Understanding the Different Types of HVAC Systems

Are you thinking about upgrading the HVAC system in your home? If your current one is nearing its expected lifespan or experiencing frequent repairs, an upgrade can save you a lot of money. It’ll also lead to improved indoor comfort, cleaner air quality and a greener home. Understanding your HVAC options is key to maximizing your home’s energy savings. 

Central AC

A central air conditioner removes warm air from the house and re-cools it using a refrigeration cycle. An intricate system of ducts disperses the cooled air all around the house. Central air conditioning systems are great for bigger houses that already have ducting installed and for spaces that have routine cooling demands. Preventative maintenance, which includes checking the refrigerant levels, cleaning or changing filters and monitoring the coils, is crucial for peak operation. This means you’ll need to schedule maintenance at least once a year, preferably before the cooling season. 

Electric Furnace

For electric furnaces, the process of heating air involves moving air over electric heating components. A blower then distributes the heated air around the house via ductwork. If you don’t have a huge heating load or live in an area with mild winters, an electric furnace may be a good choice. As part of routine maintenance, you should change the air filter. The furnace will need professional maintenance once a year. A technician will inspect the heating components for damage and make sure the electrical connections are tight. 

Gas Furnace

Gas furnaces use natural gas as a fuel source to create heat. A large blower circulates the heated air through the home’s ductwork, distributing warmth to different rooms. Because of the strong and efficient heating they provide, they are perfect for bigger houses and areas with colder temperatures. Maintenance for gas furnaces is a bit more complex than that for electric furnaces. Technicians have to check the burner and ignition systems along with ensuring proper ventilation. Gas furnaces require regular filter changes as well. 

Heat Pumps

Ducted heat pumps work by drawing heat from the ground or air outside and transferring it inside, or vice versa, to provide heating or cooling. An interconnected system of ducts carries the conditioned air to every room in the house. Ducted heat pump systems work best in larger homes that have existing ductwork. They do a great job of distributing air across multiple floors, making them suitable for multi-story homes. These systems also offer zoning capabilities, which makes them well-suited for homes that have varied heating and cooling preferences. Ducted heat pump systems need regular filter changes as well as annual maintenance. During maintenance visits, a technician will inspect the ductwork, clean the coils and calibrate the thermostat. Maintenance may also include performing a refrigerant check and cleaning the condensate drain. 

Ductless Heat Pump

Ductless heat pumps, also called mini-split systems, don’t need ductwork to heat and cool the home. Instead, they include an outdoor unit and multiple air-handling indoor units. Refrigerant lines link the indoor units to the outdoor setup. If your home doesn’t have ductwork, ductless HVAC is the way to go. They offer zone-specific climate control, allowing homeowners to customize temperatures in individual rooms. This flexibility makes them perfect for home additions where extending ductwork is challenging. Other areas that benefit from ductless HVAC include converted garages and basements. Like most other HVAC systems, ductless systems require regular filter replacements. They also need annual professional maintenance to clean coils, clear condensate lines, ensure proper refrigerant levels and inspect electrical components. 

Oil/Gas Conversions

There are several advantages to using gas instead of oil for heating a home, such as lower monthly bills, cleaner fuel and better overall efficiency. As part of the conversion process, you will need to determine the gas availability, run a gas line and either replace or alter the heating system. Because converting combustion systems is such a difficult task, it’s best left to the experts. Licensed professionals know how to check for conformity with rules and regulations and make sure everything stays fine-tuned for peak performance. Professionals will even help make sure you properly dispose of the old oil furnace. 

Ductwork Upgrades

Ductwork upgrades benefit your home in several ways. Better air circulation eliminates hot and cold areas by maintaining a constant temperature throughout the house. The improved ductwork also cuts down on air leakage, which, in turn, increases energy efficiency and decreases utility costs. More so, modern duct materials enhance indoor air quality by decreasing dust and allergy accumulation. This is why you should always consider ductwork upgrades any time you want to upgrade your home’s HVAC systems.

Air-Sealing Options

If you want your HVAC system to work as efficiently as possible, investing in professional air sealing is a must. The process of air sealing a house entails finding and fixing any openings in the structure’s exterior that might allow air to escape. Fixing these gaps improves the retention of conditioned air, which, in turn, lessens the strain on HVAC systems and leads to cost savings. It also makes the home more comfortable by reducing temperature fluctuations and blocking drafts.

Equally important is ductwork sealing, which allows the HVAC system’s air to effectively travel to its designated areas. Duct sealing improves system efficiency and keeps airflow uniform throughout the house by preventing air leaks. This greatly helps keep allergens and pollutants out of the air and improves indoor air quality.

Sealing the chimney cap keeps outside air out of the house, making it easier to regulate the temperature inside. This results in less strain on HVAC systems, which then reduces energy consumption and electricity bills. When not in use, it’s best to keep exhaust dampers securely shut to keep conditioned air in and unconditioned air out. Having these spaces professionally sealed improves the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Insulation Upgrades

Reducing heat transmission, insulation in the attic, walls and floors helps to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the whole home. This makes the HVAC system work with much greater efficiency. Insulating the home’s ductwork and pipes minimizes heat loss through air and water. It does this by keeping these vital components at a steady temperature. 

Professional insulators can identify the key parts of the home that need extra insulation. They can also help you choose the best insulation material. It’s very common for homes in Vancouver, WA, to benefit from cellulose or fiberglass insulation. 

Window Upgrades

Improving the HVAC system isn’t complete without upgrading the windows. This is because windows significantly affect the energy efficiency of the home. When selecting windows for your home, it’s important to think about their energy-efficiency ratings. Double-pane and triple-pane windows tend to have the best reviews. Think of each pane in a window as an insulating barrier. Triple-pane windows have three layers of barrier compared to single-pane’s one barrier. Since Washington tends to experience freezing temperatures throughout the winter, double-pane and triple-pane windows usually provide good results. 

The Revival Energy Group specializes in helping homeowners with HVAC upgrades. We provide installations, repairs, maintenance and more, along with easy-to-understand estimates and assessments. Give us a call now to speak with a licensed technician about making the temperature in your home more comfortable.