Heating and Air Conditioning Systems don’t have to be a mystery. Get helpful HVAC information, tips and tricks, Energy Efficient HVAC, Green solutions and the best money-saving options out there.
Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has shown that Americans can significantly improve the energy efficiency, safety, and comfort of their homes while reducing emissions and utility bills. Studies show that upgrading a home’s heating and cooling equipment can reduce energy use by up to 20% or more, depending on the condition of the existing systems. Similar savings may be realized by improving the distribution efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.
This guide, describes ways homeowners can reduce their energy costs and improve the comfort, health, and safety of their homes by upgrading their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. A variety of types of heating and cooling equipment are described. The references throughout this guide provide additional information about important aspects of residential HVAC.
Air conditioning and other manufactured cooling systems are used throughout most of the country. This chapter describes typical cooling technologies, including air conditioning, heat pumps, evaporative cooling, radiant floor cooling, and dehumidifiers.
However, with home improvements such as air sealing and insulating, in some climates home cooling needs can be met naturally, without the use of air conditioners, so fans, ventilation and passive cooling strategies are also described.
In moderate climates in a well-insulated home, passive cooling strategies like shading, low-solar heat gain windows, and radiant barriers can be combined with ceiling fans, ventilation, and dehumidification to eliminate or limit the need for air conditioning. These techniques should be considered before installing a new air conditioning system. See more information about natural cooling strategies, including the use of fans, night cooling, and passive cooling design techniques.
Many types of air conditioning systems are available, including central ducted air conditioners, room air conditioners, and heat pumps (both ducted and ductless). Evaporative coolers and radiant cooling are options in dry climates.
Over the past few decades, cooling systems have become much more efficient. In 2006, the federal government raised the minimum efficiency level for residential cooling equipment from SEER 10 to SEER 13. Heat pumps are more efficient than standard electric air conditioning and new models of ductless heat pumps offer SEER ratings as high as 26 at a wide outdoor temperature range.
A variety of technologies are available for heating your home. Listed below are the most common heating technologies used.