TYPES OF SYSTEMS
There are a variety of system configurations to choose from for heating and cooling your home. Depending on which part of the country you live in, and the construction of your house, some may be more appropriate for your comfort needs. The most common configuration is called a split system because it requires both an outdoor unit and a unit inside your home. Typically, a split system is composed of an air conditioner and air handler with electric heat strips or an air conditioner, gas furnace and coil, or a heat pump and air handler with back up heat strips. Or it may employ a heat pump and gas furnace. The opposite of a split system is a package unit. Instead of an outdoor unit and an indoor unit, all system components are housed in a single cabinet. If you know the correct system to fit your needs no need to read further. If youíre not sure which system is right for you please read on? If you are still unsure please contact us at 813 885-7999 and we will be glad to review your options and assist you in making the correct decision.
Central heat & air conditioner:
Means split air conditioner with electric heat strips in air handler
Heat pump & air conditioner:
Means split heat pump air conditioner with back up heat strips
Central heat & air conditioner package unit:
Means package unit self contained with electric heat strips
Gas furnace & air conditioner:
Means split air conditioner with a gas furnace natural or lp
Please be sure you understand which type of system you need.
In the air conditioning mode all systems essentially operate the same way. For cooling operation, air from inside your home passes through the indoor coil. Heat is absorbed from the indoor air and the resulting cool air is circulated into your home through your duct system. Heat from your home exits through the out side coil. The higher the SEER rating the more efficient the system is to operate. A general rule of thumb depending on your climate and personal preferences is 50.00 to 75.00 savings annually for each SEER point you move up. The higher the SEER the less money it takes to operate.
AIR CONDITIONER WITH ELECTRIC HEAT AIR HANDLER
Efficiency for air conditioners and is indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which tells you how efficiently the unit uses electricity. This system utilizes electric heat strips as the heating source. This heat source is fine if you use very little heat or if gas and oil pricing are more expensive than electric or if you have another heat source such as base board heat. Heat strips range in size from 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 kW
The heat pump is an air conditioner that reverses the process of removing heat from the inside of the house in summer to absorbing the heat from outside air and moving it inside in winter. It is effective down to temperatures around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point either a gas furnace or an air handler with supplemental electric heat will be needed to help heat your home. In all electric applications, the heat pump may consume less energy than an electric furnace or air handler using resistance heat may. In moderate climates, it lessens the need for the purchase of a separate gas or oil furnace, as the savings that natural gas or oil yields may not be as advantageous as in colder climates, since there is less frequent use of the furnace in milder climates. Of course the heat pump can be matched with a gas furnace where preferred. The heat pump can operate in the milder temperatures when the gas furnace may tend to short-cycle.
AIR CONDITIONER WITH A GAS FURNACE
A furnaceís efficiency rating, or AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), tells you how efficiently the furnace uses fuel. In general, higher efficiency furnaces mean lower monthly operating costs for heating.
Higher efficiency furnaces offering AFUE ratings of 80%, 90%, or up to 96% are also available to help reduce monthly heating costs. Burning gas or oil inside your furnace creates the heat. Hot gases that are created pass through metal tubing called a heat exchanger and then out of your home through a metal or plastic vent pipe. At the same time, the air that circulates through your home passes over the outside of the exchanger and takes on the heat from the hot metal. The warm air is then circulated through your home. (It is important to note that most high efficient gas furnaces use PVC piping for the vent and may require a new flue to be run.)
In some parts of the country, a packaged system is the perfect solution. The heating, cooling and air handling functions are self-contained in one unit. Usually installed at ground level on the roof or out side a mobile home. This unit is only installed out side. These systems can be heat pumps, electric heat strips or a gas heater as the primary heat source.
VARIABLE SPEED INDOOR UNIT
If you purchase a variable speed air handler or a variable speed gas furnace with your unit; you will enhance both the comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system. They operate so efficiently that they can actually increase the efficiency rating of your central air conditioning system and offer you added energy savings in any season.
Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the unit. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, you will probably see the higher cost of a high-efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. After the pay-back, you continue to save on your energy bills for the life of the system.
Both components are necessary for a working system. So if you install a new outdoor unit, be sure to include a new, equally efficient "matched" indoor unit. If you donít replace both your indoor and outdoor units, you wonít be getting what you paid for. In fact, your system could be up to 15% less efficient than stated ó and you will be less comfortable, too. That's why simply replacing just the outdoor unit isn't a bargain in the long run.
Replacing the outdoor unit but leaving the old indoor unit may offer you the lowest price, but it wonít give you the best value. When your air conditioning or heat pump components donít match, you will be sacrificing comfort. The system may still "work," but it wonít perform up to the promised energy efficiency. Over time, this will cost you more money. When the components arenít matched, it could create undue stress on your cooling system, resulting in unnecessary, premature failure.