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What Are the Main Types of HVAC Systems for Your Home?

October 7, 2021

types of HVAC systems

Do you need a new HVAC system? Which type were you considering?

If you aren’t sure yet, we completely understand. There are so many different types of HVAC systems, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your options.

But don’t worry because today, we’re going to help you with this tough decision. Specifically, we’re going to explain the numerous types of HVAC units in full detail. That includes how they work, their pros and cons, and the building types/situations they’re best suited for.

Based on this information, you should be able to determine which home HVAC systems you need. Plus, we’ll conclude with instructions on how to get additional help with your HVAC installation. To learn all about it, keep reading.

Types of Air Conditioning Systems

Let’s start with the different kinds of air conditioning systems. Here are the 6 major types to choose from.

1. Swamp Coolers

Swamp coolers are the oldest and simplest air conditioning technology there is. In fact, they date all the way back to ancient Egypt. But they’re effective enough that they’re still used in homes today.

These air conditioners use a technology called evaporative cooling. It works the same way that sweat on your skin does, cooling you off as it evaporates away. Swamp coolers harness and control the cooling properties of evaporating water to cool down your home.

However, these systems add a lot of humidity to your indoor air. You should only use them if you live in a very dry climate.

2. Central AC

Centralized AC is the most commonly used air conditioning system in both commercial buildings and houses. And, unlike swamp coolers, they remove humidity from the air.

A central AC system uses both an indoor unit (evaporator) and an outdoor unit (compressor) working together to cool your house. The indoor unit uses cold refrigerant to absorb the heat from the inside air.

This leaves behind cold air, which is blown through the air ducts into your house. Then, the system pushes the refrigerant, and the absorbed heat, out to the compressor unit.

The outdoor unit compresses the refrigerant, which cools it back down, and then sends it back to the evaporator unit. Now, this cycle continues repeating until you turn the AC off.

These are very effective systems. Although, some AC systems, based on newer technology, are just as effective as central AC and more energy-efficient.

3. Window AC Units

A window AC unit uses the same technology as a centralized AC system. The difference is that they cool one room, not the whole house. Thus, they don’t require a network of ducts.

Also, the evaporator, compressor, and fan are combined into a single unit. This unit sits in your window, permanently attached to your house. Then, using the same cycle described above, it blows cold air into the room in which it’s installed.

The biggest drawbacks of a window AC unit are that it blocks out one of your windows and it doesn’t cool the whole house. That said, it’s a budget-friendly option for anyone who lives in a small, studio apartment.

4. Wall-Mounted AC Units

Wall-mounted AC units are exactly the same as window units. The only difference is that they’re installed into a hole that’s cut out of your wall instead of a window. Know that not all buildings have a suitable wall for this installation.

5. Portable AC Units

Portable AC systems are also single-room units based on evaporator/compressor technology. They are a lot more convenient than wall/window units.

But they still need some access to the outside to let the absorbed heat out of your house. Usually, this exhaust port requires a small hole in your wall or a partially open window. The remaining open window area must be sealed off.

6. Mini-Split HVAC Systems

A mini-split HVAC includes one large outdoor unit and multiple small indoor units. Generally, you’d choose one indoor unit per room.

Each of these indoor units connects directly to the outdoor unit. Thus, no ducts are required.

This allows you to control the temperature of each room individually. It’s also more efficient than central AC because no heat is wasted due to the ducts.

Types of HVAC Units For Heating

Below are the main types of heating systems you have to choose from. Only one type, the furnace, requires the same duct system your central AC uses.

1. Boilers

Boilers use technology similar to that of central AC. Except, they cycle heated water instead of refrigerant. Radiators throughout the house are filled with this hot water or steam to give off heat.

2. Furnaces

Furnaces are a more common, less problematic heating solution. They simply heat air with electricity or burning fuel (gas or heating oil) and then blow it into the house.

3. Portable Heaters

Portable heaters blow air through an electrically heated metal coil. Some, however, use gas to generate heat. These are very cheap and typically heat one room.

But they’re not permanently installed. So, you can move a single unit from room to room as needed.

Other Types of HVAC Systems

Here are some cutting-edge systems for both heating and cooling. These are the most energy-efficient HVAC systems available.

1. Hybrid HVAC Systems

A hybrid system is a lot like a centralized AC system that can reverse its normal cycle to warm your house in winter. When summer comes around again, you switch it back so it can cool your house. It uses both fossil fuels and electricity to accomplish this.

2. Geothermal HVAC Systems

These systems use a geothermal coil buried deep underground. Once this component is installed, the system works much like a hybrid HVAC.

In summer, the system draws heat from your home and sends it to the underground coil. The heat is then absorbed by the dirt surrounding it. In winter, the system brings heat from the coil into your home.

Need More Help?

Which types of HVAC systems would work best in your home? The only way to know for sure is to have your home inspected by a professional HVAC technician.

Anton’s Air conditioning and heating has provided St. Louis residents with top-notch service for over 40 years. Contact us here to schedule an appointment, get a quote, or ask us any questions you might have. Or, click the “Chat with Us” button in the bottom-right corner of your screen to get in touch with us right now.

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