If you are planning on replacing your HVAC unit, or if are starting fresh and choosing which system to place in your newly built home, there are a few things you should know about your options for efficiently heating and cooling your home.
There are 4 types of HVAC units: furnaces, boilers, split systems, and mini-split systems. The system you need to consider is based on your home, and if any systems are already in place.
A split system is the most common HVAC system. It is a system that includes the air conditioner and furnace and has parts both inside and outside of the home. A split system is ideal for average sized homes, large homes, and even huge businesses, because it comes in a variety of sizes and power levels. Energy efficiency, even on the largest units, has improved tremendously in the past decade. Very little is wasted with 90% of the power put out by the system being used for heating or cooling.
A mini-split system is a unit that offers both heat and cool air, yet it is ductless, cost-effective, and highly efficient. A mini split system is also very quiet and low profile. Mini-split systems are ideal for single zones, but with the addition of a heat pump they can be used in multiple zones.
A furnace is used as the indoor part of the split system HVAC unit; the furnace can be gas, electric, or wood burning. Furnaces can be installed and repaired separate from a split system, but are most often installed as part of a large system. Any heating and cooling system can be repaired quickly by the professionals who installed it so call your installer if you need a furnace repair.
Boilers use water to heat your home. The water is heated up to 180 degrees and then either moves through pipes as liquid or steam radiantly heating your home. Radiant heat is a steady heat that does not dry the air, like forced air heat can. A boiler is also quieter than a furnace. However, a boiler costs more, and requires a separate forced air system.