If you've done an energy efficiency assessment of your home, maybe had some additional insulation installed, and you’re hiring a heating or cooling systems professional then now’s the time to decide on the right HVAC system for your home.
Newer systems today provide many more options, such as variable fan speeds and multiple stages of heating and cooling.
Single-stage heating and cooling is popular in colder winter climates and hot and humid areas, respectfully, because the systems are set to provide comfort for the coldest or warmest days of the year. But that also means that a great majority of the time, these heating systems or air conditioners are operating at full capacity when they don’t need to be. That's where a multi-stage system comes in handy and can save you energy and money.
You can get a single-stage system with variable fan speeds to create a variable air flow, says Donald Prather technical services manager for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America(ACCA). Though that variation is limited, he stresses. You may not experience much of a difference, because the heating or cooling unit is still working at its maximum output.
Zoned HVAC systems can heat or cool individual areas of your home by controlling zone valves or zone dampers inside the vents or ductwork, which selectively block the flow of air. Zoned systems can save you energy and money by only heating or cooling certain areas when you need it.
Humidifiers and dehumidfiers can be added as options to heating and cooling systems, and if you live in a very dry or humid climate these upgrades should definitely be on your list. About 50 percent relative humidity is considered optimal for humans.
With these systems you can automatically control the humidity levels in a home as you heat and cool, though this is not available through forced-water heating systems that use boilers. With humidity/dehumidification systems built into your furnace or air conditioning, you cannot control the humidity levels when the system is not on. If desired, you can add separate humidity/dehumification systems that do this.
Heat pumps can be great add-ons to existing systems, or used as standalone appliances.
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