HVAC— as many ‘styles’ as you need

Believe it or not, it is going to get chilly. The newfound relief of cooler temps will only last so long, and then Minnesota will round back into winter -- one the Farmer’s Almanac says will be a doozy.
In their words: “piercing cold with normal snowfall.”
Thankfully, we don’t have to stay warm at home by crowding around firesides or by waiting for furnace heat to drift up through floor vents, as earlier generations did. There are enough new twists on heating and cooling that owners of any-age, any-system homes are bound to find something that fits them perfectly. And, from a spot of all-season comfort, they can happily say goodbye to “the good old days.”

Split systems
A split system means there’s technology both inside and outside the house, meaning you may not have to tear apart the furnace section of a finished basement to get air conditioning. In many cases, a split system consists of:
 • Furnace -- provides heating and the fan used year round to circulate air
• Evaporator coil -- the indoor component of your outdoor cooling unit
• Air conditioner or heat pump -- works in tandem with the evaporator coil
• Ducts -- carry the conditioned air throughout your home
• Control or thermostat -- with models you can control digitally when you’re away from home -- to control your system
• Optional air quality accessories -- toclean, humidify, and freshen air before it circulates throughout your home
Some split systems consist only of an outdoor unit such as a heat pump or air conditioner and an inside fan coil. Those are used to supplemenet existing systems like baseboard heat or a boiler.

‘Hybrid heat’ split systems
This system, introduced by Carrier, is a version of  thestandard split system, with an energy efficient twist: In addition to gas furnace heat, this system automatically figures out how to get the best efficiency by also using an electricity-fueled heat pump to provide warmth.
Bonus:the heat pump functions in the place of an air conditioner too.
Even in the sultriest “dog days” -- think the 2013 State Fair -- a heat pump can do an amazing job of pulling humidity out of the air in the summer to save money.
In colder climates, it’s best to pair your heat pump with a high-efficiency furnace. Despite the cold, you might be surprised by just how much mileage -- not to mention cost-saving efficiency --you ‘ll get from a heat pump in the spring, fall and, yes, even winter months.
A hybrid  heat system includes:
• Heat pump for summer cooling and dehumidification and warmth in cooler seasons
• Evaporator coil -- the indoor component of your outdoor heat pump
• Furnace -- provides heating and the fan used year round to circulate air
• Ducts -- carry the conditioned air throughout your home
• Control or thermostat -- often with wireless or digital components -- to control the system
• Optional air quality accessories to clean, humidify, and freshen air before it circulates throughout your home

Ductless split systems
As you may have guessed from its name, a ductless split system doesn ‘t rely on air ducts to spread treated air in your home.
That’s especially important as more people stay put and remodel and add on to their homes.
This specialty system is designed to heat or cool room additions or other places that may lack ductwork, such as home theatres, exercise rooms, garages or any other area where the existing system doesn’t quite cut it. Ductless split systems include:
• Small outdoor air conditioner or heat pump unit
• A compact indoor wall unit
• Refrigerant tubing and wire connections that pass through a small hole from indoor to outdoor unit to connect the system.
• A unit-mounted or remote-control interface to control the system.

Packaged systems
Some homes just don ‘t have space inside for a furnace or the coil needed for cooling. That doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from the same comfort and improved air quality of a split system home.
Packaged units tend to all look alike but can do vastly different things:
• Cool only as an air conditioner
• Cool and heat as an electric heat pump
• Cool and heat as a Hybrid HeatÆ dual fuel system of gas furnace with electric heat pump
• Cool and heat as a gas furnace with electric air conditioner
As an all-in-one unit, the only other thing you need is a control or thermostat and ductwork to carry the conditioned air. Additionally you can add air quality accessories if you like. Packaged systems may be located on the exterior of your home, either on a flat rooftop or in the yard.

Geothermal heat pumps
Traditional heat pumps do the same thing as air conditioners but in winter, they do it in reverse, drawing their heat energy from the outside air. Geothermal heat pumps don‘t have to rely on the potentially wide temperature swings of outdoor air. They tap into the relatively consistent and more moderate temperatures of the earth instead. using your yard, pond or even well water.
There are geothermal systems that can serve homes with ductwork or homes with radiant heat. A geothermal system can be used to provide all of your heating and cooling needs or you can pair it with a furnace for a dual fuel heating solution.

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