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.
Ohio HVAC Buying Guide
Many important considerations must be taken in Ohio when purchasing or replacing an HVAC system. Since Ohio requires HVAC contractors to carry a state license, and due to the complicated nature of the installation, this is not a home improvement project you can do yourself. However, you can take steps to ensure that you hire the right contractor, take advantage of cost saving programs, and prepare your home before the installation begins. In addition, this buying guide will introduce you to preventive measures necessary to maintain peak performance and efficiency of your new HVAC equipment.
Getting Started with HVAC in Ohio
Several parameters are critical when installing new HVAC equipment that can have direct consequences on its performance, ductwork, and costs. Your HVAC contractor must calculate the size of the system by using industry recognized methods such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America “ACCA” manual J. If existing ductwork is already in place, it may be able to save you a few dollars. However, the type of ductwork, its size and its location are critical for system efficiency. Discuss with your HVAC contractor during the estimating process if you should replace your ducts.
A professional installation requires the contractor to verify that all duct sections are the proper size in relation to the new system and that the location and number of supply registers are sufficient. A thorough inspection of existing ductwork is necessary to meet the parameters mentioned above, to determine the condition of existing ductwork, to ensure it is properly insulated, and to check for leaks. Ducts lacking insulation or those with leaking seams and joints can significantly reduce system efficiency and performance, increasing energy consumption and costs.
When duct installation or replacement is deemed necessary, your HVAC contractor should use the ACCA manual D to calculate the new duct system. Duct replacement or installation can add a significant amount to your HVAC project. Homeowners who do not need an HVAC system to maintain comfort levels in their entire home might consider choosing a split-ductless or mini-split system. These HVAC systems are easier to install and do not require ductwork.
Ohio’s Climate Role in HVAC
Your area’s climate plays an important role when determining the size and type of HVAC equipment. Ohio receives approximately 38 inches or rain and 27 inches of snowfall per year. On average, Ohio temperatures range about 84 degrees in mid July and about 19 degrees in mid January. In addition, there are 173 days of sunshine per year with 128 days of measurable precipitation. Your HVAC contractor will use temperature calculations along with topography features, square footage, and the overall energy efficiency of your home to determine your equipment needs.
Perform a Home Energy Audit
Before installing or replacing an HVAC system, you should consider a home energy audit to asses the energy efficiency of your home. Many Ohio utility companies offer free or discounted home energy audits that can lead to additional savings in rebates or other home related incentive programs. For example, Duke Energy offers many incentives for home energy efficiency such as free home energy assessments, rebates for duct repair, insulation upgrades, heat pump replacement, and many more. Not only will these programs help to defray the costs of the improvements, but also tighten your home’s envelope, increasing energy efficiency and saving you additional money in monthly energy costs.
HVAC Manufacturers in Ohio
Many people, including your HVAC contractor, might prefer a particular brand to another. Many variables such as the square footage, design, layout of the property, installation methods, and contractor preferences will determine the best equipment suited for your home. While the brand may carry some importance in your project, the contractor you choose will have the biggest impact on your job as they will control the overall quality of the installation as well as the system performance and efficiency.
Listed below are some of the largest manufacturers of HVAC systems and related equipment in the industry:
Types of HVAC Systems Used in Ohio
Split systems are the most common type of HVAC system used in Ohio for heating and cooling your home. It utilizes equipment both inside with an air handler and evaporator coil, and outside with condensing unit or compressor of your home. They are connected by supply lines that carry refrigerant between the two components. Most often, split systems rely on a circuit of ductwork to deliver conditioned air throughout the home. Listed below are other types of HVAC systems commonly used in Ohio when a traditional split system is not feasible.
Packaged systems utilize a single cabinet to house the necessary HVAC components to both heat and cool your home. The systems, which utilize a circuit of air delivery ducts, are often mounted on rooftops or in crawl spaces underneath structures constructed in such a way to favor a packaged system.
