Maximize your home's degree of comfort by learning about the different types of heating and cooling systems before you buy.
A good heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system should last 20-25 years, so you'll want to do your homework before choosing one for your home. There are a variety of ways to heat your home, including forced-air systems with a furnace, heat pumps (for heating and cooling), duct-free systems, steam systems, air conditioners, and in-floor radiant heat. Familiarize yourself with hvac tools, options, and terminology, and then ask a licensed contractor to do heat gain and loss calculations for your home. By taking into consideration a number of factors—such as your home's size, construction method, type and amount of insulation, and even the direction it faces—a professional can recommend the best type of system for your house. When choosing among specific models, be sure to ask about energy efficiency as well as the initial price tag. Paying more now can often save money later—plus more efficient models can enhance comfort and improve indoor air quality.