Beginner’s Guide: How to Choose a Heating and Cooling System
March 25, 2022at5:00 AM
A well-functioning HVAC system is integral for your comfort. In fact, your HVAC system is likely one of the most important purchases you can make for your home. But navigating all of the available information on HVAC systems takes time, a bit of know-how, and can easily get overwhelming.
To help you make an informed decision, and choose the best type of HVAC system for your home, we’ve put together a guide.
HVAC Systems: What Are They?
HVAC systems are what cool and heat our home’s atmosphere. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. HVAC systems keep your home comfortable throughout the year by allowing you to set and regulate the temperature inside.
While we often take them for granted, they improve our quality of life to a big degree.
Types of HVAC Systems
As you’re looking into HVAC Systems, you’re going to come across four main types. These four different types of HVAC systems are going to have different prices, efficiency ratings, and some will suit certain homes more than others. It’s important to consider your budget and your home when choosing between the four. And you should also factor in installation costs!
Split system: The most common type of HVAC system, split systems have both an outdoor and indoor unit with thermostat control in one or more rooms of the house. One unit is used for cooling while the other is used for heating.
Hybrid System: Hybrid systems are more efficient than split systems. While hybrid systems have more initial costs than a split system to purchase and install, they often save money in the long run.
Ductless system: Ductless systems often consist of a wall-mounted indoor unit paired with an outside compressor. If a home has no ductwork, a ductless system is a reliable choice for HVAC needs.
Packaged system: Packaged HVAC systems are single units that both heat and cool. They’re typically installed outside of your home on the ground or on the roof. These are high-quality systems that are often used for homes without basements.
Your choice of HVAC system is going to depend on several factors. Of course, the cost is a big consideration, but so is the actual space and structure of your home. You don’t want to go through all of the trouble of purchasing and installing a new system if it doesn’t have the capacity you need.
An inefficient HVAC system is going to cost you more money over time. But, nowadays, most systems have vastly improved efficiency ratings. Each system will have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (or SEER), HSPF, AFUE, and EER.
These ratings can provide insight into how the system runs and how much fuel and energy the HVAC will use. Typically, the most efficient systems have a SEER rating of 30 or more, but anything higher than a 14 is considered to be good.
The capacity of an HVAC unit is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). To determine if an HVAC system will effectively heat and cool your home, you can measure it through different methods. Square footage of your home, or through a more precise method like the Manual J calculation. HVAC companies can help you with this process.
Beyond efficiency and capacity, you’ll also likely want to know how loud an HVAC system is and choose one that fits your noise tolerance. Furthermore, if you want to improve the quality of your indoor air, you may want to consider a unit with UV light to kill airborne particles. Lastly, consider how much maintenance your unit will require.