How do I Choose the Best Heating and Air Conditioning?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Whether choosing heating and air conditioning systems for the home or the workplace, there are several factors that should be considered before settling on any one system. Ideally, the unit selected will be energy efficient, powerful enough to maintain a comfortable temperature within the space, and also be affordable.

A programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat.

There are a number of different types of heating and air conditioning systems on the market today. Some of the systems are hybrids that use a combination of natural gas and electricity to function. With these types of units, the air conditioning units built into the system work off electricity, while the heating components utilize natural gas to warm air before it is distributed through the space. Sensors help to trigger the proper function when the indoor temperature drops below the temperature setting indicated by the thermostat controls. While some claim that hybrid systems are more energy efficient, an electrical central air conditioning system may be just as efficient, depending on the climate and the size of the space that the system must heat and cool.

A radiator, a common type of heater.
A radiator, a common type of heater.

Other features of various climate control systems must also be considered. There are ductless air conditioning solutions that may work very well in some residential as well as commercial settings. A split air conditioning system may also be a good solution. Having some idea of the differences between the different systems and how each one would work in your space will make it easier to eliminate consideration of some options and focus on those that are more likely to provide the proper level of service.

A heating and air conditioning vent.
A heating and air conditioning vent.

Along with the general design and energy efficient qualities of a given heating and air conditioning system, it is also important to purchase a system that will adequately heat and cool the space without placing a great deal of stress on the equipment. Trying to save money by buying a system that is too small will prove unprofitable in the long run. The system will have to work harder in an attempt to keep the space comfortable, wearing down components more quickly and also using excessive amounts of energy. If you are not sure how large the system must be in order to provide adequate service, check with a professional before considering any systems of any size.

An air conditioner.
An air conditioner.

Once you have identified several systems that are powerful enough to heat and cool the space, and have the features you want in terms of design and efficiency, the next step is to consider the cost of purchase and installation. The heating and air conditioning system may be relatively affordable if there is no need to install new ductwork or the connections for power and natural gas are already in place. Make sure to check the ratings of each system you consider, even though on the surface they appear to provide the same level of efficiency and ease of use.

If you find that the heating and air conditioning systems are equal in all ways, including general quality and terms and conditions associated with the warranty, go with the system with the lowest cost. Just be careful to not be blinded by a lower price tag to the point that you sacrifice quality. In the long run, spending a little more for a better system will save a lot of money and frustration.

A central air conditioning unit.
A central air conditioning unit.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Follow the above mentioned simple maintenance tips and you can prolong the life of your HVAC equipment and improve the air quality inside of your home. Regular maintenance done by professionals can be used to detect small problems before they become big problems and costly HVAC appliance damage.


Is it true that in most states, a landlord must provide air-conditioning that will cool the structure at least 20 degrees?


When we were having troubles with our air conditioning system we called Woodpecker. They helped us find the right air conditioner for our house, installed it themselves, and answered any questions we had about the new air conditioner. I'd fully recommend them to anyone.


i have my mother in our rental house in Georgia. The window unit is supposed to heat 975 square feet which should be plenty, however, she continues to complain about the fan running constantly, blowing cool air and the it's still not warm enough. Also her first electric bill came in and its $368. Doesn't anyone have a suggestion about another type of heating unit?


I think that there are some serious issues when it comes to choosing the best air conditioning unit for your household.

One thing to remember is that there are specialty stores and contractors that work in the air conditioning market specifically. These types of businesses can actually be very useful but the only problem is that sometimes they can be significantly more costly then other options.

One location to look for these new units is at national chain hardware stores. Often Home Depot or Lowes will sell air conditioning units that can be replacements for central air systems. The other option of course is the use of window air conditioning systems. These are actually a good way to go if you have no central air ducting and have a smaller space to cool.

These smaller units can be more costly to run in the long run though if you do not seal them up well in the window or hole that you put them in. The other thing to worry about is as soon as you add multiple units like this, you will see your electricity bill sky rocket. I guess that is the price you have to pay to stay cool.


I think that choosing the best form of heating and air condition for one's house has a lot to do with the type of environment and the area of the country in which you live. Sometimes it is even possible to not use an air conditioner at all!

In certain areas where the relative humidity stays low and the temperatures stay below 90 degrees or so, you can effectively use an evaporative cooler.

The advantages to this type of system of course have to do with money and the money you will save by it's reduced energy costs. Air conditioning units are famously expensive to run and especially if you have an older unit. There has been much advancement in the way that they operate to help and reduce use costs but the truth remains, air conditioning is one of the most expensive ways to cool your house.


For me, the best options when it comes to choosing a heating and air conditioning system has to do with the overall energy consumption that they use to produce the hot or cold air. Since rising energy costs are devastating family budgets across the nation, I think that is is both important and imperative for new home owners as well as people looking to upgrade their environmental control systems in their homes, take much heed in the system they choose.

If a system puts out a lot of air but is still efficient in energy use, then this is the system that I would choose. It is after all, all about getting the most of something for the least amount of money. Sometimes it is necessary to purchase a more expensive unit in an attempt to reduce the overall energy costs. This is a very smart and astute way of approaching such a large purchase but it is important to remember that the math research must be done properly or you will spend more then a cheaper, less efficient machine.

If you calculate the cost difference of the initial purchase price with an averaged out amount of savings in your utility bill, you can get an idea of just how long the system will take until the higher cost will pay off. Sometimes this can take months but usually it is measured in years. Be sure to purchase a quality system, either way.


Because of some recent changes to California's laws, my wife and I recently faced a very costly and unexpected upgrade to our central air conditioning system that we had no clue we were going to have to deal with.

According to the new state law, the system efficiency must meet certain standards or the ducting itself must be replaced. This standard for quality and energy consumption control is based on a percentage of flow that actually makes it through from the blower to the actual vents. What this means is that if your system is pushing air to the vents but too much of it is being leaked by the ducting, then you will have to pay for a very expensive repair.

Despite the high costs of replacing the air ducting or repairing them to the point that they pass the efficiency test, there is still the high cost of replacing the actual air conditioning unit as well. The complicated mechanical and liquid components of these systems means that you are looking at an average of $3000-$5000 in some areas to replace it. The cost of course goes up if your unit is a roof located system that must use a crane to then put the system into place.

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