Best HVAC System of 2023 | Compare Heating & AC Systems
In order to find the right HVAC system for your house, you need to know what the options for the best HVAC systems are for 2023. Get the pros and cons of the top HVAC brands in this newly updated buying guide.
Investing in the best HVAC system can be a game-changer for your home, delivering cool air in the sweltering summer months and warm air in the frosty winter season. With several HVAC units on the market, it can be challenging to decipher which model and brand will work best for your specific needs. This article aims to simplify your search by outlining the top 5 HVAC systems currently leading the industry.
1. American Standard HVAC Systems
Leading the pack, American Standard’s HVAC units are renowned for their durability, performance, and energy efficiency. These systems effortlessly deliver cool air and warm air alike, providing consistent comfort year-round. They incorporate advanced heat exchanger type of systems and are often paired with smart thermostats for optimal control and energy savings. Another impressive feature is their high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating, which signifies the system’s energy efficiency over a cooling season. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the unit, and American Standard units consistently rank high in this regard.
2. Carrier Infinity Series
Carrier, one of the most reputable HVAC companies, offers the Infinity Series, an HVAC system that incorporates heat pumps to ensure efficient heating and cooling. Its superior SEER rating and innovative Greenspeed intelligence technology contribute to its stellar performance. This technology allows the system to adapt to your home’s heating and cooling needs, thereby reducing energy consumption. The Infinity Series also includes central air conditioners, which are known for their exceptional cooling capabilities.
3. Daikin DX20VC
Daikin’s DX20VC is a popular choice among homeowners for its state-of-the-art inverter technology. This technology enables the unit to operate at varying speeds, delivering a more precise temperature control and ensuring a comfortable environment at all times. As a heat pump, it provides both heating and cooling solutions for your home. This HVAC system’s high SEER rating and smart thermostats compatibility make it an ideal choice for those seeking energy efficiency.
4. Trane XV20i TruComfort
The Trane XV20i TruComfort system is one of the best HVAC systems in the market, utilizing variable speed technology to ensure precise comfort by adjusting compressor activity to match your heating and cooling needs. This system’s heat pumps are highly efficient, providing warm air during winter and cool air during summer with exceptional energy efficiency. Its impressive SEER rating and compatibility with smart thermostats make it a favorite among consumers.
5. Mitsubishi Electric Zoned Comfort Solutions
Rounding out our list, Mitsubishi Electric offers an excellent solution for homes requiring zoned heating and cooling: the Zoned Comfort Solutions. These systems are mini-split systems, a type of heat pump that allows for heating and cooling of individual rooms or zones within your home. They are highly efficient, providing the exact temperature control for each zone, thus reducing energy waste. With a high SEER rating and smart thermostats compatibility, these systems also ensure optimal energy savings.
Take Away: Whether you’re considering American Standard, Carrier, Daikin, Trane, or Mitsubishi Electric, it’s evident that these HVAC companies are committed to providing the best HVAC systems available. They incorporate heat pumps, central air conditioners, and heat exchanger type of systems to deliver efficient cool and warm air. By considering factors such as the SEER rating, the type of HVAC unit, and the inclusion of smart thermostats, you can make an informed decision about the best HVAC system for your home.
Factors to Consider in a Top Rate HVAC Unit
While we’ve introduced the top 5 HVAC systems, it’s equally important to consider other factors that will influence your final decision. Here are some additional considerations to help guide your HVAC system selection process.
Size of the HVAC System
The size of your HVAC unit will directly impact its effectiveness in circulating warm or cool air throughout your home. A unit that’s too small may not be able to maintain a comfortable temperature, while a unit that’s too large can lead to increased energy consumption and uneven temperatures. It’s critical to calculate the right size HVAC system for your home to maximize efficiency and comfort.
Energy efficiency is a critical factor when choosing the best HVAC system. As mentioned earlier, the SEER rating is a good indicator of a unit’s energy efficiency during the cooling season. But also consider the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF), which measures the efficiency of heat pumps during the heating season. The higher the SEER and HSPF ratings, the more energy-efficient the system.
