Is HVAC System Financing a Good Idea?

Whether you’re interested in upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system or you need to replace a system that is too far gone to repair, you should always consider it an investment. When it comes to purchasing a new unit, many of the local companies offer on-site financing through one or more lenders. Here, you’ll learn more about HVAC system financing and whether it’s right for you.

Financing vs. Paying in Full

If you can afford to pay for your new HVAC unit in full, you should do so. This will help you avoid spending extra money on things like interest and financing fees, and there will be no need for credit checks. What’s more, there’s no risk involved since you own the unit outright and cannot fall behind on payments. Financing is a fantastic option for homeowners who want to upgrade to a new model energy-efficient system that may otherwise be outside their budgets, however.

Requirements for HVAC System Financing

Different HVAC companies work with different lenders, so this is an important consideration when it comes to companies that offer on-site financing. Even so, you can always seek your own lender to cover the costs of your new system, and this is beneficial if you have a good relationship with a specific lender. If you’ll apply for credit through the company, you’ll likely need a good credit score, several open credit accounts, and no derogatory accounts on your credit report. You’ll also need proof of income and home ownership to help mitigate any risks assumed by the lender.

Financing for Less-than-Perfect Credit

Not everyone has perfect credit, so if yours is a bit lower than you’d like, you might think you won’t qualify for financing. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Many lenders are willing to work with people who have fair credit, and some will even work with you if you have filed bankruptcy or you’re otherwise rebuilding your credit. Keep in mind that your interest rates and payments will likely be higher; again, lenders do this to help mitigate any risks they assume when they lend to those who have challenged credit.

Financing the Installation and Labor Costs

If you obtain your financing directly through the HVAC company, you may have the option to also finance any labor and installation costs involved. However, if you choose to find your own lender, you may not have this option. Be sure you talk to the HVAC company about your personal needs, and ask whether the HVAC system financing covers the installation as well.

Don’t Buy More than You Can Afford

Finally, when it comes to HVAC system financing, you may feel tempted to go with the absolute best and newest model you can find. Because you aren’t paying cash up front, it may seem as if you can get away with spending more than you would otherwise. As the retail price of the unit climbs, so will your monthly payments. Be sure you take the time to calculate your monthly payments – including interest – based on the total amount you’ll spend.

HVAC system financing is a great alternative for homeowners who need to upgrade their systems, but who do not have the cash on hand to pay for it outright. There are several lending options available, so be sure to consider this carefully before you sign any contracts.

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Questions to Ask Before Hiring an HVAC Company

There are numerous HVAC companies in the Lakeland area, so hiring the right company for your unique task can seem daunting. The Better Business Bureau has provided consumers with a list of questions to ask an HVAC company before hiring, and you can learn more about them here.

Do You Charge for Estimates, or Is There a Service Fee?

If you’re in need of a repair or a brand-new HVAC system, this is an important question. Some companies will come to your home and provide you with an estimate on a new system or repair, including labor costs, for free. Others will charge you a service fee any time they come to your home, whether it’s to provide you with an estimate or complete a repair. This service fee may be added to parts and labor costs, which can surprise you. Be sure you ask this question before hiring an HVAC company to avoid surprise fees.

Do Your Techs Work on Commission?

Some HVAC companies pay their technicians a commission for every new HVAC system they sell. While this is certainly a great incentive, it may mean trouble for homeowners. After all, if your system only needs a simple repair, but the technician recommends a replacement system, you may find yourself spending thousands of dollars unnecessarily. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring an HVAC company that employs commissioned techs, you should always get a second opinion from a non-commissioned tech if a complete replacement is recommended.

Are Your Techs Licensed, Bonded, and Insured?

This is a very important question to ask as it takes liability for personal injury and property damage off your shoulders. If a non-licensed tech works on your HVAC system and something goes awry, you could be held responsible. The same can be said for techs who aren’t bonded and/or insured; if they get hurt while on your property, or if they cause property damage, your homeowner’s insurance may be required to cover it. That can drive up your premiums and create headaches.

