Imagine cooling your home with a bowl full of ice sitting in front of a fan. Most of us still know someone who heats with wood. That daunting task of cutting, splitting, and stacking immediately comes to mind. Of course, both of these methods still work, but we have come a long way to improve efficiency. We're certainly a very long way from having to tend the fire. Now, we can just set a thermostat and go.
Even a separate furnace and air conditioning system is becoming a thing of the past, though it is still an option. Another efficient option is an HVAC system, which abbreviation stands for "heating, ventilation and air conditioning." So why choose this method over two separate units? Well, efficiency is of course the primary reason. You can use one unit to do two jobs: heating and air. Basically, this one unit takes in "supply air," which is essentially outside air. It filters and cleans out mold and particles, and then it cools or heats the air. After this point, the air goes down one set of ducts or registers. Now that is heating and air made truly simple. If it's so simple, why doesn't everyone use it?
Well, the easy answer of course is that you don't replace what you don't need to. When it's time to replace your old system, this presents a fantastic option to consider. When choosing a new system, you would likely hire a contractor. Now you're naturally thinking that it's time to write a check and schedule a date of installation immediately. Perhaps this is true, but there are still a few more things to consider.
Often, a contractor will give you an estimate based on the size of your old unit. That might be fine for an estimate, but your old unit might not have been the right size to begin with. Lets consider the possibility that it was too large. In the past, technicians would size up a unit to account for heating and cooling loss out of the windows. These days, there are methods to button up a home, such as caulking and installing weather-tight windows, not to mention using superior insulation. Going with the correctly sized unit could be the key to making your home run more efficiently.
So, how do you know what size you actually need? This is what your contractor should tell you, and you should insist that they figure out the proper size. Some things that should be considered are the climate in your area, insulation in your home, air filtration, and the homeowner's comfort.
Now that you know your unit's new size, it's time to install. Hopefully, you will be happy with your new heating and air arrangement. Keep up with maintenance and repairs, and your system should run efficiently. Your family will feel comfortable all year round, no matter your area's climate.