Being a homeowner is a liberating thing – no more landlords, no more property managers, no more restrictions on what you can change, or paint, or construct. It’s exhilarating. It can also be expensive. Particularly lovers of old houses will find that there are challenges – financially significant ones – associated with getting your house up to modern standards.
While adding extra electrical outlets or opening up a wall to create the very in-vogue open floor-plan are luxurious options, getting your HVAC in order is seen by many as a necessity.
Here in Clearwater, central air or heat pump prices can seem very expensive, and it is, in fact, a substantial investment. However, when you’re a homeowner, you have to think long term, and these systems will save you a fortune in energy bills over time, compared to inefficient units.
But how much money are we talking? On average, a residential homeowner will spend between four and seven thousand dollars ($4,000-$7,000), and the total range is something like $3,000-$12,000. At the low end you have a basic small system with a modest efficiency rating, and at the high end the kind of feature-packed larger systems that cool and dehumidify larger homes.
The first thing that goes into the decision is simple: the size of the unit. AC and heat pump costs vary by the square footage of the home they will serve. Sizing your system correctly is a job for a professional. Too big, and it won’t dehumidify the space. Too small, your monthly electric bill will be a nightmare.
Figuring out the Goldilocks Number (you know, getting it “just right?”) for your air conditioning or heat pump system, a professional will check your homes square footage, insulation, number of windows, and several other factors, and then decide how powerful a unit is required.
A second factor is the SEER rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. That sounds complicated, but it’s calculated simply. It’s the BTUs of cooling ability divided by the wattage used. A higher SEER number means a more efficient system. These cost more upfront, but spell significantly lower energy bills throughout the year, and are a very sound investment.
At the low end of our price scale – starting around the mid $3000 range – you can expect a modestly sized central air system with a SEER rating of around 14, which is close to the federally mandated minimum. At the higher end are systems with SEER ratings of 24 and 25, which are much more efficiently designed.
Other added features or costs can include installing an advanced programmable thermostat, updating or installing ductwork, and improving energy efficiency in the home with insulation. You can reduce your costs by forgoing these features or by checking to see if you qualify for federal tax incentives for efficient HVAC systems purchased in Clearwater. So, for some fantastic information on how to save money on your next heat pump purchase, call today!
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