HVAC 101

A Quick Study Guide for Homeowners

There’s much to consider when buying a new heat pump, gas furnace or central air cooling system.

Indeed, a home’s environmental control system is one of the largest investments a homeowner can

make. Below are answers to ten of the most common questions about HVAC systems.

Should I repair or replace my existing HVAC system?

You should replace your existing home’s HVAC system when your repair costs start to reach 30 percent

of the cost of a new system, and/or when your utility bills have increased by 50 percent or more.

How much money can be saved by installing new equipment?

Heating and cooling represents about 45 percent of a home’s total energy use. Today’s ENERGY STAR

products are as much as 60 percent more efficient than equipment from 10 years ago. One can save a


Is installing a new HVAC system really necessary?

It’s up to you, but, in new homes a central climate control system is often the best and most economical

solution for achieving overall comfort, air quality, and humidity for the money.

What’s the best type of thermostat to use with my current system?

A programmable thermostat that provides accurate readings and reliable, energy-saving performance is

best for most modern homes. For added efficiency, you can use a Wi-Fi supported smart thermostat.

How can one be sure they are selecting the right HVAC contractor?

Homeowners should always seek out service professionals that are associated with well-recognized

equipment brands. These folks are backed by the training and resources of major manufacturers.

How can I choose the right heating/cooling system for me?

First, obtain some solid advice from a trained HVAC expert. A competent service professional can

perform an energy analysis of your property to determine your needs and recommend a system for you.

In an existing HVAC system, can any of its old components be reused?

It’s possible, but every system is essentially different. After inspection, a trained service professional can provide 

you with a schedule of what must be replaced and what can be reused and re-purposed.

How complicated are today’s new HVAC systems?

Everything depends upon the home and the system. While cooling systems and heating systems rely

upon different components, they do share common ductwork. Ducts need to be accurately sized and

zoned for optimum HVAC system performance. Your HVAC contractor can evaluate your current system,

your ductwork, and further advise you.

What does an “air handler” do for my HVAC system?

The air handler circulates conditioned air throughout the home. You can amplify its effectiveness by

combining it with other accessories such as air filters and humidity control devices.

What can be done to improve interior air quality?

Any home can have improved air quality. The easiest and least costly place to start is the frequent

changing of filters. Beyond that, your HVAC service professional can provide the information you need

to make decisions about how to improve the quality of your interior air.

Be informed that indoor air can be up to 100 times more saturated with pollutants than outdoor air.

Adding improvements to ventilation systems such as new air filter technologies can go a long way

toward improving the quality of your indoor air.