New home heating systems: Choosing type and mastering the work order
Atlanta home heating systems
By Kristi Arnold
Choosing new home heating systems can be a daunting task if you're not up on the lingo and details of the various systems. So what's your first step? Determine what systems are out there and get advice on which is best for your home.
Central or stand-alone
There are two main types of heating systems: central and stand-alone. Of each type of system, there are various sub-types with different levels of prevalence in the home market.
Central heating systems are available with warm-air furnaces--which make up about half the central systems--steam or hot-water systems and heat pumps.
Of the stand-alone systems, built-in electric units, room heaters, floor heaters, wall heaters, pipeless furnaces, heating stove and kerosene units are available.
If your home has a heating system currently in place, your best choice may be to replace it with a system of the same type and that uses the same fuel. This allows fewer parts to be replaced and eliminates the need to run new fuel lines in most cases, reducing costs. However, if your home has a stand-alone system, you may choose to replace it with a central system.
Particularly with a system that utilizes fossil fuels of some type (heat systems can use various fuels, including natural gas, electric, fuel oil, wood, LPG and kerosene), a large central system is more efficient. It can also increase the value of the home by allowing easy installation of a central air conditioning system using the same duct work.
Choosing a contractor
Once you make decisions on fuel and system type, it's time to contact a contractor. Home heating systems are not usually in the realm of possibility for do-it-yourselfers. Get advice from friends and neighbors and check licensing and years in the field for recommended contractors. You can also check for a contractor listing service in Atlanta that pre-screens contractors. Also, check out these HVAC professionals on Kudzu. Once you choose a few contractors to contact, ask questions:
Choosing a model
Maybe the most difficult decision you'll have to make is the specific model of your heating system.
Here's what to look for in the model that's right for your home:
What to include in your contract
If you've never had any major work done on your home, you may be unaware of the various intricacies involved in creating a work order or work contract. The biggest potential for costs can happen through mistaken wording or lack of specificity in the contract.
You should require your contractor to provide the following in your work order/contract:
Once the contract is agreed upon and the warranties decided, you can get started on the process of overseeing the installation of your new home heating system. Once it's installed, the contractor should start up, test and balance the HVAC system prior to you signing off on the project's completion. Once the installation and testing are complete, you'll simply need to keep the warranty and any related maintenance in compliance (in some cases this means check-ups by the installation company every six to 12 months) and enjoy your new home heating system.
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