Maybe your old HVAC system has finally failed, and now you're on the hunt for an upgrade. Or perhaps you're tired of high utility costs and looking for a more efficient cooling system. Whatever your needs, finding a new cooling system for your Richmond, Virginia, home requires that you sift through a number of options that all seem like they would be adequate. But you don't want adequate. You need the HVAC system that feels built for you. Consider the cost, efficiency and convenience of these four cooling systems, and you'll find the system to fit your needs:
Of all the HVAC systems, you're probably most familiar with the split system. A split HVAC system contains a separate air conditioner and furnace. When you need to cool your home, refrigerant moves between the indoor air handler of the air conditioner and an outdoor compressor unit. The unit transfers heat from that refrigerant before pumping it back into your home to cool your air. Fans then blow the air through a duct network.
Split systems are more affordable than some of the other HVAC units. But while they can be efficient with regular professional maintenance, they tend to be less energy-efficient than a heat pump or a ductless system. Therefore, you should also consider these two options.
Packaged systems are much like split systems, except that the air conditioner and furnace sit in a single metal package. Where your indoor air handler, outdoor compressor and furnace are all separated in a split system, a packaged system keeps everything outdoors.
To conserve space in the living areas, some homeowners with smaller houses will install a packaged system. That increased exposure to the elements often leaves packaged systems with a shorter lifespan, though. And while packaged systems are the more cost-effective option to initially install, they're overall less energy-efficient than a split system.
In most ways, heat pumps are functionally the same as conventional air conditioners, save for one crucial difference. Your air conditioner can only pump refrigerant in one direction. It absorbs heat inside your home and moves the heat outside. A heat pump has a reversal switch that enables it to move heat indoors, too. As a result, a heat pump can function as both an air conditioner and a heater.
Since a heat pump can both heat and cool from a single system, it's much more energy-efficient than both packaged and split systems. Install a heat pump and you'll certainly see your utility bills drop. However, while your heat pump will easily keep you cool in the summer, most heat pumps struggle to efficiently warm your home when temperatures drop below freezing. Therefore, you might need a backup heater.
Ductless systems are perhaps the most unique of these cooling systems. The split units, packaged units and heat pumps all rely on a duct network to move air throughout your home. While those ducts are usually effective at cooling your living space, you often lose air and energy in those ducts, potentially reducing energy efficiency and comfort. Ductless mini-split systems get rid of the problem by removing ducts altogether. Instead, an indoor air handler unit that can both heat and cool your living space sits directly on the wall of your room.
By removing ducts, ductless systems become the most energy-efficient of all these cooling systems. The ability to place the air handlers in individual rooms enables you to personalize your comfort. If you want to use ductless units to cool your entire home, though, it can get expensive to install that many systems. Therefore, it's best to consult a professional before moving forward with a ductless installation.
What's the best cooling system? There's no perfect answer to that question. But there's likely one system that will better meet the needs of your home and budget than others. No one matter which system is right for you, have it installed by calling Air Excellence, Inc. at 804-885-3888.
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