Do You Offer Extended Warranties or Maintenance Plans for New Systems?

This is an important question to ask your HVAC company, as well. Almost all new systems come with a warranty directly from the manufacturer that will cover repairs due to defects, but the manufacturer typically doesn’t provide warranties to cover any problems that may arise out of incorrect installation. It’s important to find out if the HVAC company you’re considering offers a warranty of guarantee of its own. What’s more, some companies offer a free service call for the first year or two, so be sure to ask.

Does This System Offer a Tax Rebate?

You may qualify for tax credits if you purchase certain types of energy-efficient HVAC systems, so it’s important to make sure the system you purchase makes you eligible for those credits. The HVAC company you choose should be able to help you pick a system that qualifies for those rebates, but it’s also important that you don’t just take their word for it. Do your own research and find out what kind of federal and local credits are available, then purchase your new system accordingly.

When it comes to hiring an HVAC company to repair or replace your system, asking these questions can help you make the right choice and save yourself some money along the way, too. They’re all recommended by the Better Business Bureau, and they represent some of the most common issues homeowners experience when dealing with HVAC companies.

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Basement HVAC: What You Need to Know

These days, many homeowners are making the choice to finish their basements rather than add additional rooms for more living space. While this is certainly a wonderful idea, they tend to run into trouble when it comes to basement HVAC. Here’s what you need to know for making sure your finished basement stays cozy all year long.

You May Not Need to Change Anything at All

Depending on the size of your basement, you may not need to change your HVAC system when you choose to finish it. Remember that your basement is underground, which is naturally cooler, and that heat rises. The combination of these two factors often keeps basements remarkably cool, even when there isn’t a single air conditioner duct to be found. If your basement air will be stuffy and stale, however, then you might want to consider adding a few ducts. This may even mean increasing the size of your existing HVAC unit.

Can Your Current System Handle the Square Footage?

First things first, if you plan to run basement HVAC, you’ll need to know how many square feet your existing system can cool and the size of your new living space, basement included. This will tell you whether you need to purchase a newer, larger HVAC system that can handle the additional load. It’s vital that you upgrade your system if necessary; trying to cool too large a space with too small a unit can cause mechanical issues and create unnecessarily high energy bills, especially during the summer.

Running Ducts for Basement HVAC

If it turns out that your current system can handle the additional load, then basement AC may be as simple as branching off a couple of ducts to get the air flowing. While this may seem simple enough, you’ll need to tap into the existing ductwork at the right places; otherwise, you might find that you’re “stealing” cooled air from the rest of the home, which can make things rather uncomfortable. The best way to do this involves contacting a professional who can help you make the right choices for your comfort.

Installing a New HVAC System

Major renovations are the best times to install basement HVAC. You’ll already be down there working on the walls, wiring, and plumbing, so why not go ahead and get that high-efficiency unit you’ve had your eye on? It’ll save you on labor costs, especially if the area where the air handler is kept is already cleared. A new unit will do more than help you keep your basement air fresh and cool; it’ll also improve energy efficiency throughout your entire home, which can save you money on your cooling bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Basement HVAC isn’t always necessary, but if you’re concerned about thick, stale, moist air, then it’s worth your while to add your basement to your home’s ducts. Just make sure your current unit is large enough to handle the extra square footage, and call a professional before you make any major changes to your ducts.

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Recycled Denim Insulation – The Next Big Thing?

For several years, the manufacturers of home and business insulation products have been working to create options that are eco-friendly, whether this means they’re made of sustainable or recycled materials. Recycled denim insulation is one of the most popular options out there, and it offers several unique benefits that you must see (and experience) to believe.

What Is Recycled Denim Insulation?

It’s exactly what it sounds like – bits of denim that are being used to create barriers between walls, ceilings, floors, and livable spaces to keep them more comfortable and energy efficient. In fact, this denim comes directly from factories; it’s the material left behind when manufacturers create denim clothing. The strips are too small to be recycled back into clothing, so they’re collected and used as insulation rather than thrown away.

