Are you scratching your head trying to figure out what type of HVAC system you need?
AHA will help you make the right choice...
If you don't live in an area with a somewhat more temperate climate, you are likely to be very reliant on a properly functioning heating and air conditioning system. In most households the HVAC system is responsible for up to 40% or more of the monthly energy bill. Luckily, through technological advances, HVAC systems of the new age are of way higher quality, thus they are improved in the aspect of being far more energy efficient. Therefore, upgrading your current HVAC system and having it regularly maintained can cut down your bills significantly. You might also think about buying a new one, if your system is more than 15 years old.
All heating and air conditioning sources are not created equal. There are in fact too many differences to list them all on one page, but here are some of the major aspects to take into account when you have a heating unit installed. We recommend you call one of our advisors before you select or purchase a heating or cooling unit.
Top four heating units...
To start of with, there are four major types of indoor temperature regulation units in use in the United States. They are Furnaces, Heat Pumps, Geothermal Heating units and Radiant Heating Panels. Each one of these systems has it's own strengths and weaknesses.
The role climate plays...
For starters not all can be used in all climates. Some systems, Heat Pumps for instance, are more suitable for mild to moderate climates, depending on the type of heat pump you use and the severity of the weather conditions in your area.
Another big difference among the top four heating and cooling equipments is efficiency. They are nowhere near comparable when it comes to energy use. Oil burning furnaces for instance in general leave a bigger foot print on the environment compared to geothermal units.
The most common type of combo is an oil or gas furnace with central AC units. This way, heat can be provided through the same ducts set. Heat pumps are one type of central HVAC systems, which combine cooling and heating functions in one system. It is mostly used in moderate climates and especially energy efficient, thus handy to those who heat their houses with electricity. The ratio between energy consumption and provided energy is 1:3, and it reduces the energy bill by at least 25% and often more. Basically, heat pumps function on the same principle as AC units, though the two differ in many aspects, such as their components, for instance.
Splits system is a term used to refer to heat pumps, as well as most modern AC units, due to their multi-component structure; they consist of an outdoor and indoor unit. The former known as a condenser, whereas the latter is referred to as an evaporator coil. Their task is to distribute heat from one component unit to the other. This means that during the summer, heat is extracted from the inside and distributed outdoors, thus leaving cold year circulating through your household.
This all works thanks to the addition of a refrigerant, which transports heat between the two parts of the unit. This is what actually happens:
Refrigerant in the gaseous state is pressurized with high temperature by the compressor, located in the unit outdoors. Some of the heat is lost as the gas flows through the outside coil, and this condenses the refrigerant into a high-pressured liquid of high temperature. In this state, the refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil which is part of the fan coil unit of the indoors device.
The liquid starts expanding from that point on, transforming the refrigerant into a low pressure gas of low temperature. Consequently, the gas absorbs the heat from the interior ductwork, providing colder air throughout the rooms. The low temperature gas goes back to the compressor, starting the circle anew.
Apart from cooling the air, AC units and heat pumps also dehumidify it. This is because hot air cannot hold as much moisture as cold air does. That way moisture is released through the outside coils, freeing the indoor air of it. A best example of how this works are the beads of moisture outside a glass with cold drink in it, on a hot, humid day.
During the cold days, this same process takes place, only in reverse. Heat pumps use outside air or ground (in case of geothermal heat pumps) to take in heat, and then transport it to the interior of the house. The air goes through the evaporator coil and is released to circulate throughout the household.
What needs to be noted is that the heat pump absorbs heat from the air even on cold days. This is because, regardless of temperature, air still has a great percent of heat in it, unless the temperature drops below -200 Fahrenheit. What heat pumps actually do is squeeze heat out of the air with the help of a heat exchanger, and then distribute it around the home using fans which help the air circulate and bring heat within the house.
In case extra heat is needed than that extracted from the air, heat pumps usually come with either a back-up electric resistance or furnace heat in order to provide enough heat for your home at all times.
Heat Pumps vs. Conventional Electrical Heating
As an alternative option for power heating, heat pumps can provide up to 3 times more heating than a conventional electrical system. In other words, one kilowatt of electricity results in up to 3 kilowatts heat. At AHA we install, maintain and repair all types of Heating & Air Conditioning appliances.
Inverter Heat Pumps
What seems to be the best choice is the Inverter AC unit with an integrated heat pump, which can provide 3 times more power than traditional heat pumps. Its mechanism is quite simple, as the heat is absorbed by the heat pump and then released inside the house from the outdoor air.
Cost of Heat Pumps
The best thing about heat pumps is that they use the potential needed for only one-bar heater, but emit heat with the potential of four-bar heaters. Consequently, the bills are far lower than those of traditional heating.
Truth is, even though heat pumps are more pricey than traditional electric heaters, they turn out to be way more efficient, because the bills are far lower. The perks are numerous, as they provide cooling during summer, heating in winter, dehumidify the air and also improve air quality. One thing you can be certain of is that installing one of these systems really pays off.
Furnaces are heating systems that burn fuel to produce heat. Under most circumstances the installation costs of furnace systems are lower than heat pumps. Furnaces are better suited for areas with greater temperature changes during the seasons. Another advantage is that they don't rely on the ambient air for their operation, which means they can be used anywhere in the US no matter the climate conditions.
If you already have a furnace a yearly inspection is highly recommended. The best time to schedule your furnace inspection is early to mid autumn before it start getting really cold. This will ensure worn out components can be replaced or repaired before they break down and help you prevent un-welcome surprises later in the cold season.
Geothermal Heating is one of the most environmentally friendly ways of controlling the temperature inside your home. Geothermal Systems do not burn fuel and as such do not emit greenhouse gases and are considered extremely efficient in energy consumption. Another advantage of Geothermal Systems is that they run quietly and do not require much maintenance. There are very few moving parts to wear out.
Main parts of a unit are under ground heating or cooling air supplied from outside. One of the main advantages of this system is its Eco-friendliness: it doesn't emit greenhouse gases and energy-efficient. In addition they are very quiet and are hardly worn out.
Geothermal Systems do not take up a lot of space. Most piping goes directly down into the earth where heat is extracted from below. Only the heating and cooling air is supplied from the outside section of the unit. Most Geothermal Units can run for decades without requiring too much maintenance. A Geothermal System could easily cut your monthly energy bills by 30% or more.
One last option to consider for your heating needs are Radiant Heating Panels. Radiant heating is a system where panels are inserted either inside the paneling/walls of your home or if it's a property about to be built underneath the floor.
Sometimes this system is also installed in ceilings, but this setup is less efficient as hot air rises and it can cause a thermocline effect. Thermocline is where the temperature above the shoulder level feels hotter and cool down rapidly the closer you come to the floor.
There are two main types of Radiant Heating panels you can choose from. They are:
- Hydronic Radiant Heating Systems
- Electric Radiant Heating Systems
The main difference between the two is that Hydronic systems use a closed loop system of water or a mixture of water and a coolant (much like in your car radiator) to heat the house. Electric systems, as the name implies, use electricity as an energy source. Another difference though is that electric systems can only be used for heating, while hydronic systems can be used for both heating and cooling.
As you can see from all the above there is a lot to consider if you plan to have a new heating unit installed. Among the things to consider are installation costs, efficiency, maintenance, savings and even your location plays a role. At American HVAC Alliance we install, maintain and repair all heating systems from all major brands. One of our friendly staff members will be more than happy to discuss your situation.