Choosing a Heating and Air Conditioning System

When you’re building a new home, one of the major decisions you have to make is what kind of heating and air condition system you will install. Heating Ventilation and Cooling, or HVAC, has become a big industry. Many builders will help you choose the most efficient heating and cooling system for the type of home you’re building. The three most popular systems are forced air, radiant heat and hotwater baseboard heat. Whether or not to install central air is also a decision you’ll have to make.

Forced Air Systems
Probably the most common system, forced air is an inexpensive option that can also be used for heating and cooling. A furnace is used to heat the air and that air is then distributed through ductwork and registers in each room. You can filter air and humidify or dehumidify the air. Many people find this a huge advantage with this type of system. If you choose forced air, remember that it requires regular maintenance, and the ductwork takes space in the walls.

Radiant Heating Systems
Radiant heat provides the most comfortable heat. The transfer of heat comes from the radiation of heat from hot to a cold surface. Tubing is put in the floor or right below the floor surface and sometimes panels are placed in the ceiling. A boiler heats water which then runs through the tubing and heats the room. Boilers can be powered by electricity, oil, natural gas or even propane. This gives you a little more control. If you’re more comfortable with oil as opposed to natural gas, you can install an oil fueled boiler. One disadvantage to this system is that it requires a separate cooling system and ductwork specifically for that air conditioning system.

Baseboard System
Hot water baseboard systems work a little like radiant heating. It too uses hot water heat a space, but it uses both radiation and convection to achieve this. A boiler is used to heat the water which is then pumped into baseboard units in each room. This system is quiet and gives a great amount of temperature control in each room. Again, air conditioning requires a separate cooling system

Air Conditioning
Unless you choose a forced air heating and air conditioning system, you’ll need to decide how to cool your house. Central air is one option, window units is another, and if you live in a cooler climate, fans may be all you’ll ever need.

Work closely with your builder to determine what heating and air conditioning options are best for you and your home.

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