When it comes to upgrading your HVAC, there are a variety of ways that you can approach the situation. Here are some general ideas to help you get started:
Find the problem before you make a purchase
If you have been having troubles with your heater or air conditioning lately, then you might be compelled to simply upgrade the whole system. While this can be an effective approach, you could potentially save money by narrowing down the problem to a specific part of the system.
For example, if you've been having heater problems, then you might be dealing with a faulty filter or even a damaged gas line rather than problems with the heater itself. Getting professional work done on either of those two areas will be much cheaper than a total replacement.
For this reason, it's a good idea to get a professional consultation before you get an expensive upgrade. You don't want to spend a lot of money to solve a problem that doesn't even exist.
Maintenance can be more expensive than an upgrade
Before you try to repair an older unit to increase its efficiency, you might want to consider just buying an entirely new unit. After all, you don't want to spend the time tinkering around with an inefficient unit, only to find that your work was all for naught.
If your heater or air conditioner has been requiring more and more maintenance, then there is no good reason to expect that it will become less demanding in the future. The bills and hours will only grow.
Ultimately, you will need to take a hard look at how much time and money you have had to spend on your HVAC lately. If the hours and dollars have been mounting up, then you might be better off with an upgrade rather than constant maintenance.
Heat pumps can combine heating and air conditioning
You might also be interested in combining your heating and air conditioning into a single appliance. A heat pump can do that, and can even offer some very impressive efficiency. Running a heat pump isn't very expensive if you live in a temperate or warm climate, but you might want to think twice before getting a heat pump in cold climates.
If you are still intent on getting a heat pump in places that snow, then you might want to get a geothermal heat pump. While the installation may be pretty expensive, the long-term savings can be worth it.