Conventional residential HVAC systems feature individual units: an air conditioner and a furnace or boiler. However, thanks to reverse cycle technology, modern systems can provide both heating and cooling. For example, a heat pump can heat and cool a home, eliminating the need for multiple HVAC units. If you are in the market for new HVAC equipment, consider this technology for cost and energy savings. Here are three factors to help you determine whether to invest in a reverse cycle unit or individual heating and cooling systems.
Existing HVAC Infrastructure
Do you have existing HVAC infrastructure in your home? Perhaps ductwork, gas lines, and vents? If so, you can opt for individual heating and cooling units. Furnaces rely on ductwork to supply heated air throughout the home. Ductwork installation is costly. Therefore, if you already have ducts, you only need to buy a new furnace and a separate air conditioner.
Conversely, if your home has no infrastructure, you can opt for combined heating and cooling. Ductless multi-split units and heat pumps are excellent choices for your home. These systems use indoor air handlers to heat and cool the house; thus, you won't spend money on new ductwork and venting systems. Furthermore, like ducted systems, split units and heat pumps allow for zoning, which affords you better control over the heating and cooling system.
When it comes to upfront costs, a combined heating and cooling system wins hands down. Buying and installing an air conditioner and heating system can be incredibly costly. Furthermore, if you opt for a furnace, you have to install gas lines, ductwork, and exhaust venting pipes. Conversely, a heat pump or multi-split system is fairly easy to install. The system doesn't require gas lines, vents, or ductwork. You only need to choose the best installation locations for the air handlers and the outdoor unit.
Annual Operating Expenses
Modern air conditioners and furnaces are incredibly energy efficient. Features such as variable speed motors and blowers, programmable thermostats, and occupancy sensors lower energy consumption and reduce annual heating and cooling costs. However, if you want to lower annual running costs further, invest in an air-source heat pump for combined heating and cooling.
Heat pumps do not use fuel to heat or cool spaces. Instead, they absorb heat from the ambient air and use it to warm the indoor air. The reverse refrigeration technology allows the heat pump to pull heat from the house and dissipate it outdoors, effectively cooling the indoor spaces. Heat pumps use electrical energy only to power the system; thus, they have the lowest annual running costs.
Consider these factors when deciding whether to combine heating and cooling or invest in individual units. Contact an HVAC contractor for professional installation services.