Ductless Mini Splits
Similar to a split HVAC system, ductless mini splits have both inside and outside components to provide conditioned air. Since these systems do not require ducts, installation is much easier, they can be less expensive to install and are ideal for properties with space limitations or those where traditional ductwork is not feasible.
Heat pumps are high-efficient systems capable of providing both cooling and heating your home. Although they will cost you more upfront, the energy savings usually pay for the increased costs within five years. Heat pump systems offer an efficient alternative to air conditioners and furnace heating systems by providing conditioned air at approximately one quarter of their cost. A heat pump works primarily by transferring outside heat to the inside of your home, and vice versa during the summer months.
Hiring the Right Ohio HVAC Contractor
Enlisting a reputable HVAC contractor to install, replace, or service exsisting equipment is crucial to your project. Many might say they are licensed but until they produce the certification and proofs of insurance required by the state of Ohio it is just hearsay. Several steps are necessary to validate an HVAC contractor before you sign on the dotted line. First, ask for and follow up with contractor provided references. You can also speak with HVAC supply companies and building inspectors to get a handle on their quality of work. Next, ask the contractor for copies or verifications of their bonding, insurance coverage, and licenses. Contact the BBB or “Better Business Bureau” and the Consumer Affairs office for outstanding complaints or pending lawsuits. And last but not least, visit the Ohio Department of Commerce OCILB eLicense Center where you can search for and verify the status of Ohio contractors.
HVAC Efficiency in Ohio
HVAC efficiency ratings display the applicable units energy efficiency based on each watt of electricity used. Efficiency is expressed on SEER or “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.” National standards have limited the minimum SEER of today’s systems at 13 to promote energy conservation. The higher a units SEER rating the greater its energy efficiency and the more money you can save in energy costs. However, you can expect to pay more for HVAC equipment with higher SEER ratings.
Reducing HVAC Costs in Ohio
Significant savings may be available to you through special rebates and tax incentives. Manufacturers as well as federal and state government agencies offer these incentives to promote home and business energy efficiency. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency “DSIRE” to view a comprehensive list of rebate and incentive programs by state as well as additional home improvement advice and money saving tips. Do not forget Uncle Sam. The energy.gov website lists rebate and incentive programs available across the nation through federal, state, and city governments.
Maintaining HVAC Systems in Ohio
After your new HVAC system is installed, regular maintenance is required to maintain peak performance and efficiency. Aside from changing the air filter, it is recommended that a licensed professional perform most of the maintenance procedures. When you call in a pro, they should perform the following preventive maintenance procedures on your system:
- Inspect and change air filters when needed
- Inspect, clean, and flush the coils
- Inspect, clean, and drain the condensation pan and drain system
- Inspect and clean the blower compartment
- Lube moving parts such as fan and blower motors
- Check refrigerant levels to verify there are no leaks
- Add refrigerant when necessary
In addition to the aforementioned maintenance procedures, you should also consider an annual duct inspection. Leaking or poorly insulated ductwork can account for a 30 to 40 percent loss of cooling and heating efficiency. This can lead to higher energy consumption and related costs.
Protecting Your HVAC System in Ohio
HVAC systems and repairs can be costly. Maintaining your system through preventive maintenance and care helps to protect your investment. Many HVAC contractors or companies offer discounted service plans and labor agreements to acquire your business. Ask your HVAC contractor or representative about available service plans during your HVAC estimate. Many will work them into the overall price of the HVAC installation or replacement.
What You Can Do For Your HVAC in Ohio
After your new HVAC system is installed, there are a few things you must do to maintain it. Aside from the professional cleaning and maintenance procedures mentioned above, you can handle a few additional things on your own. First, check and change air filters regularly. A dirty filter will decrease the airflow to your system and increase the workload on the equipment. This can drive up energy consumption and costs and lead to premature equipment failure. Next, prevent vegetation from growing around your outdoor equipment. Weeds and other foliage can damage the outside coil so keep them away from your unit. Finally, clean air registers — vents — regularly to prevent accumulated dirt and dust from entering the system.