To make the process of replacing your home’s HVAC easier, the ModHVAC Calculator offers system recommendations and a quick estimate of your replacement costs to save you the guesswork. To use the tool, just slide the bar in the green box to match your home’s square footage. Then enter your city and state below and click Calculate Cost. Seconds later, you’ll be provided with a set of options for your new HVAC unit.
HVAC Buying Guide for Georgia
Home comfort is one of the conveniences homeowners enjoy after installing a new and highly efficient HVAC system in their home. Whether this is your first time buying a system for the home, or you’re upgrading your current system with a more efficient model, this HVAC buying guide will help Georgia residents focus on the important considerations when selecting a new HVAC system for their home or small business property.
Types of HVAC Systems Common in Georgia
Many types of HVAC systems are used in Georgia. The type you choose will be based on your HVAC contractor’s recommendations, the level of energy efficiency you desire, and your project budget. Listed below are the most common types of HVAC systems used in residential and small business applications.
Heat pumps are one of, if not the most efficient HVAC systems available. Many types are available including air-source, ground-source and/or geothermal heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps are the most popular and economical heap pump systems. They draw heat out of the air to maintain your inside comfort levels. Ground or geothermal heat pumps utilize the constant temperature of the earth or small body of water to condition the air in your home. While the most efficient of these systems, they carry a much larger price tag.
Ductless mini-split systems are just as their name implies, ductless. This type of system is ideal for structures with limited space or for structures that cannot support ductwork. They are easy to install, are extremely versatile as numerous cooling/heating heads can be used with one condensing unit, and provide users with maximum control when the desire is to heat or cool specific areas.
Split HVAC systems refer to systems that have both indoor and outdoor components. Interior components include an air handler, blower motor, fan, and evaporator coil. Outside components include a condensing coil, compressor, and cooling fan. Connecting supply lines allow refrigerant to flow between the two components.
Questions to Ask a HVAC Professional
When beginning your search for a new HVAC system, it would be beneficial to have a list of questions to ask the HVAC contractor or sales representative. These important questions will help you and your HVAC contractor determine the size and type of system that you need.
- Based on the square footage of my property, what size HVAC system do I need
- Should I replace the current system with the same size?
- What do the different energy efficient ratings mean?
- Is the brand of the HVAC system I choose important?
- Are Energy Star systems the only equipment offering tax credits?
- Is a bigger system better than one that only fulfills the square footage requirements?
- Is new ductwork required when installing a new HVAC system?
- Should existing ductwork be inspected before installing a new HVAC system?
- Does the Georgia climate play a role in HVAC selection?
- Should insulation be upgraded before HVAC installation?
- Do you hold an active Georgia HVAC competency license?
- Do you carry the required liability and worker’s compensation insurance coverage?
- Can you provide proof of license and insurance coverage?
These questions are useful when discussing an HVAC installation with a potential contractor. If they cannot answer these questions confidently, and if they fail to produce legitimate credentials and copies of insurance coverage, move on to the next HVAC contractor or company.
About Georgia’s Yearly Weather
When considering a new HVAC system, you’ll want to discuss with your HVAC contractor your city’s climate so you stay warm during the winter and cool during the summer. On average, Georgia’s temperatures run in the low to mid 40’s during the winter and the mid to high 80’s during the summer. Your contractor will use climate information along with other calculations such as square footage, window and door type and your home’s ability to contain conditioned air when sizing your system.
HVAC Air Filters in Georgia
As in most southern U.S. states, pollen can be a real concern for some folks living in Georgia. Oak, sycamore, pine trees along with other species of fauna can push the pollen count to extremely high levels. Fortunately, HVAC air filters are available that can filter pollen and other particles from the air. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value “MERV” rating indicates the HVAC filter’s ability to remove particles from the air. Ratings range from one to 20 with higher ratings indicating a higher ability to remove smaller particles. Listed below are the most common HVAC filter types.
- Fiberglass or flat panel filters are disposable, meaning you cannot wash them and must simply toss them when they become dirty after about a month. However, with a MERV rating of four, they are not efficient for removing small airborne particles or pollen.