Smart thermostats are revolutionizing the way we control our HVAC units. These devices allow you to program and adjust your home’s temperature from your smartphone, even when you’re not home. They can learn your schedule and preferences, automatically adjusting temperatures for energy savings and comfort. When choosing an HVAC system, consider whether it’s compatible with smart thermostats for added convenience and efficiency.
Installation and Maintenance
Lastly, take into account the installation and maintenance requirements of your chosen HVAC system. The best HVAC companies offer professional installation services to ensure your system is correctly installed for optimal performance. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and tune-ups, can also extend your HVAC unit’s lifespan and maintain its efficiency. Some companies even offer maintenance packages to help you keep your system in top shape.
TAKE AWAY: When it comes to maintaining a comfortable home environment, your choice in HVAC systems plays a crucial role. Whether you’re considering a heat pump, a central air conditioner, or a heat exchanger type of system, the best HVAC system for you is one that suits your unique needs and preferences.
From the high-performing American Standard units to the zoned comfort solutions offered by Mitsubishi Electric, there are numerous top-tier options available. By considering factors such as the SEER rating, compatibility with smart thermostats, and the reputation of HVAC companies, you can make a well-informed decision.
Remember, the best HVAC system isn’t just about delivering cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter—it’s about optimizing your home’s comfort and efficiency all year round.
Below, we’ve compiled five of the most popular heating systems as well as five of the most popular cooling methods. Each method features a brief description as well as some of the top brands to help make sure that you pick the best HVAC system for you and your home.
Best Residential Heating Systems
Whereas air conditioning systems can feel like a luxury, heating is a necessity for many people during the winter months. Below, we’ve gathered a collection of some of the most popular types of commercial and residential heating HVAC systems. We also included three of the top-rated brands for each type of heat.
It’s worth noting that some of these options will only work if your house has ductwork installed. Ductwork distributes airflow around your house, allowing an HVAC system to either heat or cool your entire house from one source.
While you can have ductwork installed, it’s an expensive process that costs thousands of dollars. Ductwork does have benefits beyond heating and cooling, but keep its presence in mind as you go over the following options.
Geothermal Heat Pump (Ground Source Heat Pump)
The geothermal heat pump works by collecting the sun’s heat that is stored in the earth. That heat maintains a fairly consistent temperature all year round and can be depended on as a heat supply.
The refrigerant in the heat pump condenses the earth’s heat, which can warm your home. Geothermal heat pumps also cool your home in the summer by simply reversing the process.
This HVAC method is known for its eco-friendliness. It doesn’t need fossil fuels or electric resistance heat and it’s designed to last a long time.
- Super efficient
- Eco friendly
- Made with a long-lasting loop system
- Saves on energy bills
- The high cost of installation and repairs
Because this is not a conventional method of heating buildings, the required installation can be pricey. You’ll also need to find someone to install the heat pump who is familiar with the design. Factoring in installation costs, a new geothermal heat pump will run you anywhere from $11,000 – $25,000.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Carrier/Bryant: $4,000 – $6,140
- Bard: $5,000 – $7,600
- WaterFurnace: $4,400 – $7,200
Mini Split Heat Pumps
Mini split heat pumps are a more conventional heating system than geothermal heat pumps. In a mini split, the refrigerant in the outdoor unit collects heat from outside your home. That hot refrigerant is then moved into the indoor unit where the heat is released through a blower.
- Lower cost overall than geothermal heat pumps
- Has a higher cost for installation than multi-zone systems
- Each indoor unit is a separate installation
- Each unit only heats one room
Depending on how many indoor units you want and the size of the heat pump, a mini split will cost anywhere from $3,000-$12,000.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Mitsubishi: $3,800 – $7,603
- Fujitsu: $2,750 – $7,405
- LG: $2,995 – $7,800
Standard Split Heat Pump System
The standard split heat pump system is one of the most common methods of HVAC heating. Standard splits work in almost every climate in the world and are incredibly efficient for their cost and size.
