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The Best HVAC Systems for 2022

best hvac brands of 2022

A new HVAC system is one of the best investments you can make in your home. There are various types of HVAC units that can be installed by HVAC companies, and many HVAC brands that produce heating systems and air conditioning systems for the residential HVAC market. There are gas furnaces, central air conditioning units, air source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, mini split heat pumps and air conditioners, boiler systems, packaged HVAC units, dual fuel system options, window air conditioners, and portable air conditioning unit equipment, plus numerous other options available in the HVAC industry.

With so many new system options available, finding the best HVAC systems for 2022 can be confusing. Williams Comfort Air is the Indianapolis HVAC company that helps you find the right HVAC system for your needs. In this artice, we introduce and examine the various heating and cooling products. Narrow down your heating and cooling options by considering these factors to see how HVAC systems compare and make sure you get the best HVAC system for your money this year and far into the future.

A Quick Overview of Different Types of HVAC Systems

There are many types of HVAC systems on the market today. Determining the right HVAC system that will provide your home with optimal temperature control while offering the other factors most important to your household, whether that be finding the most efficient HVAC system or the longest lasting HVAC system, requires an understanding of the various heating and cooling products.

First, let’s talk about the basic HVAC system types according to how they produce heating and cooling for the home.

  • Forced air systems are those that circulate air through the indoor unit for conditioning and move air into the home’s living areas via ductwork distribution systems or indoor units installed in mini split systems.
  • There are radiant systems, which generate a warmed surface to to deliver heat by infrared radiation. Heat is delivered through piping usually installed in the floor or electric heating strips.

Next we have heating and cooling products classed by the area they cover.

  • HVAC systems that provide heating and cooling for an entire home are often referred to as central systems. Of these centralized systems, there are split system and packaged options. Split systems include an indoor unit and an outdoor HVAC unit that are linked, while packaged systems house all necessary equipment in one equipment cabinet.
  • There are also room HVAC units designed to serve the temperature control needs of a single area or small space.

Now that you have an understanding of the types of HVAC systems, let us introduce you to the specific types of heating and cooling products you can purchase and install at home.

Whole home heating and cooling products:

  • Furnaces are a type of heating system that are also a forced air system. Gas and oil furnaces burn fuel to create heat, which is added to the air via heat exchangers. There are natural gas furnaces, liquid propane furnaces, and heating oil furnaces, as well as electric units that use electric heating elements to generate heat and heat exchangers pass this heat to the air.
  • Boiler systems are a type of heating system that offers radiant heating. A gas, oil, or electric boiler heats water. Depending on the type of boiler system, either hot water or steam is sent through a network of pipes and radiators throughout the home to add heat in living areas.
  • Central air conditioning units are forced air split cooling systems that use an indoor unit and outdoor unit to remove heat from the home’s air via refrigerant. The outdoor HVAC unit is known as the condenser unit, and the indoor equipment may be an air handler or furnace.
  • Air source heat pumps are forced air split heating and cooling systems. There is an outdoor heat pump unit paired with an indoor air handler, and this equipment is used to transfer heat between the indoor air and outdoor air via refrigerant.
  • Geothermal systems or geothermal heat pumps are heating and cooling systems that transfer heat between the home and the ground. They can be configured as forced air or radiant HVAC systems and use components called a ground loop and an indoor geothermal heat pump. These HVAC systems gather heat underground and transfer it to the geothermal heat pump for warming the air. The geothermal heat pump can also extract heat from the home and send it below ground to cool the area.
  • Ductless systems or mini split systems are split air conditioning or heating and cooling systems. An outdoor heat pump or air handler connects to indoor air handling units that deliver conditioned air directly in an area. A ductless mini split system may use one air handler for heating and air conditioning in a single space, or several air handlers to create multi zone systems for whole home heating and air conditioning.
  • Packaged HVAC systems combine the use of different types of heating and cooling products. Also known as a dual fuel system or hybrid HVAC system, they combine gas furnaces with heat pumps, or gas furnaces with electric air conditioners. Packaged HVAC units can also combine a heat pump and air handler or air conditioner and air handler.
  • An evaporative cooler or swamp cooler is a type of cooling system that uses evaporation to cool air before it is distributed throughout the home via ductwork.

