Your home is a sanctuary from the outside elements. Whatever the weather decides to do outside, you can feel secure knowing that your home’s interior will always be set to your desired comfort level. Centralized heat and air changed the game with its invention, and now over 90% of American households maintain a comfortable indoor living space thanks to an HVAC system.
But what is an HVAC system, and what happens when it’s time to install one? How will you know if you’re getting the right one for your home? HVAC systems are large complex systems with many moving parts that work together to ensure a set atmosphere within your home. What appears to be as easy as flipping a switch is just the catalyst for a vast network of wires, ducts, fans, and other elements to begin working together to cool or heat your home.
To help you figure out the mystery behind it all and better guide you through the process of buying a new one for your home, A&R Mechanical has compiled a comprehensive guide.
What is HVAC?
HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Everything that your HVAC unit provides. Heating and air conditioning are easy to understand if you think of them as the system raising the temperature within your home or cooling it. But what about ventilation? What exactly is your HVAC system venting? This is a two-fold answer. Ventilation refers to outside air being brought into the home to help acclimate the house’s interior with fresh air. Without proper ventilation, the air inside the home would be continually recycled, resulting in many health problems. The other side of ventilation that your HVAC is responsible for is pulling air from your home to warm or cool your home more efficiently. Your system pulls unconditioned air out of your house and replaces it with conditioned air, heating your home faster and more economically.
Your HVAC system is an essential element when it comes to whole home comfort, but with so many different types and sizes of HVAC systems on the market, how do you know which one is right for your home specifically?
Choosing The Right HVAC System
While many factors should be considered when looking for a new HVAC system for your home, the most important factor is the size of the unit you’ll need to heat and cool your living space efficiently. It’s not uncommon to see older homes with HVAC systems that are too big or too small for their home. Both occurrences can create issues for the health of your system and will require repairs more often than a correctly sized HVAC system.
When considering what size of HVAC system you need for your home, your first step should be to contact a professional HVAC service provider. Their expert advice will ensure you know what size system your house will need to keep your home comfortable effectively. They’ll consider many factors, like the size of your home, ceiling height, the insulation inside, and daily exposure to the sun. These variables are important considerations when deciding on a proper HVAC system for your home.
Choosing the size of your system won’t be the only decision you have to make. You’ll also have to consider what system would work best for your home and budget. There are four types of HVAC systems to choose from.
Heating and Cooling Split System
This type of system is the most common among HVAC units. The system is split between two units, one that cools your home and one that heats it. You may have a furnace closet inside of your home that houses the heating element and an A/C unit outside that is responsible for cooling your home. You can switch between the two elements from your thermostat.
A hybrid split system is similar to a split system in that you have two major components responsible for heating and cooling your home but with one key difference. The heating component can switch between gas or electricity, which is ideal for places where colder weather may negatively affect electricity. It’s also helpful to homeowners who want to be able to switch back and forth to maintain energy efficiency and comfort.
Duct-free units have gained popularity for their efficiency and convenience. Mini split systems are a great option for homeowners who want to eliminate ducts and maximize ceiling or attic space. The split system allows you to customize temperatures in specific rooms because each room has its control. The rooms are all connected to an outdoor unit through their line. While this option is one of the most energy-efficient, it’s also one of the most costly upfront.
Packaged Heating and Air
Packaged heating and air units are commonly seen in warmer climates. These units are smaller in size and all-encompassing. You can usually fit these units in your home without taking up too much space, but they are not very effective at heating your home due to their size. These types of units would not be recommended in places where temperatures are colder for longer.
Thinking about purchasing a new HVAC system without thinking about cost would be a mistake. Due to so many system variances, many different price options are also available. Choosing an HVAC system that fits your home and is within your budget will help save you headaches further down the road.
The cost of an HVAC unit varies according to the type of system you choose and the system’s efficiency. A more efficient system, such as a mini-split, may cost more upfront, but you’ll save money on your electric bill and maintenance, provided that it’s frequently cleaned. Larger or less efficient systems may not have as hefty of a price tag, but without the ability to customize climates by zone, you’ll be heating and cooling your entire home, which may create high electric and/or gas bills.
Indoor Air Quality
HVAC systems do more than just heat and cool your home. They are also responsible for providing clean air to your household. Some systems do this better than others.
Every system will have a filtration component that catches particles in the air and holds them for disposal. The type of filter will vary according to the type of system, but some HVAC systems include extra components that increase air purification. Some of these components include media filters, electrical filters, and ultraviolet filters. Each filter beyond your unit’s flat filter adds an extra layer of protection from air particles and bacteria.
Adding extra filters will increase the overall price of your unit. In some cases, having more filtration is worth it. Decide if your budget allows room for air purification as you consider your next HVAC system.
As a final consideration in our guide to HVAC systems, we include the unit’s warranty coverage. Regardless of what kind of system you have, your system will require maintenance. Parts break and need cleaning. Some parts can’t be fixed or cleaned except by a qualified service technician. It’s always a good idea to know what kind of coverage you can expect when it comes to replacement and service. As you consider which HVAC system is right for you, find out what kind of warranty each system will provide you and for how long.
A&R Mechanical is here to help
When it’s time to replace your existing HVAC system or if you are looking to buy one for the first time, let A&R mechanical help. We’ll ensure you have the right unit for your home and all the components to keep your home comfortable and safe from airborne pollutants. Give A&R Mechanical a call today. We’re ready to give you the answers you need.