They work by circulating refrigerant between the outdoor and indoor units. Usually, the indoor unit is the air handler but gas furnaces can also be implemented. Both heated and air-conditioned air is sent through the home via ductwork.
- Only needs a small amount of power
- Less expensive than other options
- Energy ratings are increasing for standard splits every year
- Less efficient at heating than both the mini split and geothermal heat pumps
Assuming your home already has ductwork installed, the cost of a standard split is around $2,300 – $6,300, depending on the brand you decide to invest in.
Without ductwork, standard splits and every other HVAC system will increase drastically in cost. Ductwork is about $5,000 to install, depending on the size of your home.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Lennox: $1,625 – $4,300
- American Standard: $1,285 – $3,995
- Carrier: $1,600 – $4,375
They might seem out of date, but gas furnaces are still a solid option when it comes to heating your home at a lower cost.
Furnaces work by burning natural or propane gas to create heat. As the gases exit the furnace, they pass through heat exchangers. These exchangers transfer the heat (without the gases) into the air through blower fans and ductwork.
Modern furnaces use variable-capacity gas valves as well as secondary heat exchangers and variable-speed blower fans. This technique heats your home efficiently from one source.
- Lower cost upfront
- Extremely effective
- Operating costs can be higher than other methods
- Not an eco-friendly option
Gas furnaces are one of the most inexpensive HVAC options to install. The furnace along with installation can cost between $2,800 – $4,500.
Like boiler systems, gas furnaces might seem like an option that’s being phased out of usage. But for now, gas furnaces are still a great method for heating your home easily and for a lower cost than other duct-based options.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Lennox: $2,200+
- Day & Night: $1,880+
- Trane: $2,495+
Radiant heating supplies heat directly to your floors, walls, or ceiling through infrared radiation. It’s more efficient than both baseboard and forced-air heating because it eliminates the heating loss that happens with ductwork.
In addition, because radiant heating is ductless, it’s a great option for people with allergies. The heat isn’t being pushed anywhere, so there isn’t a chance for the air to gather dust mites.
There are multiple types of radiant heating depending on the material your home is made out of as well as where you are located, so it’s important to make sure that you’re using the right one for your home and your floor’s carrying capacity.
- Good for allergies
- More efficient than other methods
- Trouble using carpet over radiant floors
- Better as a supplemental and not a primary heat source
The cost of radiant heating depends on the size of your home. On average, radiant flooring costs $5.13 – $12 per square foot but costs can vary if you decide to install radiant heating in your walls or ceiling instead.
- Janes Radiant
It’s important to note that the cost for each of these brands is dependent on the size of the space you are heating. Another factor in the cost of radiant heating is whether you’ll be installing the heating in your floors, walls, or ceiling as each method varies in the way it works.
Residential and Commercial Cooling Systems
If you’re in an area that gets hot in the summer, cooling systems can be an essential part of getting through those months. While many HVAC systems operate as both heating and cooling systems, we’ve separated the two. This way you can focus on how each method operates as both a heater and an air conditioner.
Like heating, some of these cooling systems also rely upon ductwork. Some air conditioning methods, like central air, won’t work unless they have something they can use to push air through the entire house.
Split Ductless Systems
Split ductless systems use an outside condenser and compressor with one to four or more indoor blower units. These air handlers are mounted high up on the wall and distribute the air through the rooms.
Each blower unit is connected by a thin conduit that houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, and condensate drain. Each blower unit cools the room it’s installed in.
The benefit to split-ductless systems is that, because each unit cools the room that it’s in, you can keep rooms at different temperatures. This way you can keep your bedroom cooler than the rest of the house, without increasing your energy bill the way you would if you had to lower the temperature of your entire house. These systems also feel like central air, even though they technically aren’t.