- Pleated filters with a MERV rating less than 11. The affordable filters usually require replacement after a couple of months. Although they are more efficient than fiberglass or flat panel filters, they will not catch all particles and bacteria.
- Pleated filters with a MERV rating higher than 11 are suitable for homeowners with pets and those who suffer from allergies and other respiratory illnesses. Although more expensive, they are capable of catching the smaller particles attributed to dust, pollen, and pet dander.
- Carbon impregnated filters are designed to control odors. This type of filter lasts about three months and is ideal to control odorous gases attributed to new paint, smoke, new carpet smells, pets, and cooking odors. However, they do not carry a MERV rating and provide only moderate dust/particulate holding capabilities.
About HVAC Contractors and City Permits
Hiring a licensed and insured HVAC contractor is not an option but a necessity. Without an experienced contractor, your new HVAC system may not be installed according to state and city code. In addition, using an unlicensed person to install the system can nullify your warranty and pose some legal challenges and fines as well.
When researching for a contractor in Georgia, check with the Georgia Contractor Licenses Directory to verify the person has a current license that allows them to do the type of work necessary to install an HVAC system. It is also a good idea to contact the local Better Business Bureau and Georgia Consumer Affairs Department to make sure the company does not have any past complaints or pending lawsuits.
The state of Georgia and its cities require a permit prior to HVAC replacement or installation. In addition, the contractor must hold a valid, Georgia HVAC competency license and be registered with the applicable city before beginning any HVAC project. In addition, Georgia contractors are required to carry sufficient liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
HVAC SEER Ratings in Georgia
Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratings or “SEER” defines the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Higher SEER ratings indicate a more efficient HVAC system. Industry standards have changed over the last decade requiring new HVAC systems to encompass SEER ratings between 13 and 23 SEER. Older models were held to a lower standard with SEER ratings between nine and ten. While HVAC systems with higher SEER ratings will cost you more up front, you can expect higher savings on your energy bills. In comparison, an HVAC system with a lower SEER rating will be less expensive; you can expect higher energy bills over the long haul.
Return of Investment on HVAC in Georgia
While a new HVAC system in Georgia represents a significant amount of money, there is a pay off in more ways than one. First, with a new system installed, the value of your property immediately increases. This is a plus and provides a great marketing tool should you decide to sell your home or property in the future. In addition, with a new HVAC system, you can expect better overall comfort, better efficiency of the unit, and lower monthly utility bills.
Reducing the Cost of HVAC Systems in Georgia
Programs are available that offer incentives, tax credits, and rebates that can help defray the cost of a new HVAC system saving you even more money beyond monthly utility savings. Start by searching the DSIRE “Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to discover money saving rebates, policy measures, and incentive programs in your state. The websites are user friendly as you simply insert your zip code in the search bar window to view a detailed list of programs in your area.
In addition, you should also visit the federal government’s website, energy.gov, to find out if your new HVAC system qualifies you for energy efficient tax credits and rebates offered by Uncle Sam. While not every new HVAC system will qualify for a rebate or credit, many high-performance, high-efficiency models do. In addition, rebates and credits are available for other home energy efficiency upgrades such as energy audits, insulation upgrades, and Energy Star appliances.
HVAC Maintenance in Georgia
After your new HVAC system is installed, it is important to protect your investment by performing regular cleaning and maintenance on the unit. Not only will regular maintenance extend the life span of your equipment and help to prevent costly breakdowns or failures, but also maintain its maximum efficiency and performance, which can save you money in energy costs. Since you cannot perform the necessary maintenance yourself, it would be wise to consider an annual service agreement with your HVAC contractor. An annual service agreement provides many benefits beyond system maintenance. Often, HVAC contractors reward loyal customers who enter into a service agreement with reduced labor costs and a discount on parts.
While there are many important considerations when installing an HVAC system, the contractor you choose is the most important part of the equation. A good HVAC contractor should have the knowledge and experience to ensure you get a quality installation.