Choosing a HVAC System – How do I choose?

Which type of HVAC System should I purchase?  Cool Connections, Inc. – Jacksonville, Florida

When choosing a HVAC System there is such a variety of units available on the market now, which one should you choose?

Choosing the wrong type or size of HVAC System can lead to multiple problems. Be sure to consult with a professional HVAC company that employs NATE  Certified technicians before choosing a system.

Three of the main choices in choosing a HVAC system would be the following:

  • Split vs Packaged Systems
  • Furnace vs Heat Pumps vs Duel Fuel for Heating
  • Ducts vs Ductless Systems

Split Systems vs. Packaged

There are basically two types of AC/furnace units that are available: packaged and split. And the difference is just about as basic as the name. Both options are available for heat pumps, but you also have the option of supplementing that with a gas furnace as part of the same unit.

Packaged Systems

In a packaged system, everything’s in one place. All that’s needed is to hook it up to your duct system and it’s ready to go (not quite as easy as it sounds, but still not complicated). A package system ships with everything included and even the refrigerant is already charged.

But that simplicity has its downside as well. That “one place” where the package unit is installed is outdoors. That means it’s subjected to the elements and also makes for a warm shelter for critters. For this reason, these package units work for the Jacksonville Florida area because we do not experience a harsh winter like other areas in the United States.

Split Systems

For a split system, part of the unit can be indoors, usually in a basement, crawl space, or attic. Like packaged units, a split unit may be an air conditioner or a combination heating/cooling unit. The heating unit is often a gas-powered furnace.

Outdoors, you’ll find the compressor and condenser. The inside unit contains the air handling unit, heater, and filter. Because much of the system’s delicate electronics are sheltered indoors, it tends to last longer than package units. It also generally has a higher energy-efficiency rating.

Split systems are a bit more complex to install. They have to be connected to each other with pipework. Components are more dependent on proper installation and positioning, to make sure everything flows in the right direction. However, that’s more an issue with making sure you have a good contractor than with the system itself.

If you’re faced with issues with your current split or packaged unit, you’re usually better off sticking with what you already have. It’s not worth the expense of changing over. However, if you need to start from scratch, a split system is generally better, as long as you have the space for it.

Furnace vs Heat Pumps vs Dual Fuel for Heating

Whether you use a split or a package unit, you can decide to install a furnace heater (usually fueled by gas or oil), an electric heat pump, or a dual fuel system.

A furnace heating system includes a separate component that burns gas or oil to heat the air. This is separate from the air conditioning unit, but it uses the same air ducts to distribute the air.

An electric heater is part of the same heat pump system that cools the air during the summer. A reversing valve simply switches the system from cooling to heating.

And a dual fuel system combines both systems. They can be programmed to automatically use one fuel system or the other at different optimal temperature levels.

In coastal or southern regions with more mild winters, like here in Jacksonville, Florida, heat pumps work fine. For locations that get extremely cold in winter, an oil or gas furnace or a dual fuel system will probably be the best option because electric heat pumps do not work as well at low temperatures. 

Duct vs Ductless Systems

Ductless systems are HVAC systems that do not have ducts to distribute air. Instead, an outdoor unit condenses and cools a refrigerant, which is then connected by a relatively small line to an indoor unit. There are basically two types: Single-Zone Ductless Systems and Multi-Zone Ductless Systems.

These systems are often used in hotels and multi-unit buildings because of the ability to give individualized control to each unit. It’s also used in retrofitted older buildings with no space to install large air ducts.

Ductless systems are typically higher priced than traditional systems with air ducts. So, if individualized control or space is not an issue, an air duct system may make more sense.

Cool Connections, Inc. – Your Jacksonville, Florida HVAC Specialists

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Greater Jacksonville, Florida area about protecting their investment as well as energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). If you require a new system or maintenance on your current HVAC system, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Cool Connections, Inc. is a locally owned and operated business. We have thousands of customers and years of experience with HVAC service, repair, and installations for furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioning (AC) and air quality systems. Be sure to Contact Cool Connections, Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida for all your air conditioning and heating needs. (904) 685-1582

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