In winter, water circulating inside a sealed loop absorbs heat from the earth and carries it to the unit. Here it is compressed to a higher temperature and sent as warm air to your indoor system for distribution throughout your home.
In the summer, the system reverses and expels heat from your home to the cooler earth via the loop system. This heat exchange process is not only natural, but is a truly ingenious and highly efficient way to create a comfortable climate in your home.
"Split System" Air Conditioners
A traditional home comfort system has two parts: an indoor unit, such as a furnace or air handler, and an outdoor unit. An air conditioner is the outdoor unit that cools air and sends it to the indoor unit for circulation through your home. Indoor and outdoor units are designed to work together. When the air conditioner is properly matched with a furnace or air handler, you get maximum efficiency and longer system life. Air conditioning and cooling efficiency is measured using a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). A higher SEER means higher energy efficiency. The latest standard for SEER is 13 (beginning January 2015).
A "split system" central air conditioner includes a compressor, fan, condenser coil, evaporator coil and refrigerant. The system removes heat from indoor air and transfers it outside, leaving the cooled indoor air to be recirculated. A central air conditioning system uses electricity as its power source.
The basic components of an air conditioning system are:
"Split System" Heat Pumps
A split system heat pump keeps homes comfortable all year long. In summer, it draws heat out of your home to cool it. In the winter, it draws heat from outside air into your home to warm it. Many heat pumps have a booster electrical-resistance heater that automatically heats outside air even more. Outside air always has heat in it -- even at very low outdoor temperatures. Like a central air conditioner, a heat pump includes a compressor, fan, outdoor coil, indoor coil, and a refrigerant. The efficiency of heat pumps is rated using SEER (for cooling efficiency) and HSPF (for heating efficiency). A heat pump uses electricity as its power source.
The basic components of a heat pump are:
Most home comfort systems have two parts: an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump, and an indoor unit, a furnace. Furnaces heat and circulate warm air in the winter. They also take cool air from the outdoor unit and circulate it through your home in summer. The indoor and outdoor units are designed to work together. When the furnace is properly matched with a heat pump or air conditioner, you enjoy maximum efficiency and extended system life.
Furnace heating ability is measured with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) percentage. A higher AFUE percentage indicates a more efficient furnace. A gas furnace uses natural gas, although some models can be converted to utilize propane. An oil furnace uses heating oil. An electricity source is required to run the control systems, blower and some accessories.
The basic components of a furnace system are:
Oil-fired burners are used in many parts of the country as the basic heat source for warm air and hot water heating systems. Most of the home oil systems in use today are called pressure burners. In this type of system, oil is sprayed into a combustion chamber at high pressure, propelled by a blower, and ignited by an electric spark. The oil continues to burn as the mist is sprayed. Oil furnace efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, (AFUE) rating. The AFUE equals the percent efficiency the unit delivers. The higher the percentage the more efficient the unit.
A Residential Single Package System is a year round comfort system in which all equipment is self-contained in one unit and installed outdoors, typically on a concrete slab or other platform.
In the summer, a single package system provides the comfort of central air conditioning. During the colder months, the unit provides heat. Essentially, it is an air conditioner and heating unit in a single package, hence the name.
Models are available using:
The efficiency of single packages are rated using SEER (for cooling efficiency), AFUE% (for gas heating efficiency) and HSPF (for heat pump efficiency). Ductwork is required to transfer the heated or cooled air throughout the home.
AFUE – ANNUAL FUEL UTILIZATION EFFICIENCY
When you need to measure the thermal efficiency of your furnace or water heater, AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) helps to determine the actual, annual, average efficiency of that piece of heating equipment. It measures the amount of heat actually delivered to your house compared to the amount of fuel that you must supply to the furnace. The U.S. Department of Energy determined that all furnaces sold in the U.S. must have a minimum AFUE of 78%.
SEER – SEASONAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATIO
Are you getting your money’s worth out of your air conditioner? Determining the SEER of your unit will help. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, the comparative method used to judge how efficiently your air conditioner performs. It’s one way to see if you’re getting real value out of the energy dollars you spend. The higher a unit’s SEER, the higher your unit’s energy efficiency, and the more efficiently your unit uses power. In January 2006 it became mandatory for all cooling units to have a minimum 13 SEER. Effective power use means you’re getting the best value for your energy dollar.
HSPF – HEATING SEASONAL PERFORMANCE FACTOR
The HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is the most commonly used measure of the heating efficiency of heat pumps. The HSPF is a heat pump’s estimated seasonal heating output in BTUs divided by the amount of energy that it consumes in watt-hours. Typically, a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump pays for itself in savings in a few years.