is the system of pipes in the ceilings, walls and floors and it connects everything in the HVAC system.
Ducts can become dirty (smelly, unhealthy, inefficient) or damaged. Especially over the course of years, wear from weather, animals or just parts getting old, can cause cracks, leaks, small losses of air that become larger and more inefficient over time. It’s actually a waste of money for you.
Cleaning, fixing or upgrading ductwork, even if you don’t need a total HVAC replacement, can bring the efficiency back to new. It can be a major help with other issues such as allergens, pollen, mold, dust, animal debris and pet dander. You can look into installing in-duct air purifiers as one more line of defense to keep your indoor air the best it can be.
Zone Heating and Cooling
Does your family argue about it being too hot or too cold? Does the thermostat for the living room somehow change all the time? If everyone wants a different temperature, a potential upgrade is to put in a zoned HVAC system.
Most homes have one overall ductwork system. This means everywhere in the house has the same heating and cooling setting. It also means airflow in one part of the house can be much different than another area of the house.
In a new zone system, dampers let you set different settings in different zones. Each person’s bedroom can be different. The kitchen, say while a hot oven is on, can be set cooler. Rooms or floors not used often can have energy-efficient settings in place.
Given that heat rises, a common example in two-story homes is usually having different temperatures upstairs and downstairs. A zone HVAC system lets you have specific settings by floor, or by however you set the zones, for the best climate comfort for everyone.
At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.