Having the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your home is essential for keeping you and your family comfortable throughout the year. A typical HVAC system consists of several interconnected components that work together to heat, cool and ventilate a home. Understanding these systems — along with their pros and cons — will help you decide if it’s time to upgrade yours or hire a HVAC repair company. There are two primary types of housing for a HVAC system: central and ductless. The type you choose will depend on your budget, square footage of your home, which rooms are most frequently used and whether or not you’ll be installing a humidifier or dehumidifier at some point in the future. To learn more about the differences between central vs ductless HVAC systems, read on…
What is a Central HVAC System?
A central HVAC system uses a single outdoor unit connected to one or more indoor air handlers to distribute air throughout your entire home. With this type of system, you’ll have fewer vents to clean and manage, which makes it a bit easier to manage the system as a whole. Central systems allow you to control the temperature of each room from a single thermostat — which can be a huge time-saver when you have kids or pets. Depending on the system, you may also be able to control the thermostat remotely, which is a nice feature if you work from home on occasion. Central systems are typically more expensive and complex to install. However, if you’re building a new home, it may be your only option. Central systems can also be more expensive to maintain, as you’ll need to service the main unit on a regular basis.
What is a Ducted HVAC System?
A ducted HVAC system consists of one or more air handlers connected to long, connected ducts that carry warm or cool air throughout your home. Most central systems are also ducted. You may also see this system referred to as a “mixed flow” system, as warm and cool air are distributed through the home together. Ducted systems are typically the most common type of HVAC systems installed in existing homes. They’re also the most cost-effective type of system to install — particularly if you’re adding a system to a home that didn’t previously have one. Ducted systems have the potential to be quieter than central systems, as air handlers are typically located in a basement or utility room — not right beside your living space. However, they can also be more expensive to install, as ducting is additional material that needs to be fed through the house. Ducted systems are also the most common HVAC system to include a humidifier or dehumidifier — which are each connected to the duct work.
What is a Ductless HVAC System?
A ductless HVAC system is exactly what it sounds like: the air handler and all of the components you need to distribute air throughout your home are self-contained in a single cabinet. It’s an all-in-one system — there are no ducts or duct components. Ductless systems are typically cheaper to install than ducted systems, as no ducting is needed. They’re also less expensive to maintain, as there are fewer components to consider. Ductless systems are often limited to a single-zone of heating and cooling. This means you’ll need to install a separate unit for each room you want to control — which can make them less desirable for larger homes. Ductless systems are typically louder than both ducted and central systems, as the air handler is located in a single cabinet near the room where you’re using the most cooling or heating. This can create noise or vibration issues if you’re installing the system in a room with an open floor plan.
Is it Time to Replace Your HVAC System?
There are a few signs that indicate it may be time to replace your HVAC system. If your system is old or was installed before the mid-1980s, it’s likely time to replace it. If it’s more than 15 years old, you’ll likely see a significant return on investment by replacing your system with a newer model. However, if your system is less than 10 years old, you can likely extend its life by having annual maintenance performed on it. This will ensure your system continues working efficiently until it’s time for a replacement.
HVAC Repair Company Tips
When hiring an HVAC repair company, make sure you understand their policies. Do they charge a trip-fee or is it included in the price of the repair? Do they offer a guarantee on their work or do they only offer a warranty? These are all important questions to ask when hiring an HVAC company. While you can certainly handle the majority of HVAC repairs yourself, certain repairs should be left to the pros. This includes replacing an outdoor unit or the indoor coils, replacing a circuit board, repairing refrigerant lines and repairing electrical issues. When you’re working with an HVAC repair company, make sure they have the necessary insurance to cover their work. This will help protect you if they cause damage to your home while completing the repair.
When you understand what makes an HVAC system tick, it’s easier to identify when repairs are necessary and when it’s time to replace your system altogether. This will ensure that you and your family remain comfortable all year round — regardless of the weather. If your system is more than 15 years old, it may be time to replace it. In such a case, you may want to consider hiring an HVAC contractor for the installation.