Take a moment and think about air conditioning. Just close your eyes, and think of air conditioning.
Wait, you can’t read if your eyes are closed; scratch that.
Go stand over an air vent, and come back to the screen when you are ready.
Okay, you’re back! Great!
Now, describe air conditioning for me.
If you immediately thought “cold” or “cooling,” congratulations! You’re a member of normal society!
If you are reading this and the heat is on instead of the cool air, sorry; you’re not normal, you’re advanced! You’ll see why in a few.
Let’s backtrack for a minute. Cooling buildings and homes is an idea that has been around since the Roman empire. Water was circulated through pipes and channels in the walls of Roman homes and public places to cool the stones and bricks. It allowed the Romans to provide a comfortable environment for the building up of civilization.
So, when we think of air conditioning, we think of cooling. But air conditioning is more than that. So much more.
We are literally conditioning the air in our homes and buildings. This means controlling temperature (heat or cool), humidity, air flow and ventilation, dust and microparticulates, and more.
There are many systems that are available to provide air conditioning to your home or business; if you are in the market for a new or improved system, you may want to read on for a short discussion of the different options.
Split system cooling
This is a system that consists of an indoor cooler coil and an exterior mounted condenser; this type of system requires a separate source for heating your home, like a gas or oil furnace.
Standard air-to-air heat pump system
This is one of the most prevalent types of air conditioning used in modern homes. This is a specialized split system that uses a reverse cycle to heat and cool your home. These units require a backup source of heat, however, like an electric heat strip; this is because the efficiency of the system can and will drop as the outside ambient air temperature falls.
Hybrid gas/heat pump
This uses a split heat pump system, paired with a gas furnace. When the heat pump becomes less efficient and effective, the system shuts the heat pump down and activates the gas furnace to heat your home. This is an energy-efficient combo choice, and can lower your power bills.
Mini-split ductless system
The benefit of this system is inherent in its lack of ductwork. These can be mounted in the floor, ceiling, or wall; one outdoor condenser can serve several indoor units, and this allows you to have zoning controls for different rooms and areas of your home. These can be either cooling or heat pump systems.
Ground source heat pump
This system uses geothermodynamics to heat and cool your home. It is absolutely the most efficient system available. In many areas, the temperature at approximately 6 feet below ground level hovers at 60 degrees year-round. In the winter, that 60-degree ground can make your home more comfortable without any additional heat source, though many modern families invest in a couple of standalone infrared or ceramic heaters to supplement in living and sleeping areas. In the summer, heat is removed from your home and shunted into the ground to dissipate. This system does require a heat pump and piping to move the air into and out of your home; but if you are looking for multi-functionality in your systems, there is a way to add on a hot-water line to your ground source system. You can have hot water, virtually free, during summer. There is also no outside equipment that generates tons of noise and needs a lot of maintenance.
So, there are many options, but only you know what will work for you and your family. Make good choices, and enjoy your thoroughly conditioned air!