Room heating and cooling products:

  • Window air conditioners are cooling systems that provide air conditioning in a single room or enclosed area of the home. They are typically installed in a window.
  • Portable air conditioners are stand-alone units that provide cooling to an enclosed area.
  • Electric baseboard heaters are individual heating units that can be installed in one room or across the home to provide electric resistance heating in living areas.
  • Space heaters are heating systems that are used to generate heat for a small space or a room. They can be powered by gas or electricity, though gas units typically should be vented to the outside of the home for safety.
  • Stoves burn a fuel source such as wood or heating pellets to generate heat for an area of the home and they are vented to the outdoors for safety.
  • Fireplaces can be used to provide heating in a room. They can be wood-burning, fueled by gas, or electric-powered.

To learn more about heating and central air conditioning brands, visit our past blogs: LINKS

Which HVAC System Has the Best Heating and Cooling Capacity?

If you’re building a new home or just trying to decide whether it’s time to upgrade your current HVAC system, you’ll want to know what factors contribute to heating and cooling capacity. First you need to decide if you want to heat and/or cool the entire home, or just one room. Capacity for heating and air conditioning systems is measured in BTUs, which stands for British Thermal Units. HVAC units made by various HVAC brands come in varying capacities and the right HVAC system in terms of capacity depends on the heating or cooling load of the home.

In terms of heating and cooling capacity for an entire home, a centralized system is your best choice. For single rooms, you may find sufficient comfort from room HVAC units. Here in Indiana, heating and cooling systems are typically required for year-round comfort. Commonly, homeowners choose heating and air conditioning units that work together to create a home heating and central AC system, such as gas furnaces with air conditioners, standard heat pump systems, or geothermal systems. Older homes with boiler systems may add a central air conditioner or heat pump and air handler split system for cooling. Mini split heat pumps or AC units are also an option in these homes to avoid installing ductwork.

For heating and cooling in a small space or single room, the best heating and cooling capacity will come from mini split heat pumps. Mini split systems using an AC unit are an option for excellent cooling capacity. There are a range of room heating options, and the best HVAC system choice often comes down to preferences, as many homeowners enjoy the heating produced by a stove or fireplace, while others prefer electric baseboard heaters or space heaters.

Which HVAC System Has the Best Energy Efficiency?

More than half of the average household’s energy costs are dedicated to space heating and cooling. As such, finding an energy efficient HVAC system is a priority for many homeowners. Investing in a highly efficient system up front can save you big bucks on energy bills over time.

As a homeowner, you need to know how energy efficiency is measured for heating and cooling products before you can decide upon the most efficient HVAC system for your needs.

  • Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, is the measure used to express how energy efficient a furnace or boiler is at converting the fuel it consumes into heat.
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF, is the measure used to express how efficiently a heat pump performs during heating season.
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, is the measure used to express much cooling output an air conditioner or heat pump generates compared to its electricity consumption over cooling season.

When it comes to heating, a heat pump will typically be the most efficient choice. Geothermal heat pumps access thermal energy below ground and are able to transfer around 4 units of heat for every unit of electrical energy they consume, making them the most efficient HVAC system for both heating and cooling. There are geothermal HVAC systems with even more high efficiency heat pumps available, including equipment with ENERGY STAR qualifications.

Another high efficiency heating system option for Central Indiana homeowners is an air source heat pump. These heat pumps are able to operate efficiently even when outdoor temperatures are low – units typically function at high efficiency down to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are cold weather heat pumps available that work efficiently in even lower temperatures. To ensure high efficiency heating no matter the temperature, many homeowners choose to pair these systems with a backup heating system, such as a gas furnace. The most efficient furnaces automatically take over to heat the home when outdoor temperatures are too cold for the heat pump to function more efficiently.

As far as AC units go, heat pumps and air conditioners cool the same way, so you want to look at the SEER ratings of equipment from different central air conditioning brands to find the most energy efficient. Air conditioners and standard heat pump systems with a SEER of 16 or higher are considered high efficiency.

Which HVAC System Offers the Best Air Quality?

It’s now well established that indoor air quality is a key factor in how we feel when we’re inside a building. Many HVAC systems on offer today are designed to give us better air quality in our homes. So which system gives us the most bang for our buck?

