Keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer requires finding out which types of heating and air conditioning units are best suited for your home. There are many different types available, each with their pros and cons. Before we look at your different options, you need to consider the following important factors which will help you choose the best system for your home.
- Overall Size of the Home: The total amount of living space within the home is a factor you need to consider. Heating and cooling 3,000 square feet compared to 1,500 square feet can require a larger system.
- Which Rooms You Want to Heat and Cool: If you only have specific rooms you want to heat and cool at different times of the day, this can influence which heating and air conditioning system installation you will require.
- Size of the System: Each type of heating and AC system has a specific size. The size of the system determines how well it can heat and cool your home. If a system is too small for the size of the home, then it will not be heated and cooled efficiently. On the other hand, if the system is too large for the home, then, while it will effectively heat and cool it, it is still not the most efficient system for your home.
- Efficiency of the System: The efficiency of heating and AC systems has to do with how much energy they will require to heat and cool the home. AC units have a SEER rating, and the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system will be. Ideally, you want to choose a system that has a high SEER rating and/or is Energy Star certified for the lowest energy costs.
Now that you are considering these important factors, let’s take a look at your different system options, which include:
- Split (Central) Heating and Air Conditioning Systems: This type of system is the one most people are familiar with and which are found in many homes. There is an indoor furnace attached to an outdoor cooling unit. This type of system does require ductwork in order to circulate heated and cooled air throughout the home.
- Ductless Heating and Cooling Split and Multi-Split Systems: This type of system is where there is no ductwork required. Rather, there is an outdoor compressor that is connected to individual air handlers installed in one or more rooms within the home.
- Packaged Systems: This type of heating and air conditioning system is more common in southern states where winter temperatures are mild. The system consists of a single unit installed outside the home and connected to air ducts. In the summer, the unit functions much like a central air conditioner. In the winter, heat coils heat up cold air to warm up the inside of the home.
- Heat Pumps: Heat pumps work similar to central heating and AC systems. The key difference is the heat pump moves heat from different areas, either from inside the home to the outside or vice versa. Most systems have a central air handler installed inside the home and connected to air ducts to deliver heated or cooled air to every room within the home.
Split (Central) System Pros
- Provides heated and cooled air to every room of the home.
- Easy to control the entire system from a single thermostat.
- Can close air vents in rooms that do not need to be heated or cooled.
- Most economical to install when you already have an existing furnace since the AC unit can share existing ductwork.
Split (Central) System Cons
- Bi-annual maintenance is required to ensure the system works correctly for cooling and heating.
- Air ducts can get dirty and need cleaning.
- If the blower motor breaks, you cannot use either part of the system.
- The entire home is heated or cooled to one set temperature.
- Ductwork has to be installed with new systems in homes that currently do not have air ducts.
Ductless Split and Multi-Split System Pros
- Perfect for small- and medium-sized homes or additions to existing homes where you want to heat and cool the new room but do not want to run ductwork.
- Able to heat and cool individual rooms at different temperatures.
- Great for homes without existing air ducts.
- Does not require tearing up walls to install.
- More energy-efficient than split systems and heat pumps.
- If one air handler breaks down, you can still use the other air handlers in the home.
Ductless Split and Multi-Split System Cons
- Costs can be more if you want to heat and cool the entire home rather than specific rooms.
- Each room you want to heat and cool has to have its own air handler.
- Each individual air handler has to be serviced and maintained.
Packaged System Pros
- Combines heating and cooling into a single outdoor unit.
- Saves space inside the home since a separate furnace is not required.
- Great for mobile and modular homes that may not have sufficient space inside for a central split system.
- Functions similar to central split systems and heat pumps.
- Can be easier to maintain and service since all parts and components are contained in a single unit.
Packaged System Cons
- Requires ductwork to be installed in the home without existing air ducts.
- Not always the best choice for colder climates.
- Bi-annual maintenance is also required for packaged systems.
- Home is heated or cooled to a single preset temperature.
Heat Pump Pros
- Takes up less space than a traditional central heat and AC system.
- Works just as well as central heating and air conditioning systems.
- Some heat pumps are more energy-efficient than central split systems.
- Can be easier to maintain and service compared to central split systems.
Heat Pump Cons
- Not the best solution in areas that remain below freezing for an extended period of time.
- Costs for geothermal heat pumps can be more expensive than other types of systems.
- Requires bi-annual maintenance just like central split systems.
- Does require air ducts inside the home in order to circulate heated and cooled air throughout the home.
- Can only have one set temperature for the entire home.
As you can tell, split (central), heat pumps, and package systems all work in a similar way and require ductwork inside your home. Ductless heating and cooling systems do not require ducts, so, if you don’t have existing ducts, this type of system might be better.
Other Considerations When Selecting Heating and Air Conditioning Units
Many homes in the Olympia and Puget Sound area have fireplaces, wood burning stoves, or pellet stoves that homeowners use to help heat their homes in winter. In this case, you have a bit more flexibility of what systems would be best for your home. In addition, if you have an existing system that needs to be replaced, it can be more cost-effective to replace it with a similar system since it will be easier to install.
For homes that do not have existing ductwork, it is possible to run air ducts throughout the home, but it can require cutting into the walls, ceiling, or flooring. Prior to installing ductwork, you must also make sure you have sufficient space for the ducts to fit. If not, then a ductless system will probably be better.
For further information about different heating and air conditioning units for your home, assistance in selecting the best one for your heating and cooling needs, or to obtain a free quote for installation, please feel free to contact A+ Services at 360-491-2900 today! We also offer plumbing, septic, and electrical repairs, maintenance, and installation services.