Home Improvement Tips and Home Renovation Guides
Find guides to your next home improvement or renovation project from Trane.
How to Buy a Furnace & Air Conditioner
Follow our furnace buying guide to help you with this major purchase.
Buying a new furnace and air conditioner can be intimidating. There are lots of options out there and you want to make sure you are getting a good unit at the best price. Our furnace buying guide outlines what you should look for when make your purchase.
Ensure your old unit needs to be replaced
You may be able to service your old unit without replacing it all together. A Trane Comfort Specialist can help you determine if it’s time to buy a new unit. Generally, a furnace should last 12 to 18 years with proper maintenance, though some units can last longer. An older unit, however, may run inefficiently and require lots of maintenance, meaning it may be cheaper in the long run to update an older furnace with a newer, more efficient model.
Consider what brand, size and efficiency you want/need
You’ll want to choose a reliable brand like Trane for your furnace and air conditioning unit. Also, you’ll want to avoid purchasing an over-sized unit. If the unit is too big, it can cause uneven temperature problems. Your dealer will be able to measure and inspect your home and recommend the best size. Finally, you’ll want to think about an energy efficient furnace and air conditioner. Look at the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) to help make your decision. While 13 SEER is the minimum, anything about 16 is considered high efficiency. Choosing a high efficiency SEER can potentially cut energy bills in half.
Get multiple estimates
You’ll want to get several estimates from Trane dealers. Between the price of the unit and additional options, service contracts and installation costs, you’ll want to shop around and compare each bid. Remember that the lowest estimate is not necessarily the best. A higher priced unit may have lower maintenance costs in the long run.
Proper installation is key
A well-trained technician will ensure that your unit is installed properly and that there are no duct leaks when the new equipment is connected to your existing ductwork. Choosing a dealer with the proper training, equipment and knowledge will help ensure your unit is installed correctly.
Tips for Landscaping Around Your Air Conditioning Unit
Get tips for landscaping around your outdoor central air conditioning unit, from Trane.
Since some homeowners consider outdoor central air conditioning units to be an eyesore, it’s common to conceal them with strategically planted landscaping. A few plants or hedges will not only hide the unit from view, they can also make your air conditioner run more efficiently. Read on for a few tips you can use when planning landscaping around your air conditioning unit.
When planning the landscaping around you’re A/C unit, you want to leave adequate space between the unit and your plants, to avoid restricting airflow around the coils. Make sure plants are at least 2-3 feet from the air conditioning unit on all sides, and plan the landscaping so that the air conditioner is easily accessible for maintenance and repairs. If you have trees or other plants growing above the unit, trim regularly to keep a 5 foot clearance between them and the air conditioner.
In addition to making the area look more natural, landscaping around your air conditioner can actually help improve its efficiency. Shade cast on the air conditioner keeps the temperature down, so the unit doesn’t have to work as hard to cool your home.
Types of plants
There are a lot of plant options to choose from when planning landscaping around your air conditioner. If possible, look for plants that don’t lose their leaves during the colder months. This will reduce the amount of sweeping and raking you do to keep the area clear of debris. There are a few different options when it comes to hiding the air conditioner with plants. Hedges are a common choice, and can be trimmed to the desired shape and height. Building a lattice around the A/C unit and landscaping with climbing plants is also a relatively simple and attractive option.
Whatever landscaping options you choose, make sure to trim plants, hedges and trees near the air conditioner regularly to maximize airflow and efficiency. If you have any questions about your air conditioning unit, or are looking for additional tips for landscaping around an air conditioner, contact your local Trane Comfort Specialist today.
Buying an Older Home: HVAC System Checklist
Learn what to look out for when buying an older home with this gas furnace and air conditioning system troubleshooting guide from Trane.
Depending on where you plan to buy property, you could be shopping for homes that are 50 or even 100 years old. And while some of these homes’ HVAC systems will have been upgraded, many will have older furnaces or air conditioning systems. Here are a few things to consider when buying an older home, or a home with an old HVAC system.