Incredible Sustainability

Denim insulation contains an average of 85% recycled material, which means only 15% is created from brand new denim that has never seen the inside of a clothing manufacturer’s facility. The best part is that denim is made of 100% cotton, so when the insulation’s lifespan is over, this material can be 100% recycled. This is not the case with fiberglass or wool batts, which typically end up in landfills once they’re removed from homes.

Diverting Material from Landfills

Companies that create denim clothing often send tons upon tons of material to landfills every year. In fact, one clothing company alone claims that sending denim scraps to insulation manufacturers has helped them keep 200 tons of material out of landfills each year. What’s more, because denim is already manufactured into clothing, there’s very little additional manufacturing energy needed to turn it into insulation.

Better Air Quality and Acoustics

Homeowners who have chosen to install recycled denim insulation enjoy better air quality over traditional fiberglass; denim does not contain the same volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and it doesn’t contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. Recycled denim insulation also insulates against sound about 30% more efficiently than traditional insulation, which means you’ll enjoy a quieter, more peaceful home.

Better-than-Average Performance

Estimates show that recycled denim insulation does a better job of keeping your home comfortable than traditional fiberglass or wool batts. In fact, some homeowners claim their energy costs dropped by nearly 20% in the first year alone, which makes denim insulation an investment that will pay for itself in time. The best part? Denim won’t irritate your eyes, skin, or airway, and there’s no need for a warning label. It’s like shredding your favorite pair of worn-out jeans and allowing them to keep you and your family cooler during the summer months.

Recycled denim insulation is eco-friendly, safe for your family and the environment, and just as effective (if not more so) than the traditional insulation found in homes across the country. If it’s time to upgrade your insulation, think outside the box and consider using familiar cotton denim. Your family’s health and your utility bills will thank you.

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Installing a Second HVAC System on the Upper Level of a Home

If you live in a multi-story home, you may have experienced the difficulty in maintaining a constant, comfortable temperature on each of your floors. In fact, you may even be considering adding a second HVAC system for your home. Here are some tips for making that all-important decision.

The Problems with Cooling or Heating a Second Floor

You may have noticed that your upper floor tends to stay warmer than the rest of the house. This is simply physics; warm air rises, and it’ll rise to the top of your home anywhere it can do so. In the summertime when the temperatures soar, you’ll find that to keep your upper floor cool, you’ll have to freeze on the ground floor. There are some ways to resolve this problem, and many homeowners are turning to installing separate HVAC systems for each zone. While this may be the best idea in some cases, there are a few other things you can try first.

Before You Buy a Second HVAC System

Before you make the choice to buy a second HVAC system for your upper floor, decide whether your current system is large enough to handle your home’s needs. If it seems like your upper floor just doesn’t get cool in the summer, no matter what you do, it could be that your unit isn’t large enough to pump out enough air. It might also mean that your ductwork wasn’t properly planned. If your entire second-floor ductwork branches off the ducts for the main floor, and those ducts aren’t the proper size, this may be the cause of your problem.

Buying a Second System

Buying a second HVAC system for one zone of your home can be quite complicated. First and foremost, remember that the new system will need to be rated for the square footage of the upper level. You’ll may also need to extend your plenums (air spaces between walls, floors, and ceilings) to make way for new ductwork since your second system will have ducts of its own. Finally, you’ll need to make sure you have room to install your new system; many homes weren’t designed for the installation of a second HVAC system.

Making the Decision

There’s no doubt that this is a complicated decision to make, but the good news is that professionals are only a phone call away. After a brief inspection, a trained HVAC tech should be able to give you some valuable insight into the best possible course of action. He or she may recommend rerouting your ductwork to make your existing HVAC more efficient, or it could be that your existing system just isn’t large enough to cool your entire home. Once you have a plan in place, you can get quotes and estimates.

Cooling a second floor can be difficult, especially when temperatures soar in the hot Florida sun. Fortunately, you have options available that will allow you to move more cooled air where you need it. A second HVAC system isn’t always the answer, but it may be your best choice – especially if you have a very large home.

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