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What kind of system is right for me?

The system that is right for you will depend on a number of factors: your budget, your comfort expectations, physical factors such as what type of system currently exists in your home, the unique features of your home, and more. Below, you can explore the system options available and some of the key factors that affect your choice. For more info scroll ahead, or click above on the subject of your choice.

Types of systems
For the basics of heating or cooling temperature control, you typically will have four system options. Below is a list of those options followed by the approximate percentage of U.S. homes using that particular system.
  • Gas Furnace/Air Conditioner (60% of homes)
  • Heat Pump (25% of homes)
  • Small Packaged System (5% of homes)
  • Boiler
Key Accessories
Additional comfort comes from having clean, fresh air as well as proper humidity levels inside. These products will fine-tune your system to help improve your overall comfort and the efficiency of your indoor comfort system.
  • Air Cleaners
  • Ventilators
  • Humidifier
System Control
Most people are familiar with the basic thermostat. But, system control is more than picking a temperature and walking away. It includes being able to program a comfort schedule for different times of day, setting humidity levels, and even setting different temperatures for different areas of the home. Here's how:
  • Humidifiers
  • Thermostat Control
  • Zoning System
Key factors that affect your choice
Some of your home comfort decisions will be made for you based on some of the physical considerations involved, including:
    Your home
    Everybody's home is different. Some are big, some are small. Older homes are not as tightly sealed as new ones, which means efficiency is reduced. The number and size of windows, what direction the home is facing, number of mature trees in the yard and many more factors can affect your comfort, and may play a part in deciding what type of system is best for you. Your local heating and cooling contractor should have the expertise to assess any unusual circumstances surrounding the specific needs of your home.

    Your existing system
    If you are replacing an existing system, there are physical and financial reasons to stay with the same type of system. For example, if you currently have a boiler, it will be very expensive and physically challenging to install the ductwork you need for a forced-air furnace or heat pump.

    If you want a new type of system because you were dissatisfied with your comfort, remember that a new system will bring newer comfort technology and energy efficiency. Also, your comfort problem could be related to other issues, such as improper ductwork, system balance, cleanliness or freshness of air, humidity control and system control.

    Your geographical region
    Although there are exceptions to every rule, geography can play a role in what type of system will work best in your home. Here's the general idea:
    • Colder regions - Furnace or Boiler/Air Conditioner combo
    • Warmer regions - Heat Pump or Air Conditioner w/ supplemental heat
    • Regions with land or space issues - Small Packaged Rooftop systems

    Energy sources available
    Some systems simply won't work if the proper energy source isn't available or too expensive to consider. The three most likely energy sources for your comfort system are electricity, gas or oil.

    1. Electricity
      If you have no gas or oil service, you will need to go with an all-electric system, which means a heat pump or air conditioner. You may be able to have a gas line installed at your home, but that could be an additional cost. In some areas, electrical rates are so low that an all-electric system can still be the best option even if gas or oil are available.
    2. Gas
      If natural gas is available, furnaces and boilers become options for you. You may still opt to have an all-electric system if that suits your home or your personal preference.
    3. Oil
      If natural gas is available, furnaces and boilers become options for you. You may still opt to have an all-electric system if that suits your home or your personal preference.