Choosing the right HVAC, heating, and cooling system is more complicated than simply shopping for an appliance for your home or business. Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment performs a number of functions and vary significantly in prices. These systems can also be utilized to provide the interior fresh outdoor air. This way, people can dilute airborne contaminants emitted from furniture, occupants, and chemicals used during cleaning.

This heating and cooling system overview will cover types of systems, prices, and the benefits they provide year round when they are properly maintained.

1. The Heat Pump System

Similar in design to the cooling only systems, the heat pump does have one peculiarity. Installed in the heat pump system is a unique valve that allows the refrigeration cycle to start working in reverse. By comparison, a cooling only system that only rejects heats and cools the indoor air. However, the heat pump can cool the indoor air and when that valve is reversed, heating the indoor air too. This is one of the unique heating and cooling systems because a supplementary resistance heater can also be used to aid the heat pump if the temperatures ever approach freezing levels.

In very cold climates, the heat pump is going to require a defrost period to function properly. When the heat pump is in the defrost mode, the electric heater or coils will be the only source of heating in the interior. These heating and cooling systems can be manufactured as packaged or split systems. Average retail price for the unit is $1,760 and can be installed for $4,550.

2. The Chilled Water System

The chilled water cooling system operates under a unique principle. Once the system has been installed, liquid water is pumped throughout the interior of the home or business building. This way, it passes through chilled water coils in the process. In order for the chilled water system to work, the liquid water must be cold before it reaches those coils. To do this, a cooling plant is required otherwise known as a chiller plant.

Vapor compression equipment within the plant will effectively cool that water. Afterwards, it will pump the chilled water to the air-to-water exchange system. Average retail price for the unit is $1,330 and can be installed for $3,810.

3. The Cooling Only Split-System

The cooling only split-system is a combination of outdoor condensing system and indoor air handler unit. The outdoor condensing unit is comprised of a condenser coil and compressor. The indoor air handler has a supply fan and cooling coil, otherwise known as an air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger. These types of split-systems are ideal for small commercial buildings and residential homes. This type of heating and cooling systems tends to have some of the highest EER, energy efficiency rating, of all AC systems.

The manufacturer of these systems is required to take that EER rating one step further, providing a SEER, seasonal energy efficiency rating, that is for use by consumers. The SEER rating can range from a 10 to 20. In this instance, the higher that SEER rating, the more effective and efficient the AC system. When heating is required, alternate methods of heating the building need to be used in the form of gas or electric heating. Average retail price for the unit is $1,210 and can be installed for $3,590.

4. The Cooling Only Package System

One of the more efficient heating and cooling systems is the cooling only package system. This unit comes with everything packaged inside the single system that you would find described in the split-system. Since everything is encased in a single unit, it will need to be installed outside the building. Afterwards, a network of air ducts feeds the treated air throughout the interior. The air distribution system is ducted from the system itself, throughout the building, and then back to the system.

The seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER), for these type systems usually ranges between 10 and 18. When heating is required, alternate methods of heating the building need to be used in the form of gas or electric heating. Average retail price for the unit is $1,530 and can be installed for $4,290.

5. The Window Air Conditioners

The most affordable and easiest to install of all the heating and cooling systems is the window air conditioner. Just like the name implies, the window air conditioner is installed in any window. It can also be placed inside a custom opening in a wall. The window air conditioning unit is only able to cool one room at a time or very small areas. These systems are typically manufactured to cool only. Nonetheless, there are systems available that provide a heating option.

Due to the smaller size, the benefit to the window air conditioner is that it can be used in a specific area of the house or business where the zone heating or cooling is not as optimal as the rest of the location. For that one room that never gets cool, these units can do the trick. Average retail price for the unit is $99 and can be installed for $300.

6. The Packaged Terminal Heat Pumps

heat pump unit outdoors near building on green lawn

One of the most recent and popular heating and cooling systems for residential and business usage is the packaged terminal heat pumps. Similar to a window air condition, these PTHP units are usually found in office building or additions to homes. They are mounted in a sleeve that passes through an outdoor wall.

Perfect for use in a hotel room, classroom, or addition on a house, the PTHP system is a self-contained unit that only requires an electrical connection to operate. The packaged terminal heat pumps use outdoor air as heat sources in winter, and then the heat sink during summer.

These systems are also ideal for simply providing ventilated air. The biggest advantages of the packaged terminal heat pumps are the lower installation costs and manufacture pricing. Average retail price for the unit is $799 and can be installed for $1,473.

Final Word

These heating and cooling systems vary in function, size, and pricing. Each serves a unique purpose depending on the size of the interior and climate of the region. A heat pump only system would not be recommended for the Northeast United States. On the other hand, window units would struggle to remove the humidity levels in the deep south.

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