When you’re freezing, or sweating to death, it’s no fun. That’s why it’s important to maintain your HVAC system. Here’s how to choose the right option for your modern home.
The Local Climate
The first thing to think about, according to www.HarsterHeating.com, is the climate where you live. There is a world of difference between northern and southern climates. And, that fact alone can influence which systems you should look at.
For example, if you live in a climate that’s very cold, you will need reliable heat, but you may not need a robust air conditioning unit. A southern climate may demand a robust air conditioning system, since you may be battling both the heat and humidity, which requires you to dehumidify the home or face mold and mildew problems.
Those living with a moderate climate and a mild winter might need something as simple as a heat pump. Someone living in a location that routinely gets 2 feet of snow probably needs a gas or oil-fired furnace of some kind.
Many people living in northern climates chose a steam system which introduces moisture into the air, since winters in the north tend to be very dry.
It’s also a good idea to take a second look at your insulation. Improving energy efficiency will affect the type of system you use. Having a high efficiency home means you can use a smaller system, or one that’s very efficient and not worry about overworking it or not staying comfortable.
Inspect your ductwork and caulk all your doors and windows. Finally, determine the type of energy source you want to use. Sometimes, simplest is best. So, using an oil or gas furnace might be the best solution.
One type of heating system you might consider is forced air. It’s by far the most popular method of heating a home. They’re mostly used in northern climates, but they are also found in southern climates, especially in the U.S.
The way these systems work is heated air is forced through ducts in the home, which enter rooms, heating them. The air is heated using a gas or oil-powered furnace, which either heats air directly or heats it indirectly.
Some systems use electricity to heat the air, but they tend to consume a lot of energy, making them a costly way to heat a home. When looking at any type of furnace, it’s important to check the fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This represents how efficient the system is. High efficiency systems also have a Yellow Energy Star sticker on them.
These heating systems use an air conditioning unit that’s capable of pumping heat or extracting it, based on what you want to do with it. In that sense, these systems are more about moving air around, rather than heating it. The most common heat pump is an electric air source system. It offers heating and air conditioning in one unit.
These systems work by pulling heat from the outside and pushing it indoors to warm the home. It can also pull heat from inside the house and push it outside, which cools the home.
They are most efficient when the outdoor temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. It makes them more ideal for moderate climates. A pump’s efficiency is indicated by the heating season performance factor (HPSF) for heating and the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) for the cooling part.
High efficiency models also carry the coveted Energy Star logo.
These systems are in-demand simply for their efficiency. They are also an option for those concerned about the environment. The ground-source heat pumps take advantage of the temperature of the earth to heat a home. This makes them more accurate and efficient.
Geothermal systems use a ground loop system, which is buried beneath the earth. This, unfortunately, makes them a rather expensive option. They’re also complicated to install, meaning you need skilled installers to do the job. However, the benefits are enormous. Because they’re so efficient, and there are relatively few moving parts, they require less maintenance than other systems.
They also have an exceptionally long equipment life, and they are not noisy to run.
Which System Should You Choose?
It all depends on where you live, how much you can spend on installing and maintaining your system, and what you’re comfortable with buying. Most people benefit from a system that’s simple to understand, and where maintenance is low-cost and technicians are plentiful. So, while a heat pump might be an efficient system, it’s not a good option if no one in your area services them.
Grace Humphries takes an interest in remodeling and home renovation and has dreams of one day creating her own eco-home. Until then she works to improve her current home.