Should the Heating and Cooling Units in Your Home Be Combined?

If you’re planning to upgrade your existing HVAC system or want to add both heating and cooling to a new room or addition to the house without extending new ductwork, one solution is to combine heating and cooling systems into a single unit. Here are options to consolidate both functions into one efficient system.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

The heat pump does double duty as both air conditioner and furnace, housed in a single unit outdoors. Here’s how it handles both functions:

  • During the summer, the heat pump functions like a central AC, extracting heat energy from the household airflow at the indoor evaporator coil and dispersing heat outdoors at the condenser coil.
  • During winter, functions reverse. The outdoor coil extracts heat energy, even from cold winter air — typically down to temperatures around freezing or below. Heat energy is intensified by the compressor, transferred to the indoor coil in the refrigerant flow, then released into ductwork to warm the house.
  • Heat pumps are all-electric and do not utilize combustion. Thus, there is no ventilation requirement like there is with gas furnaces. Consolidating cooling and heating into a single unit also saves space and simplifies maintenance and repairs.

Ductless Mini Splits

For a single room or limited space, here’s how a ductless mini-split combines heat pump technology and compact units for cooling and heating without ductwork.

  • A low-profile indoor air handler incorporates a coil and a blower. A narrow refrigerant conduit connects the indoor unit to a downsized outdoor heat pump about the size of a suitcase.
  • In summer, the indoor coil extracts indoor heat. The mini-split has sufficient capacity to cool a single room or a small area.
  • In winter, the circulating refrigerant flow reverses and the outside coil absorbs heat from outdoor air, compresses it, and disperses the warmth from the compact indoor coil.

A single outdoor ductless heat pump unit can accommodate multiple compact air handlers in individual rooms, requiring only a refrigerant conduit to each unit.

For more about options to combine heating and cooling systems, contact Paitson Bros., your go-to source for indoor-comfort solutions in the Wabash Valley since 1922.

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