The air conditioning and heating industry is a multi-billion dollar market in the United States, with hundreds of different types of HVAC systems available for homes and commercial properties.
Along with major brands such as Trane, Carrier, and Lennox, many small manufacturers specialize in one type of product or system that caters to a specific niche. Understanding how these products differ from each other can help homeowners choose between them when it comes time to replace an old unit.
Below are 4 Different Types of HVAC Systems typically found in the United States today:
1) Ductless Mini Split Systems
2) Geothermal Heat Pumps
3) Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs)
4) Hybrid Heat Pump Systems
Below is more detail on each of the different HVAC system types outlined above.
Ductless Mini Split Systems
Ductless Mini Split Systems are one of the fastest-growing segments in commercial and residential markets across the United States. A ductless mini-split system consists of two main parts: an outdoor condenser, which houses a compressor surrounded by a coil; and an indoor air handler, which features a blower and evaporator coil inside.
The air handlers can connect to up to four zones (heating and/or cooling), with each zone fitted with its thermostat for full climate control. These systems typically cost $5,000 – $8,000 per unit for both installation and purchase.
Ductless Mini Split Systems are generally more efficient than traditional systems, though they do require a heat exchanger to be installed at the home or business.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal Heat Pumps are electric-powered units that use an air handler and compressor to move refrigerant into a coil inside the ground, where it is cooled to as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit for heating purposes. Once the refrigerant has been run through this system, it is sent back out of the house via another coil, where it heats up again.
Geothermal Heat Pump systems can often reach COPs (Coefficients of Performance) over 4.0 – meaning they are transferring four times more energy than they are using for electricity purposes. For comparison, most air conditioning units feature COPs between 1.0 and 2.5.
These systems are not typically used for cooling purposes, though they can be fitted with additional air handlers to provide both heating and cooling services – which can make them very efficient during the summer months as well (provided you live in an area where the ground temperature is hot enough to be used for heating).
Geothermal Heat Pump systems are one of the more reliable HVAC products on the market today, provided they are installed properly by a qualified professional.
Geothermal does require some type of external heat exchanger to work – either placed underground or underneath your home’s foundation (which takes up valuable space), so it may not always be possible depending on how large your property is.
Despite this drawback, these types of systems are generally considered more environmentally friendly than other options on this list – and they typically deliver better year-round performance than ductless mini-split systems.
Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs)
Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs) are very commonly found in hotels, motels, and apartment complexes across the United States. These units feature an air handler inside a single cabinet that can be installed indoors or outdoors, where it connects to either one or two coils located outside the building.
The main difference between these types of HVAC products and other types is how they circulate air;
while most HVAC units push cooled air through ducting to different rooms, PTACs recycle warm room air over the coil to cool it down before sending it back into the building – making them ideal for cooling areas that are very large (or open), like hotel or motel lobby areas.
Hybrid Heat Pump Systems
Hybrid Heat Pump Systems are a relatively new type of HVAC product on the market today, where they feature both heating and cooling systems in one unified unit. These types of products typically consist of two parts:
an outdoor evaporator placed directly against the wall of your home’s exterior, which is connected to an indoor air handler via refrigerant piping; and an indoor evaporator that sits on top of your furnace, which connects to the air handler via refrigerant piping as well.
By combining these two components into one HVAC system, it helps reduce energy loss since there are fewer parts involved within the actual machinery.
You might want to check my review here on HVAC Services.