An Overview of 4 Types of Residential HVAC Systems

Whether you are moving into a new home or upgrading your existing heating and cooling solution, you have a lot of options to choose from. No system is perfect for every home, so you will need to consider several factors before deciding which system to install next. Here is an overview of four types of residential HVAC systems.

1. Central Heating and Air 

Central heating and air is still the most popular option in modern homes. These systems consist of an indoor furnace, blower, and condenser coils and an outdoor condenser unit. Central heat and air is the first solution that most homeowners will consider to evenly heat and cool an entire home of any size.

Central heat and air is still so popular because it’s easy to install in any home with existing ductwork. The easy installation also means that you will usually pay less up-front to install central heat and air than you would for other systems. However, other types of HVAC systems available today can be significantly more energy efficient, so central heat and air may cost more over the long-term in monthly bills.

2. Hybrid Heat Pump Split Systems 

Although you may think from the name that a heat pump is just an alternative to a furnace, heat pumps are actually capable of both heating and cooling. Heat pumps move heat around to warm or cool your home instead of heating or cooling air directly. These systems rely on drawing heat from outdoors, so they do not have the same heating capacity as a furnace in very cold weather.

Because of this limitation, hybrid heat pump split systems were developed. A hybrid system features a heat pump as well as an electric or fuel-burning furnace. When the heat pump can no longer meet the heating demand of your home, the furnace takes over. This method of adapting to your heating needs makes hybrid systems a very energy efficient option.

If you live in a particularly cold climate, there may not be a cost benefit to installing a hybrid system, as you will be relying on the furnace most of the time. And no matter where you live, you should expect to pay more up-front for a hybrid system than traditional central heat and air.

3. Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps 

Ductless mini-split heat pumps are the premier option for zone-cooling your home. An air handler is installed in each room with a conduit that runs to an outdoor condenser instead of a duct. Ductless conduits take up much less space than ductwork, so they can be installed in even the smallest homes.

Because most HVAC system energy loss occurs due to air leaking from ductwork, ductless systems deliver unparalleled energy efficiency. You can increase your energy savings even more with zone heating and cooling, since you only have to run the air handler in the rooms you are using. Because they rely solely on a heat pump, however, they may not be suitable for very cold climates.

4. Packaged Heating and Air Conditioning 

If you live in a home that is particularly small or lacking utility space, you may not have room for a furnace indoors. A packaged system could be exactly the answer you’re looking for. With the furnace and air conditioner installed in the same outdoor housing, no HVAC system has a smaller footprint in your home than a packaged system.

Many contractors will provide lower service rates to homes with packaged heating and air since all components that need to be serviced are in one easily accessible place. Some homeowners may want to consider the effect this system will have on their home’s appearance though, since the housing must be installed on an outer wall or the roof of your home.

Installing a new HVAC system is a large investment, so it’s important to choose a system that you’ll be happy with for years to come. Keep these tips in mind, and contact us at Komfort Heating and Cooling so we can help you find the best option for your home.

Musty Smell From AC?

Whether it is the first time each season, or a daily occurence, your AC should never emit a musty odor! If you associate the click of your HVAC system turning on with a damp and earthy smell….then it is time to assess your system!

High humidity levels or a drainage leak could be causing excess moisture in your ducts and vents. This moisture building up where it shouldnt be can lead to mold and mildew growth. Exposure to mold can cause upper respiratory health complications, so if this scent is lingering in your space a duct cleaning service is definitely in order.

Another culprit could be a frozen evaporator coil. Air conditioning units take warm indoor air, remove the humidity, cool it on the coil, then cycle it back indoors. If your filter is dirty, dirt and debris block airflow through the filters which causes water drops to collect on the evaporator coil. These droplets then freeze onto the coil itself.

When not caught on the evaporator coil, moisture and droplets fall into the drain and drip pan. If this pan has worn over time it can accumulate mold, which can also be smelled when the unit is in operation.

