Many people picture lavish luxury houses when they think of custom construction, but not all new construction fits into this mold. It's just as common for new homebuyers to build their own homes to meet unique needs or save money in a hot market. In these cases, getting the best value from everything is often important to stay within budget.
Fortunately, getting good HVAC equipment doesn't mean compromising performance, reliability, or efficiency. However, you need to have clear goals and an understanding of your options to choose the right system for your needs. These three tips will help you work with your contractor to design the perfect air conditioning system for your new home and your budget.
Compare Operating Cost vs Installation Cost
If you're building a new home from scratch, you probably plan to live there for a while. You can probably expect a modern central air conditioning system to last at least 12-17 years, so there's a good chance you'll own your home through most or all of your system's lifespan. Long-term ownership means you stand to benefit from reduced operating costs.
Higher-end models with a higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating will cost you less over the unit's lifetime. When comparing models, use an energy savings calculator to determine your yearly costs. Although a more expensive, high-efficiency unit will cost more upfront, you may discover it's much lighter on your wallet over the long run.
Choose Basic Equipment
High-end models typically have two advantages: higher energy efficiency and multi-stage or variable cooling modes. The latter features can improve comfort and efficiency, but many single-stage units have extremely high SEER values. More importantly, a well-sized system should provide relatively even cooling without a variable-speed compressor or blower.
While there's no denying that these higher-end systems have advantages, they're unnecessary if you simply want to keep your home cool and comfortable. Choosing a simple, single-stage model with a high SEER rating can help you get a great system for your new home without breaking your HVAC budget wide open.
Simplify Your Ductwork
Your contractor will design your home's ductwork to provide adequate airflow and efficient cooling, but there's one area where you can potentially save money: zoning. Zoning requires additional equipment and extra labor, so it has the potential to increase your overall installation costs substantially. Reducing or eliminating zoning is a solid option if you need to save money on your installation.
However, zones can still be useful, especially if you will only occupy part of your home at any given time. In these cases, you should discuss your options with your contractor. You may be able to arrive at a compromise (such as two zones instead of three or four) that will provide you with the benefits of zoning while keeping your costs manageable.
For more information, reach out to an air conditioning contractor near you.