Air Conditioning Myrtle Beach, Heating, Residential, Commercial HVAC | Tri-County Mechanical Inc.

What Type of HVAC System Should I Buy?

Possibly because you have never experienced the dilemma of replacing a heating and air conditioning system and the “BIG EVENT” is likely to happen or has already happened you are not current with the choices that are available for replacement. Statistics indicate that more consumers have not experienced this scenario than those who have. And there is a whole industry out there waiting for this event to happen and you only have a short time (days?) to make an informed choice. And some of those in the industry will lead you to purchase the system that best suits them, not you. How will you know what you need or want without doing some homework first? Where do you go to get the best advice? Of course, we think that should be us.  If you are in learning mode, my advice is to enjoy the ride, if you can.

This article is about the types of heating and air conditioning systems available for replacement. And since you are making the effort to be informed, the experience can be a rather illuminating one before the purchase decision is installed. Afterwards, the chosen installation will impact approximately 30+% of your monthly power costs.   Maybe more!

Let’s see if I can help your “lights” come on. There are systems with 3 different types of compressors (the main component of the system). I will compare the versions with an analogy to light bulbs. There are “incandescent”, “compact fluorescent”, and “LED” versions of AC systems.

Incandescent versions of heating and cooling are known as single stage systems utilizing a compressor that has two states, OFF or ON. This “single-staged” compressor is designed to cool your home on the hottest day of the summer and the “not-so-hot” days of the summer with the same rate of capacity all of the time.

If the temperature is, say 80 degrees outside (note that it has the capacity to cool on a 95-degree day), the cooling cycles should be relatively short. The system utilizes the 95+ degree capacity and quickly cools your home. While the system is off, the heat indoors increases above the thermostat set-point and causing the system to start cooling again.

Even with all the short-comings of a heat pump system with single speed compressor and a single speed indoor blower, they are capable of sufficiently cooling indoor spaces. Are you starting to get the idea that there is a better method of air conditioning your home?

The better method of air conditioning your home is a cooling system that contains a compressor with 2-stages of capacity. I call it the “compact fluorescent” version of air conditioning. The fluorescent version contains a compressor with 2-stages of capacity and contains variable speed blowers for the indoor and outdoor fans. Unless the outdoor temperature is hot, the system cools your home while running at the lower speed. And many good results begin to occur!

Did you notice that I referenced a 2-stage system as a BETTER method of air conditioning? I am sure you noticed that. If a single-staged system is a good method, the 2-stage system as a better method, then there must be a BEST method of heating and air conditioning.   And there is!   I reference it as L-E-D version of comfort. In the industry, we reference this type system as an “inverter drive” system. This type of heating and cooling system is like getting out on the interstate and “setting” the cruise control on your car!

The inverter drive compressor is one that provides a real low stage of capacity (30 – 40%) and has the capability to increase or decrease its capacity on the need (demand) for cooling. And it is designed to run long periods of time at the capacity needed to provide the comfort and humidity level settings on the thermostat.

Now let’s make some sense out of these type of systems, the “incandescent, fluorescent, and LED versions of heating and cooling.

Incandescent (single-staged) systems start at 14 SEER (the minimum standard) and can achieve up to a 16 SEER rating.

Some EXAMPLES of our Single Stage Systems

Fluorescent (2-staged) systems typically range from 16 SEER up to 18 SEER.

Some EXAMPLES of our 2-Stage Systems

LED (inverter drive) systems range from 18 SEER to 20+SEER. Their HSPF (heating) efficiency ratings are significantly higher than the other types of systems (they don’t need supplemental heating in the winter).

Some EXAMPLES of our Inverter Drive Systems

I went to purchase replacement light bulbs for a ceiling fan recently in Lowes. The light bulb that blew was an incandescent bulb. When I got to the light bulb replacement aisle in Lowes, I went directly to the LED section because they last longer, use less energy, and emit less heat. Sure, the LED model cost more but it didn’t matter because I have no desire to make frequent attempts to replace a “hard-to-get-to” light bulb. That’s when the thought occurred to me to make the analogy of light bulbs to heating and air conditioning systems. And yes, the LED version of heating and cooling requires a significantly larger initial cost but with a significant list of added features and benefits with substantial energy savings. The concepts of oldest, older, and relatively new also applies to light bulb and heating and air conditioning replacements.   I predict, as the year’s advance, the technology for heating and air conditioning systems will match the trends in indoor lighting.

If you are interested in getting a straight story about options to match your expectations, we do that with all of the customers we serve.  We won’t try to sell you anything. We promote Trane, Bryant, and Ruud systems. Each of these manufacturers have all types of models described in this article. We will consult with you to select the system that best fits the requirements of your home and your needs and desires.

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