Ductless systems are often the choice when indoor air quality is the primary concern. Because these HVAC systems are not ducted, conditioned air does not pick up debris from the ducts and track them into the living area. Ductless systems often have multiple indoor units which are equipped with their own filters, so these HVAC systems can offer more air filtration than what traditional split system forced air furnaces and air conditioners provide.

Which HVAC System Has the Best Cooling Speed?

If you’re looking to cool your home down as quickly as possible, it’s important that they are sized correctly. No matter which air conditioner or heat pump you choose for your home, it’s critical to have your HVAC contractor perform cooling load calculations to ensure the best fit for your living areas. Manual J calculations help provide homeowners with the best HVAC system for the specific needs of their households.

The best HVAC system for cooling speed will also depend on how much space needs to be cooled.

  • For whole home cooling, your best HVAC options will be air conditioners, heat pumps, and ductless systems.
  • If you just want to cool a room or a few areas of the home, ductless systems offer fast, targeted space cooling
  • Certain window air conditioners and portable air conditioners can also be fast cooling options for small spaces. It’s important to look at the equipment details and size these correctly for the area, too.

Which HVAC System Has the Best Price?

While system cost is certainly one of several considerations when it comes to purchasing an HVAC system, there are many other factors to take into account, including installation cost and operating cost. Warranty coverage is also a factor that can help you save money throughout the years.

The best HVAC system in terms of system cost really depends on your budget. HVAC solutions can be found at all different price points. When shopping for heating or air conditioning equipment, we recommend looking for the unit with the best specs in all categories that fits within your budget. Purchasing the most high efficiency HVAC system in your price range will help you save on utility bills each month, as these units use less energy than lower efficiency models.

The price tag you see on an individual unit is not typically the price you pay for the entire installation. Labor costs and other needs come into play here. You might be surprised to learn that a central air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace could actually cost more in terms of installation costs than a window unit or portable heater. That’s because these central forced air split systems require ductwork which can cost thousands of dollars to install if your home isn’t already ducted or the existing ductwork requires replacement. In this situation, many homeowners opt for ductless systems – while the equipment cost is sometimes higher, installing ductless units ultimately results in savings due to a lack of ductwork.

Installing a new geothermal HVAC system has the highest system cost of any heating and cooling option. This is because of the ground loop component that must be installed below ground, which requires excavation. However, these units are excellent investments due to their extremely long lifespan (which we will discuss in the next section). The location of the ground loop under the property’s surface is also beneficial for far fewer repair calls, as the equipment is well-protected from the elements. Their extremely high energy efficiency also helps you save money on heating and cooling costs each month.

Which HVAC System Has the Best Lifespan?

System lifespan depends on many different factors, including how well it’s maintained and how heavily it is operated. However, there are averages which can help homeowners estimate how long a certain type of HVAC system can be expected to last.

  • Gas furnaces and oil furnaces: 15 to 20 years
  • Electric furnaces: 20 to 30 years
  • Electric boilers: 15 years
  • Gas or oil boilers: 15 to 25 years
  • Electric baseboard heaters: 10 years
  • Radiant hot water or steam heating systems: 25 years
  • Central air conditioners: 10 to 15 years
  • Window unit air conditioners and portable AC units: 10 years
  • Standard heat pumps: 10 to 15 years
  • Geothermal heat pumps: 20 to 25 years
  • Ductless systems: 10 to 30 years

 

Overall, geothermal HVAC systems offer the longest lifespan. Geothermal heat pumps typically last 20 to 25 years, while the ground loop usually lasts 50+ years. A new heat pump can be installed when needed to work with the existing ground loop components, as long as they are still in good working condition.

Central air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces with variable speed blowers are another good option in terms of lifespan. These units tend to last longer than fixed speed or two-stage HVAC units because of their ability to tailor operation to the required operating speed for the home’s needs at any given time. Fixed speed units operate at the same blower speed all the time, and two-stage units can operate at high and low speeds; variable speed HVAC systems can finely tune operation in ways these other systems cannot. By varying operating speed, variable speed HVAC systems see less wear and often stay in service longer than other types of HVAC systems.

Get Heating and Cooling Help Today

There are numerous HVAC companies who can help you find new air conditioners or heating systems, but don’t turn to just anyone! Williams Comfort Air has the expertise Central Indiana homeowners depend on to find the best HVAC system for their needs. Start searching for your new heating and cooling system – give us a call today!

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