Different Types of Air Conditioner and Heating Systems
Have you been thinking about what type of air conditioner and heating unit that you want to be installed at your home or office? Beyond recognizing that we are going to need heating and air in our new home or office space, many of us don’t typically think of what type of unit we are going to need to keep our home or work areas at a comfortable temperature.
If you aren’t familiar with the different kinds of air conditioning and heating units that are available to you, there are four primary types.
- Split systems
- Hybrid systems
- Duct-free systems
- Packaged heating and air systems
Here is an overview of each type of system so that you can decide which heating and air unit works best for your needs, climate, and budget.
Heating and Cooling Split System
Split systems are the most commonly used HVAC system in the industry. The name “split system” describes a dual function system (for both heating and air, respectively) that are split between two different units. One that is an air conditioning unit that will cool your area during the warmer months, and the other unit for heating which will keep your area nice and toasty during the fall, winter, and early spring.
If you were to walk around most of the homes in a given neighborhood, you will see the cooling unit positioned somewhere outside of the home. The cooling unit on a split system will have.
The refrigerant inside of the AC unit
- Air compressors
- and a fan
The refrigerant, air compressors, and coils within the unit are used to cool the hot air that the air conditioning unit sucks in from the outside. The fan within the AC system is used to extract the hot air from inside of your house, and blow it outside.
The heating unit on a split cooling system is normally placed in a basement or a covered storage area outside of the home or office building. Heating units in a split unit system normally use gas for energy to heat the inside of a structure. The heater uses either a fan or some type of evaporator to circulate the warm air within your space. A thermostat is used to control the temperature of both the air conditioner and the heating unit.
Why are split systems the most widely used?
Split heating and cooling systems are the most popularly used types of HVAC solutions because they don’t have a lot of climate or environmental factors that would either inhibit or enhance their use.
Hybrid Split System
What are the key differences between a hybrid split system and your standard split system?
Hybrid split systems are unique in that they give you, the owner, the ability to choose what type of heat you want to run your heater off of. It gives you the option to toggle between gas or electric power. The advantage of tapping into gas is that gas energy gives you the ability to sustainably heat your area in the quickest way possible. Though, depending on what your gas utility costs are, this can be more expensive than running your heat off of electric power. The advantage of using electrical heating is that it is more energy-efficient. Running on electric heat can save you on energy costs while serving as a significantly quieter means of heating your space.
Why would I choose a hybrid split over a traditional split system
Though a hybrid system may seem like a more sensible choice for giving you the option of either electric or gas heat, these hybrid systems function better and are more effective in mild or moderate climates. They can be an excellent way to save money on your energy bill during the winter.
Duct Free (Mini-Split) System
The duct free system is commonly known as a mini-split system. These are the systems that you think of when you see individual air conditioning or heating units mounted in windows, walls, or above doors around a house or office area. They considered duct free because they don’t require a duct system that runs throughout the interior of your area, like central HVAC units use.
The downside of duct free systems is that they can have the most expensive upfront cost. You are footing the bill for multiple heating and cooling units to cool designated areas within your home or office, as opposed to one or two central units that will heat and cool the entire indoor area.
The upside to a duct free system is that you individual climate control of each individual’s room that you have a system mounted in. If you want to run your AC or heater in one room but not another, a duct free heating and cooling system makes it easy to do that. As such, this type of system can be a great way to conserve energy and save money in the long term, as you won’t be wasting energy on rooms or areas of your space that aren’t used as regularly as others. Be aware that this type of system does require vigilant cleaning and maintenance.
Packaged Heating and Air
This is perhaps the least seen and most unique type of heating and air unit on the market. This is a single unit that contains both heating and air conditioning capabilities. These are difficult to spot because they are commonly installed either in an above-home storage area or the attic.
These are compact units that don’t take up a lot of space, which makes them ideal for smaller houses and homes. Another huge plus to a packaged heating and air system is that they are easier to maintain than other types of units. You ordinarily find these types of units in climates that have mild winters, because the electrical heating units on these aren’t as efficient as the larger heating units that we have covered thus far.
What type of system should I get?
All of these heating and cooling systems come with their unique advantages and disadvantages. If you aren’t sure which type of HVAC unit would be best for you, contact our experts at Preferred Climate Solutions today.