Older gas furnaces
As with any home purchase, make sure to have the furnace checked by a certified technician during the home inspection. That person should be able to tell you the condition of the older furnace, and any potential repairs or costs you could face in the near future.
If the technician recommends installing a new system, call your local Trane Comfort Specialist for a free evaluation and cost estimate. With your realtor’s help, you may even be able to subtract all or part of the cost of the furnace from the seller’s asking price.
If the existing furnace does pass inspection, have it rechecked annually, and keep your family safe by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Air conditioning systems in older homes
Since many older homes do not have air conditioning systems, you may be wondering how much it will cost to install a new central air conditioner. Your local Trane Comfort Specialist can help you make an informed decision by put together a quote, including the cost of installation, labor and equipment. Keep in mind that some older homes have electric or steam radiant heat. If that’s the case, and your home has no ductwork, you have a couple options:
- Ductwork can be installed throughout your home. While this can be an invasive and expensive option, you can work with your contractor to minimize the ductwork’s visibility, while still efficiently moving air to all parts of the house.
- You may also opt for a ductless cooling system. As the name suggests, these systems do not require ducts, but rather run small refrigerant and drainage lines from an outdoor unit to one or more indoor units.
Even if the home does have an existing central air conditioning system, you may still consider replacing it. Older air conditioners are usually less efficient than Trane’s newer models, and replacing old systems could result in significant energy savings over the life of the system. Check out Trane Air Conditioner SEER ratings to compare energy efficiency of different models.
Customizing an HVAC system for an older home
If you have any questions about upgrading an old HVAC system, contact your local Trane Comfort Specialist today. Our certified dealers can work with you during the home-buying process to make sure you have the information you need to make the right decision.
Tips for selling your home
Learn how home efficiency upgrades and HVAC system inspections can help you sell your home with these tips from Trane.
There are a lot of tips for selling your home out there, including hiring a staging company or painting the walls neutral colors, but some of the most effective tips are ones that will potentially save the buyer money. Here are a few ways in which HVAC system inspections and efficiency upgrades can help you sell your home.
HVAC system and home inspections
Home and HVAC system inspections are part of the selling process, and chances are good that the financing bank will require the buyer to pay for their own home inspection, even if you already had one done. So why pay for your own home and HVAC system inspections? Scheduling your own home inspections before you put the house on the market can be beneficial for the following reasons:
- A home inspection can help you appropriately and competitively price your house. If the price is too high, you’re unlikely to find a buyer; too low, and you’re at risk for losing money on the sale.
- An inspection can also point out issues with the house that you may want to resolve before it goes on the market. A surprise electrical problem could be a deal-breaker for a potential buyer.
- Most banks require a general inspection before authorizing a mortgage loan, but that general inspection doesn’t cover everything in the house. Having specific inspections done, like an HVAC system inspection, gives the buyer additional peace of mind and provides you more information on which to determine the selling price.
Another tip for selling your home involves providing the buyer with long-term savings. By increasing the efficiency of your home, you can promise the new owner years of savings on energy and heating bills. Here are a few ways to increase the efficiency of your home:
- Install new windows in your home. New, double-paned windows can significantly impact the heating and cooling bills by reducing heat transfer and drafts.
- Weatherproof windows and doors. Weather stripping or caulk can help patch drafty windows and doors.
- Install a new furnace or air conditioner. Upgrading your furnace or air conditioner to a more efficient Trane unit will not only save on energy costs each year, but also the buyer will likely not have to replace the system for many years.
While some of these efficiency upgrades can be expensive, keep in mind that most, if not all, of the cost can be added to the selling price of your home. Make sure to talk to your realtor about which efficiency upgrades will result in the best return on your investment.
Learn more about HVAC system installation
To learn more about the cost of installing a new furnace or air conditioner, or how a new system can improve the efficiency of your home, contact your local Trane Comfort Specialist today.