With winter right around the corner, now's the time to have your home's heating system inspected and tuned up by a certified HVAC technician. Failure to do so can mean missing the opportunity to repair red flag items that contribute to higher energy consumption and unnecessary wear-and-tear on mechanical parts. This annual maintenance call may also trigger the alarm that it's time to replace your heating system.
How to Prepare for Replacing the Heating System
If it's determined that replacing the heating system is the best idea, the following steps can help you prepare.
- Schedule a professional energy audit. An energy audit is a powerful tool for determining where your home is losing energy. The auditor will evaluate every aspect of your home, including the home's envelope, windows and doors, insulation, the HVAC system, appliances, occupancy and other factors that contribute to your home's total annual energy consumption. Once complete, the auditor will provide step-by-step instructions for improving whole-home energy efficiency.
- Find a qualified HVAC professional. Don't rely on the first result or two that comes up in an online search. Do your homework to find an experienced, licensed and qualified HVAC contractor. Get word-of-mouth referrals whenever possible. Make sure technicians are NATE certified and conscientious about keeping up on current energy efficiency standards. Finally, take the time to check their references.
- Have ducts inspected and repaired. In most cases, the heating system will need to be replaced because it's outdated. If this is the case, there's a good chance the ducts are outdated as well. Have the ductwork thoroughly inspected before replacing the heating system. This is especially pertinent if you've opted not to conduct a home energy audit. Leaky, poorly insulated or inefficiently designed ductwork will undermine attempts to enjoy a new energy efficient heating system.
- Get accurate load calculations. An HVAC contractor should use Manual J to perform accurate load calculations, ensuring the replacement is the best option for your household and lifestyle.