Whether you are moving into a new home or upgrading your existing heating and cooling solution, you have a lot of options to choose from. No system is perfect for every home, so you will need to consider several factors before deciding which system to install next. Here is an overview of four types of residential HVAC systems.
1. Central Heating and Air
Central heating and air is still the most popular option in modern homes. These systems consist of an indoor furnace, blower, and condenser coils and an outdoor condenser unit. Central heat and air is the first solution that most homeowners will consider to evenly heat and cool an entire home of any size.
Central heat and air is still so popular because it’s easy to install in any home with existing ductwork. The easy installation also means that you will usually pay less up-front to install central heat and air than you would for other systems. However, other types of HVAC systems available today can be significantly more energy efficient, so central heat and air may cost more over the long-term in monthly bills.
2. Hybrid Heat Pump Split Systems
Although you may think from the name that a heat pump is just an alternative to a furnace, heat pumps are actually capable of both heating and cooling. Heat pumps move heat around to warm or cool your home instead of heating or cooling air directly. These systems rely on drawing heat from outdoors, so they do not have the same heating capacity as a furnace in very cold weather.
Because of this limitation, hybrid heat pump split systems were developed. A hybrid system features a heat pump as well as an electric or fuel-burning furnace. When the heat pump can no longer meet the heating demand of your home, the furnace takes over. This method of adapting to your heating needs makes hybrid systems a very energy efficient option.
If you live in a particularly cold climate, there may not be a cost benefit to installing a hybrid system, as you will be relying on the furnace most of the time. And no matter where you live, you should expect to pay more up-front for a hybrid system than traditional central heat and air.
3. Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps
Ductless mini-split heat pumps are the premier option for zone-cooling your home. An air handler is installed in each room with a conduit that runs to an outdoor condenser instead of a duct. Ductless conduits take up much less space than ductwork, so they can be installed in even the smallest homes.
Because most HVAC system energy loss occurs due to air leaking from ductwork, ductless systems deliver unparalleled energy efficiency. You can increase your energy savings even more with zone heating and cooling, since you only have to run the air handler in the rooms you are using. Because they rely solely on a heat pump, however, they may not be suitable for very cold climates.
4. Packaged Heating and Air Conditioning
If you live in a home that is particularly small or lacking utility space, you may not have room for a furnace indoors. A packaged system could be exactly the answer you’re looking for. With the furnace and air conditioner installed in the same outdoor housing, no HVAC system has a smaller footprint in your home than a packaged system.
Many contractors will provide lower service rates to homes with packaged heating and air since all components that need to be serviced are in one easily accessible place. Some homeowners may want to consider the effect this system will have on their home’s appearance though, since the housing must be installed on an outer wall or the roof of your home.
Installing a new HVAC system is a large investment, so it’s important to choose a system that you’ll be happy with for years to come. Keep these tips in mind, and contact us at Komfort Heating and Cooling so we can help you find the best option for your home.