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What Types of Heating Systems Are There and How Do They Work?

There are many heating and air-conditioning systems to choose from today.  Precision Heating & Indoor Air Quality has a vast degree of heating and air-conditioning knowledge and experience to help you decide on the system that best fits your specific needs. The size and age of your home, as well as the number of rooms, climate, utility costs, and utility incentive/rebate programs are all factors that will affect the functionality and, therefore, selection of your system.  Precision Heating offers the latest technology, and considers all these factors while assisting you in choosing the best system for your home.


Consumers seeking to replace an existing system often choose a new unit with equal or higher efficiency ratings compared to their previous system. Replacing a unit that is 10 to 15 years old may reduce natural gas or electricity costs by 30 to 50%.


Precision Heating & Indoor Air Quality will help determine initial cost, warranty protection, service options, maintenance options, operating cost and proper installation.


How can I find the system that’s right for me?

Mini-split heat pump systems provide heating and air conditioning without requiring ductwork. They belong to the family of air-source heat pumps, and work like a refrigerator in reverse.  In typical mini-split heat pumps the refrigerant is produced at the outdoor unit and driven via small-diameter insulated refrigerant lines directly to the rooms or parts of the house, where the air is blown by fans located in small indoor units.


Because they do not rely on ductwork, mini-split heat pumps can boost energy efficiency (energy losses in conventional systems based on ducts are often estimated at 30%, especially if the ducts are in non-insulated spaces like typical attics).  Besides, the possibility of restricting the heating or the cooling to a specific part of the house means that the operational costs can be reduced with a proper use and a careful design.

What is a ductless mini-split heat pump?

Senior and widow discounts are available.


Get your solar power system for FREE when you also purchase a Lennox premium heat pump.

Few people outside of HVAC contractors understand how a heating and air-conditioning system operates.  Precision Heating & Indoor Air Quality, Inc. prefers that you have all the tools and information to make an informed decision.  To assist you in making an educated and informed decision regarding your home comfort needs, we have provided frequently asked questions and answers for all the information you need to understand the latest technology and jargon in the Heating, Ventilation, Cooling and Indoor Air Quality industry.  Our goal is to help you to understand the essential components and functions by which your HVAC system works and to allow you to make the best decisions when purchasing a new system.

During colder months, latent heat from the outdoor air is extracted and transferred into the interior of your home.  Believe it or not, even a 32 degree Fahrenheit day produces enough heat to warm a home via a heat pump


A central heat pump system helps maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home and reduces humidity levels year-round.

Using electricity as its energy source, heat pumps are used for either the heating or cooling of your home by transferring heat between two reservoirs.  In the warmer months, the heat pump acts as an air conditioner, removing heat from the air in your home and transferring it outside.


Homes located in regions with severely cold temperatures may require supplemental heating via a gas furnace or electric air handler.


A furnace works to keep a home warm in the winter, producing heat by combustion of natural gas in the furnace’s burner which then passes through the heat exchanger.  The furnace fan blows air over the heat exchanger into the ductwork, dispersing warm air throughout the home.


Why should I purchase a new heating or air-conditioning system?

We realize that purchasing a heating or air-conditioning system is no small matter. However, if your existing system is old, in need of repair or simply inefficient, purchasing a new unit, one which can be as much as 60% more efficient than a system purchased just 10 years ago, can offer long-term benefits.  Rather than continuing to pay for ongoing maintenance and costly monthly bills, invest in a new system today that will save you money for years to come.


How do I determine the size, or capacity, of my HVAC system?

Factors affecting the size of your new system include the climate in your region, humidity levels, the number of windows in your dwelling, total square footage of your home, the direction your home faces, the number of heat-producing appliances in your home, the type of insulation you have and the number of people that live in your residence.


We can perform the proper calculations to determine the appropriate heating or cooling unit for your home and lifestyle.



What goes into installing a new system?

Putting a new system in a home that has not had central air and heat before will require the installation of ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filter, driers, registers, grills, drain pans and evaporator coil. Beyond equipment, the most important component installed with a new system, however, is the ductwork.

What happens when you replace my old system?

To install the most efficient HVAC system in your household, we will perform a detailed inspection that will include, as a minimum, the inspection of your home’s ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat, condensate piping, flue piping, flue terminations, chimney liner, slabs, filters, driers, registers, grills, drain pans, evaporator coil, and any of your comfort complaints.

How long will my new system last?

Maintenance and service play a key role in the lifecycle of a heating or air-conditioning system. If all recommended maintenance and service actions are taken, an air conditioner can last 12 to 15 years and a gas furnace 20 to 25 years.

Do I need to change my indoor coil?

It is generally a good idea to replace the indoor coil or heat exchanger if you are also replacing your heat pump. There is a correlation between the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and the performance of the indoor coil.  Changing out the current indoor coil for a new one may be critical to optimizing the performance, the efficiency and the savings potential of your new system.  But most importantly, it will maximize your home comfort.

Your system can actually be located in several different places. A system with up-flow application might be located in the basement, while a system with a horizontal application may be found in your attic.  A self-contained, or single package unit, could be located outside on a slab or on the roof.  Your garage could utilize an up-flow, down-flow or horizontal application system.

What is a heat pump?

Where can I locate my air handler or furnace system?

A heat pump is a device used for either the heating or cooling of a space by transferring hot and cold between two reservoirs.  A heat pump can act like an air conditioner, transferring heat from inside to out, or like a heater as it transfers exterior heat to the interior. A winter day with a temperature of 32º Fahrenheit still produces enough heat to warm a space when the air is transferred by heat pump.

Heat-Pump miniheatpumps

They are also easy to install and do not require large holes in the walls – a three-inch hole is often sufficient.


Like other air-source heat-pumps, mini-split heat pumps aren't efficient enough on heating mode in freezing climates, for negative temperatures.  Besides, if the ductwork already exists, installing a mini-split heat pump will demand a higher investment than installing an alternative central air conditioning.


Costs between $500 and $1,000 per ton are common. They depend upon the configuration and the number of zones covered by each unit. These prices are higher than those of central air conditioning systems.

Sizing and installation should be done properly: oversized or incorrectly located air-handlers are a cause of higher operational costs and inadequate temperature and control of humidity.