Keeping your home on top shape is challenging, but not impossible. By maintaining temperature, humidity and reducing wear and tear on surfaces in your home you can keep it looking and feeling newer for longer. The best system to achieve this will vary depending on your budget and comfort expectations.
Air conditioning can be an effective way to heat and cool a home, providing comfort throughout the year. However, it can be costly to run if it is used unnecessarily. Keeping your home well serviced, operating on timers and shutting doors between rooms when not in use can reduce energy consumption. Planting deciduous trees or adjusting existing ones can provide shade during the hottest parts of the day and let sunlight in through winter.
Heating and cooling account for a significant proportion of household energy use, so it’s important to make wise choices when buying systems. Consider your climate and the size of your home before deciding on a system. For example, a heat recovery system that captures wasted energy from vented warmed air to warm fresh input air can help reduce heating costs.
Using heating systems like furnaces, your house gets warm air from outside and distributed throughout your home through ductwork. This type of system is known as a forced-air system and is the most common way to heat a home in the United States. Furnaces use a gas or oil burner to create heat and distribute it through the home by a blower fan. Furnaces are available in both electric or natural gas models and can be single-stage or multi-stage units. A thermostat controls when your furnace will turn on and off to keep your house comfortable.
Older furnaces tend to be oversized, wasting energy by operating too much all the time. If yours is one of them, replacing it with a newer high-efficiency model may cut down on energy usage and save you money. Newer furnaces typically have a blower fan that circulates the warm air into your home through ductwork and registers.
The hot air from your furnace will cool down as it goes through the ductwork and registers in your home, but you can help by placing a filter over the registers to trap dust and debris that would otherwise be blown around your house. You can also improve the quality of your indoor air by getting a HEPA filter for your furnace, which will further reduce dust and other contaminants in your household.
Furnaces can be powered by gas, propane, electricity or oil, with each option bringing its own pros and cons to the table. For example, a natural gas furnace requires access to a city gas line to operate, but it offers the most economical solution overall.
Electric furnaces, on the other hand, have no gas connection and work by converting electrical energy into heat via electric heating elements. This is a more flexible solution, and you can even add dampers to your furnace that allow it to only heat certain rooms in your house at night without waking everyone up.
Boiler heating systems are an alternative to traditional furnaces that can offer a number of benefits, including draft-free radiant heat and lower maintenance costs than a forced air system. However, they can cost more upfront and take longer to install than a furnace.
When it comes to heating and cooling your home, ductless systems have many advantages. For starters, they’re much less invasive to install than traditional forced-air systems. Ductless mini-splits require small pipes that only need a hole of less than three inches, so you don’t have to worry about reconstructing walls and ceilings in order to create the ductwork necessary for a conventional system. This makes them perfect for new additions and renovations, and you won’t have to sacrifice square footage just to add a cooling system.
They’re also far more energy efficient than traditional ducted systems, so you can enjoy lower utility bills. Plus, they offer independent temperature control for each zone in your house. If your kids fight over the thermostat, for instance, you can solve the problem by installing a ductless system with zoning capabilities.
Ductless systems are also great for people who have insufficient ductwork. They can easily heat or cool a basement, attic, garage, or home addition. They’re also an excellent solution for homes with older ductwork that’s inefficient or damaged. And they’re a good alternative to using window air conditioners or electric baseboard heaters for rooms that don’t have enough space for a duct system.
However, you should be aware that a ductless system can be more expensive to purchase and install than a conventional central system. And you’ll need to pay a professional to handle the installation of the system and the ductwork. Proper system sizing is essential, and attempting to do it yourself can lead to problems like improper equipment operation and low efficiency.
Despite the initial expense, a ductless system will often pay for itself in lower utility costs over time. And when it’s properly maintained, you can enjoy years of trouble-free performance. That’s why it’s important to have a qualified professional service your system twice a year. And don’t forget about routine cleaning! The ducts will need to be cleaned regularly, and you should change the air filter every month. You should also check the refrigerant level, which needs to be at proper levels in order for your system to work correctly.
A heat pump is a heating and cooling system that works more efficiently than gas furnaces and electric baseboard heaters. It uses electricity to transfer thermal energy from air or ground into your home, making cool air warmer and warm air cooler during the summer. It is also more efficient than electric resistance furnaces in the winter, providing three to four times as much heat for the same energy use.
Heat pumps are part of a larger HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. They can operate alone as a cooling system and can be paired with a furnace for backup heat. They can be installed in homes with or without existing ductwork. In homes with ductwork, a central heat pump looks and operates very similar to a traditional central air conditioner. There is an outdoor unit and an indoor unit with aluminum fins and coils to release or collect heat, as well as a compressor that compresses and circulates refrigerant. Air ducts connect the two units, and a blower moves heat or cooling into your house.
If you have ducts, consider a ducted heat pump from top brands like Trane and Lennox. Ductless air-source heat pumps are a good alternative for homes without ducts or for newer buildings with no ductwork.
Look for a HSPF rating of eight or higher for a heat pump, which is an indicator of efficiency. A higher number means it is more energy-efficient at heating than a lower number, which is true for both air-source and geothermal pumps. You can also ask for models with a desuperheater coil to recycle waste heat for hot water heating in the winter.
Lastly, check for an expansion valve to help control the amount of refrigerant that is pumped in and out of the compressor, as well as a factory-installed suction line accumulator to prevent premature short cycling. These features can significantly improve a heat pump’s performance and durability.
If you’re ready to get a new heat pump to keep your home comfortable all year long, work with top-rated pros in your area. Simply fill out the form on this page, and you’ll receive up to 3 free quotes from experts near you!