Choosing a Home Heating & Air Conditioning System

by Catherine Olivia

There are various types of home heating and air conditioning systems. The type you have in your home is most likely based on the age of your home and the part of the country in which you live. Especially if you buy an older, existing home. Gas and oil furnaces have been around a long time. A furnace draws air through duct systems in the home where it is heated in the furnace and returned back to the home through the duct system.Gas and oil furnace heated homes generally feel warmer then homes with older electric heat pumps. You’ll find electric heat pumps in warmer areas of the country. They were a great idea for use in the south where temps stay generally warm but their use slowly crept up the east coast to areas where they don’t work as well due to the colder winter temperatures. Heat pumps work by pulling “warm” air from the outside, warming it and circulating it through the house via use of ducts. Electric baseboard heating is easy to install, but can be very costly to run, especially with the price of electric today. Electric heating doesn’t use ductwork like a furnace or heat pump. You can keep each room at a specific temperature as baseboards have individual control.

Some air conditioning systems are incorporated into the heating system, some are not. There are various types of air conditioning systems. The simpler well known ones are air conditioning units such as window air conditioning units, wall mounted air conditioning systems and free standing portable systems. Today most homes have what is called a split-system. The evaporator coil is inside and the cooling system, which contains the condenser and compressor is outside. They are connected by refrigerant lines run between them.

If you have an older home and are considering making an upgrade to your present air conditioning and heating system you will probably notice a savings of up to 40% if you’re replacing a unit that is 10 years old. You may actually find if you have an older system that you don’t necessarily need the newest top of the line model to get better cooling and heating. Today’s systems are so superior to older ones you’ll notice a difference even if you buy a newer lower end system. One thing you’ll notice immediately is that the compressor is much quieter. You’ll also notice the air coming out of the ductwork is much cooler.

Before you make any final decision do your homework. Get facts and a clear understanding of products so that you can ask questions and make an informed decision about a unit. There are many online sites that have valuable information about home heating and air conditioning systems such as Consumer Guide (, Environmental Protection Agency ( and American Council for Energy Efficient Economy ( Visit the EnergyStar site ( to find out how to pick the right system for your home. Talk to several different professional installers to get information and estimates. Today places like Home Depot and Sears install heating and air conditioning systems. Talk with family and friends who may have had systems recently installed.


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