Near the outdoor portion of your AC, is a line running from the drip pan to your landscaping. This is to drain the water from your drip pan, which makes it another prime option for housing mold. This line should be removed from its attachment once a month and cleaned with vinegar to remove debris and mold.

Avoiding mold in your equipment keeps your HVAC running it’s longest, but also keeps your family safe and secure.

AC Out? What to check before calling a tech.

It’s 95 degrees out, and your entire family is over for a BBQ. Your cousins baby is sleeping peacefully inside, when all of the sudden you realize the AC isn’t working and the indoor temperature is climbing.

Although your first reaction may be to call your local HVAC contracter (which is of course Komfort Heating), we have a couple simple tips to try before scheduling that service call. Saving you time, and money, these insider hacks are worth the try.

First, check your air filter! One of the most common culprits of a malfunctioning system is a dirty filter. Without proper air flow you could see your system begin to leak water, or even shut down. If it’s dirty, get a new one in and you’ll be surprised how often this resolves the problem.

Check your thermostat, is the screen on? Try changing the batteries and see if this helps your system. Low or dead batteries can also be the source of a poorly functioning system.

Check the circuit breaker. Find your breaker box and make sure all the breakers are in the ‘on’ position. Also try going to the furnace and flipping the on/off switch.

Finally, head on over to the outside unit for your air conditioning. Is it covered in debris or dust? If so, gently spray down the equipment. A clean condenser coil is essential to properly functioning equipment.

If none of these quick remedies bring your AC back to life, then it is probably time for an expert opinion. Although we hope you never run into problems bigger than these, Komfort Heating is always here to meet your HVAC needs as they arise!

 

Should I Replace My Whole HVAC System At Once or Just One Component?

This commonly asked question does not come with one hard and true answer for all homes. There are a variety of factors which go into this decision and make it a unique choice point for all home owners.

While not necessary to match your equipment by replacing both the furnace and the AC at the same time, the largest factor for consideration is energy efficiency. Equipment that is updated and designed to communicate and work well together will provide your home with the most cost-effective results.

Energy efficiency is a concern not only for environmental impact, but also due to it’s ability to decrease monthly bills. In addition to less costly monthly expenses, homeowners can save money upfront on installation. Because the process is less complicated when installing an entirely new system versus one single half, contractors are able to reduce labor costs, thus saving you money.

Finally, warranty opportunities are a consideration. When only part of the system is replaced at a time, the manufacturer is no longer obligated to honor the warranty which comes with a new system. Although not always the case, this is worth discussing with your HVAC provider to create a plan which meets your unique home needs.

 

Engergy Efficiency in A/C units.

Looking at purchasing new HVAC equipment can be overwhelming. You are making a major purchase for your home, with little to no knowledge about the system you’re making decisions about. Add into that all the technical jargon, ratings, sizes, and multi-stage options…..well even a somewhat knowledgeable homeowner could find themselves with questions.

When purchasing a new air conditioning unit, one factor to consider is the SEER rating- or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This number is an average of an entire season, to see how much energy a unit may use. There are minimum established requirements to be met here, and 13 SEER is the minimum. Although now the current standard has been raised, your home may have equipment with as low as 8 SEER due to changes in regulations over time.

Naturally, the higher your SEER rating, the more annual savings will be in cooling costs. This chart is a great visual to see where a front-end investment might prove to be highly beneficial over the long term.

Aside from money saving features, often systems with a higher SEER will also offer greater comfort. Typically, these units have a 2-stage or varible speed compressor in them. The downfall of a single stage unit is it can only run on one speed-leading to a system that is constantly turning off and on, resulting to uneven cooling. This fluctuation in temperature also inhibits the reduction of humidity in the home, further decreasing comfort.

Wisconsing Focus on Energy offers great rebates on high efficiency equipment, and Komfort Heating is proud to offer these as an instant discount to your system- saving you on both the initial investment, as well as over the long term.