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HVAC System Types: What You Need to Know Before You Purchase

Posted by Kelly on Dec 3, 2015 1:28:43 PM

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A new HVAC system — it’s something you’ll only need to purchase once, maybe twice in your lifetime as a homeowner. When you do, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right one for you, because your home’s comfort depends on it. If you are in the market for a new HVAC, here are some things to know about the different HVAC system types before you make a purchase.

Learn And Prioritize

There is more than one way to heat a house (or cool it), and each way has its pros and cons. They key is finding out what is most important to you and choosing that.

For example, do you want a system that is more energy efficient — which can lower the cost to run it each month, but is usually more expensive to install — or do you want a system that is cheaper to install upfront but could cost you a little more each month to run? Do you want to use natural gas, propane, steam, water, electric, solar, geothermal, coal, wood or corn to heat your house? Do you want your whole home to feel the same temperature or would you prefer only heating the rooms you are using? 

Because there are so many different types, learning which works best for your home and within your budget is the smartest route.

There Are Different Types/Fuels

Like mentioned above, HVAC systems can use different fuels to heat your home and different ways to bring you that heat. 

For example, hydronic heating works by using the heat from hot water to keep your home warm. Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air, says that radiant in-floor heating – which uses coils in the floors to distribute the heat from the water – is a very popular hydronic heating system.

“Hydronic is easy to zone (a separate thermostat in every area of the home), and it can be very quiet, almost silent in many cases,” he says. “But it’s on the high side of the installed cost spectrum, and it’s heating only, requiring a separate system for cooling, usually a ducted system or multiple smaller AC units – window units or duct free air conditioners.”

The types of systems found in most homes in Minnesota are forced air systems. Keith says because a forced air system combines both the furnace and “split” air conditioner system that both utilize the same ductwork, you are really getting the most bang for your buck. Forced air typically uses natural gas or propane.

 “Modern advances in staged heat, and even better, modulating heat, make the new furnaces contenders with hydronic systems both in temperature comfort and quiet comfort,” he says.

To learn more about how your forced air HVAC works, click here to get the scoop. And to learn more about modulating and staged heat, click here for our Furnace 101 Guide

Another type of heating and cooling system is a heat pump, which Keith says is basically an air conditioner that works in reverse in the winter months.

 

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Topics: HVAC