Cool It! Choosing the Right HVAC System for Your New Home

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If you’re building a home and getting ready to make the important decision about your heating and cooling system, you might want to consider some new ways of thinking about your future HVAC needs.

Depending on the size or the layout of the house, you might want to consider two central systems – usually one for the upstairs and another one for the main floor.  This way, you can adjust the temperature up or down in those areas independently and reduce your overall energy consumption.

For the areas where people will be sleeping at night, I would also consider a central system with some sort of capacity modulation – either one with two steps of capacity or continuous capacity control along with a variable speed or stepped indoor air handler.  This will be especially important in warmer and more humid climates because of the comfort and health problems associated with humidity control are almost as important as the temperature control in those climates.

If you choose a capacity controlled system, usually 16 SEER or greater, the system will be able to adjust to the load on humid nights when you need the system to run at low capacity for an extended period of time.  This will ensure that the humidity is removed and the air remains fresh and filtered.  The same system can still run at the full load capacity during the day when the demand for cooling is most critical, or vice versa depending on the climate you live in.  The other benefit of these systems is that they run very quietly at the low capacity mode.

You might also want to consider also adding a remote ductless mini-split system If you have rooms in your new home that are in remote areas and are located far away from the central AC system – e.g. an attic space or “bonus” room. These rooms are frequently zoned off from the rest of the house or used only occasionally. A ductless mini-split is a type of air conditioning system that does not use ducts to transfer cool air, and instead the outdoor condenser unit is connected directly to an interior air handler. Because of this direct connection, generally only one room or space can be cooled at a time making ductless mini-splits a viable option for room additions or add-ons.

Investing in a new, custom built home involves a lot of decisions and unfortunately the HVAC decisions are sometimes overlooked.  It’s always best to consider the comfort and energy cost factors as well as the many other decisions you will be making.  You might also want to consider talking directly with an HVAC contractor instead of relying entirely on the general contractor to know the latest about HVAC technology and options.  Good luck with your new home!

Before purchasing, check out these money saving tips!

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15 thoughts on “Cool It! Choosing the Right HVAC System for Your New Home

  1. Hi my ac unit works fine when the temperature out side is below 85 degree once it gets hotter the fan and compressor stop working, I push the button on the contactor and the fan and compressor will start, could it be low on freon or is my thermostat bad.

  2. if there is a way I can be helped. am working on an aux split air conditioner and the indoor fun is not running.

    • Hi Prudence,

      There could be many reasons why the indoor fan is not operating properly. If you require the experience, tools and expertise to check the indoor fan safely, it would be best to hire a qualified contractor to diagnose the problem. We support ACCA – which is a national contractor organization. Here’s the link to their contractor locator tool:

      This should help you to find a qualified contractor nearest to your area.


  3. I am a renter…. my home is very small….. I leave my thermostat at 72 at all times… my electric bill was $350.00 this month…. I only pay $400 for rent… the landlords handy man came out today… all the duct work is fine under the house… my inside temperature was 76… the unit never cuts off… it didn’t cut off while he was here… he doesn’t know what is causing the problem… I am curious to know why myself… I can’t be paying this much in a light bill…

    • Hi Crissy,

      Based off the explanation you gave, it sounds like the unit is not able to hold temperature so it could have a system problem like leaking refrigerant or some other problems. You might want to ask your Landlord to hire a HVAC technician to perform an evaluation of the operation of the HVAC system, which might include things like system superheat, subcooling, and metering device operation.

      Hope this helps,

  4. I was told mt ac condenser is bad can it be repaired they say it has a leak. I don’t have m
    Money for a new unit

    • Hi Deborah – depending on whether they can locate the leak(s) and fix it, and assuming the unit was not damaged when running on low charge, you might be able to have it repaired. However, you might also be able to replace the whole outdoor unit for not much more cost. We usually recommend getting 2-3 quotes from good HVAC contractors before deciding what to do. Most can quote both a repair and a partial or full replacement.

  5. Hi Robert – We do not offer repair services on this site and our charter will not allow us to recommend specific brands or service providers. However, I think you should be able to locate an inexpensive replacement thermostat on line or at a local hardware store.

  6. I have an older model of Chromotherm 111. It has active erratically for the last 2 years.. I don’t have A/C. Can I send it to you for repairs?

  7. I just had a failed R22 compressor in my outdoor unit.
    The contractor first replaced the outdoor unit with R410a outdoor unit because of banned R22 !
    Then after few days he had to replace the “indoor” because of high pressure and coil and valve.
    Quite an expensive process.
    Is there anything else I could have done?

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