Efficient heating and cooling units should get the job done without using excessive energy or costing you a fortune. Any unit with an Energy Star rating will be more efficient than a unit without it, but that is not the only thing you should consider. Initial and installation costs are surely a factor, as is the climate you live in. The type of systems used in California may not be efficient in Florida.
The heat radiating from the oven or stove top on a cold winter day provides a warm and fuzzy feeling; the same goes for radiant heating. Radiant heating systems are installed into the floors, walls and ceilings of your home. This type of heat is more efficient than baseboard and forced-air heating because no heat is lost through ducts. Radiant floor heating systems are quite different from the radiant panel systems used for walls and ceilings.
You have three radiant floor heating options: air, electric and hydronic. Hydronic or liquid-based is the most efficient and least costly of the three. This system pumps hot water from a boiler through tubing located under the subfloor. Planning allows you to run cables or tubing inside the concrete slab foundation during construction.
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Typical wall- and ceiling-mounted aluminum radiant panels produce heat with electricity or water. Panels are individually controlled in each room. A quick-response function allows an unused room to be quickly heated within a few minutes. Eliminating the need to preheat a guest room saves money and energy.
Central heating and cooling systems that come equipped with a geothermal heat pump are an efficient option for your home. This system delivers cooled or heated air to every room in your home through a system of ducts. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been known to cut energy bills in half. A central HVAC is also known as a split system because the condenser unit is outdoors while the evaporator coil is indoors. A geothermal heat pump transports hot or cool air from the condenser to the evaporator coil. In winter, the heat pump pulls in cold outside air and squeezes the warm air out of it, with the opposite occurring in summer. The conditioned air is delivered into the home with help from a fan that circulates air through the ducts.
During the summer, an evaporative cooler is the next best thing to a central HVAC system. Evaporative coolers, sometimes called swamp coolers, come in portable, window or wall-mounted or ducted options. This type of cooling unit recirculates the water inside the unit to cool outside air by about 12 degrees and a fan to blow the cooler air into your home. Evaporative coolers cost 50 percent to 75 percent less to run than regular air conditioners. This type of cooling unit humidifies the air and will not run as efficiently in climates of high humidity.
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