Ready to replace your HVAC equipment? Before you invest in a new unit, consider this question. What system do you think controls your comfort at home? While most homeowners think it’s the HVAC unit connected to their thermostat, it’s only a piece of the bigger system – your house! Thinking of your house as a system makes it easier to lower your utility bills when you replace your HVAC.
Remember Tim Allen from Home Improvement? In one episode, he wanted a larger motor for his lawnmower. Why? So he could mow the lawn faster. We all want that, right?
Many people think bigger is always better! But, that’s not the case with HVAC systems. The bigger system won’t necessarily make you more comfortable.
When it’s time to replace your HVAC system, a unit with all the bells and whistles will probably be attractive. After all, it advertises tremendous energy and financial benefits. However, reality often falls short of expectations. Nobody is laughing over that when you spent thousands on a new HVAC unit that doesn’t perform.
If you’re thinking of replacing your HVAC unit because your bills are too high, and you think it’s an energy hog, consider the fact that seventy percent of the time the problem isn’t related to your HVAC system. So, what is causing your sky-high electric bills? It’s your building/home’s envelope that’s not allowing your HVAC system to perform as efficiently as possible.
The envelope includes your walls, floors, roof, doors, windows, and skylights. Think of it as anything that separates the conditioned air in your home with the air outside.
When you install a new HVAC unit without evaluating the building envelope, it’s like installing a NASCAR engine in a 1970s-era Pinto with flat tires.
On the other hand, fixing problems with your home without replacing HVAC equipment, will outperform a new HVAC system all day long.
Here’s a common question that we hear at Minnick’s. “I have a cold room and a hot room and a damp basement. Can you fix it?” Our response is, yes we can.
This system is made up of your insulation, ductwork, HVAC and more. They need to work together as a team to keep utility costs low. This is critical when you’re replacing your HVAC and making that financial investment.
The first step is to determine where the drafts and performance issues originate. An energy audit is a great way to identify potential problems with the home’s performance. It’s relatively inexpensive for BGE and Pepco customers who qualify for special pricing of just $100 for Minnick’s Healthy Home Energy Audit.
During the audit, we use a blower door to measure the amount of air coming in and out of your house. It allows the auditor to find hidden air leaks that raise your utility bills.
The auditor also visually inspects your home, HVAC equipment, insulation, and ductwork.
He also verifies adequate ventilation, which improves your indoor air quality.
Finally, the energy audit includes a safety check of cooking appliances.
Minnick’s is a pioneer in the Whole-Home approach to comfort, and we’re one of the few Maryland contractors offering it. We feel it’s an important part of the decision-making process when it’s time to replace your HVAC unit. While costs range from $7,000 to $12,000 to fix home performance issues, we feel there are great benefits. There are rebates available in Montgomery County and other service areas for Pepco and BGE. We’d be happy to let you know what’s available.
We feel it’s better to fix the issues with your home before buying a new HVAC unit. In fact, you can put off a replacement for a year or two because you no longer need it to run as often with the improvements. Our customers see utility savings quickly. One customer told us she shaved $6,000 in just a year and a half. Her electric heat pump was constantly cycling, which skyrocketed her utility costs.
For many customers, a full return on their investment takes about ten years.
However, utility costs go down instantly, and homeowners feel better quickly. Some of Minnick’s customers no longer use asthma inhalers because the air quality improves too.
Once the house is healthier, comfort and energy efficiency will come. It doesn’t work the other way around. Efficiency is the cherry on top.
What are you thinking about when replacing your HVAC system?