The Ultimate Guide to HVAC Systems

HVAC, which stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, is an entire system dedicated to making the indoor environment comfortable. You’ve probably heard some of the descriptions like split system, mini ductless, hybrid and so on. But what are the differences? And with several systems to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Below we will give you a breakdown of each HVAC system, so you’ll be better prepared to choose the HVAC system that’s right for you.

There are different types of HVAC systems, each with unique sizes and specifications to suit the needs of your business or home. The right option will depend on your budget, the size of your home, and whether your home or business has ductwork.

Heating and Cooling Split Systems (standard HVAC system)

As the name suggests, it’s called a split system because there are two units, one for heating and one for cooling. The cooling system is outside, which uses refrigerant, compressors, and coils to cool air, and a fan to blow out hot air. These are the large AC units that you see placed outside on the side of a home. HVAC split systems also have a furnace or air handler, usually located in a basement or other storage space, which uses fuel oil, propane or gas to heat the house. Heat gets distributed by a fan, or an evaporator is used to circulate the warm air. Ducts carry air throughout the home – supply ducts pull air in while return ducts blow it out. Split systems use a traditional thermostat to manage the temperature, and newer units now come with options to add purifiers and humidifiers to remove allergens and help optimize indoor air quality. Heating and cooling split systems are the most common because they work for many types of homes or businesses.

Hybrid Split System HVAC

In a hybrid heating and cooling system, a heat pump (powered by electricity) works with a furnace that burns fuel oil, propane or gas. Heat pumps are ideal for areas that have brief and mild winters as the system struggles to extract heat from the outside air when the temperatures fall below freezing, and so for areas with colder winters, a stronger heat source is needed. In the winter, the heat pump captures any heat that present in the air outside and pulls it inside. A furnace burns fuel oil, propane or gas to heat your home. When these two components are used together in a hybrid system, you can decide which form of heat to use, depending on current energy costs. Hybrid split systems are becoming more popular because of their energy efficiency and cost savings over time. With the use of smart technology, the hybrid HVAC can switch back-and-forth between fuel sources to use the most efficient and affordable option based on temperature and season. Click here to learn more about the difference between a heat pump and air conditioner.

Duct Free (Mini-Split)

A duct-free mini split system provides a good alternative for spaces where a conventional ducted system is not a viable option. This type of HVAC system has units in each room that are mounted on the walls or ceilings and are usually attached to an outdoor compressor. A mini split system also works well for additions to homes, such as a garage or additional rooms that have been added on, because it is easier to install and provides independent control of the unit. Mini split systems are also particularly beneficial for service businesses such as hotels or venues because they allow occupants to control individual temperatures and conditions.  Another benefit is energy conservation since you only need to heat or cool the rooms that are in use. Mini split systems, however, do require regular cleaning and maintenance, a consideration when looking at the total cost of maintenance.

So now you have a basic understanding of the different HVAC systems. If you’re ready to take the next step on selecting a new HVAC system, call HOP Energy today 855-610-0927 and speak to a heating and cooling specialist. Or, read the latest blog post if you’d like to learn more about how all the parts of heating and cooling systems work.

HOP Energy has been helping local communities with HVAC needs for over 90 years. The team of heating and cooling system experts will help determine which HVAC system is right for you based on your specific needs. With highly-competitive pricing and excellent customer service, it’s an easy choice to pick HOP Energy for all your energy needs.