- Ductwork isn’t necessary
- The cooling system feels like central air
- A great option for already established homes
- More expensive than box window units
The cost of split ductless systems is dependent on the brand that you decide to invest in and the number of rooms that you are cooling. On average, these systems can run from $2,000 – $14,600.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Mitsubishi Electric: $1,937
- Fujitsu: $2,429
- LG: $2,280
Central Air Conditioning
Perhaps the gold standard of cooling systems, central air conditioning uses ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout the house. Central air conditioning costs a little more but will most likely be the preferred option for cooling your home.
The refrigerant circulates between an indoor coil and an outdoor condenser with a compressor. The refrigerant cools and dehumidifies the air in the process while the blower fan circulates air through the house via ductwork.
- Reduces humidity
- Increases the resale value of your home
- Cools your entire house
- Ductwork is required for central air, which is expensive to install
Assuming your home already has ductwork, central air conditioning can cost between $3,000 – $7,000 to install.
Central air is vital, especially if you live in the southeast, which makes it worth the extra investment. Installed properly, central air should last you 12-15 years before it needs to be replaced.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Goodman Mfg.: $2,300+
- Day & Night: $2,560+
- Mitsubishi: $1,999+
Evaporative Air Conditioners (Swamp Coolers)
Swamp coolers are a staple in the arid southwest regions of the United States. They use a fan to bring in outside air which is then pulled through moist pads. Evaporation cools the air which is then circulated throughout the house, creating air that is 20-30 degrees cooler.
Swamp coolers are one of the most inexpensive and energy-efficient cooling options and work best in hot and dry climates.
- Easy maintenance
- 20-30 degrees cooler may not be cold enough in the hottest months
- Not an effective cooling option in humid environments
Evaporative air conditioners can cost between $800 – $3,549 for both the unit and installation. You don’t need ductwork for a swamp cooler, which makes this a great, budget-friendly option if you live in a dry desert region.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Honeywell: $443+
- Luma Comfort: $3760+
- Hessaire: $329+
Window Unit Air Conditioners
Interior air is cooled by window unit air conditioners by a fan that blows the air over an evaporator. A second fan blows outside air over the condenser, which draws the heat from the interior and pushes it outside.
- Easy installation
- Only covers one area of a room
- Usually not powerful enough to cool a large space
You can find window unit air conditioners in most appliance stores and online for between $150 – $600, though the top brands are usually more expensive. Budget window unit air conditioners are notoriously flakey, and it’s worth it to spend a little more for a top of the line brand before summer hits and they all sell out.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- LG: $600+
- GE: $797+
- Frigidaire: $599+
Portable Air Conditioners
While not a classic HVAC system, portable air conditioners are worth mentioning.
They use a standard window venting kit to expel exhaust and most also come with water reservoirs to help dehumidify the room they are in. Portable air conditioners work by pulling stagnant air from inside the room, cooling it inside the unit, and then recirculating the cooled air throughout the space.
- Efficient for size
- Can move around with you
- Only cover small areas
- Will not cool your entire home
The cost of a portable air conditioner varies widely based on the brand and the additional features of the unit, but most cost under $1,000.
Top Brands and Price Ranges
- Whynter: $455+
- Dyson: $420+
- Black + Decker: $289+
Understanding the Different Types of HVAC Systems
As seasons change and temperatures fluctuate, one thing that remains constant is the need for a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Key to achieving this are Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units. These systems play a vital role in maintaining a pleasant indoor climate, whether it’s warm air during winter or cool air in the summer. This article explores the different types of HVAC systems, their features, initial cost, and the reasons behind their growing popularity.
The Importance of HVAC Systems
HVAC equipment is an essential part of our daily life, improving indoor air quality and creating a comfortable living space. But how do these systems contribute to our comfort, and why are they considered a must-have? For one, they help regulate temperatures, providing warm air during the cold season and cool air when it’s hot. They also improve the air quality by filtering out pollutants, dust, and allergens, which is crucial for the health and comfort of inhabitants. Moreover, a good HVAC system can help control energy costs, making it a wise investment for any property owner.
Different Types of HVAC Systems
There are several different types of HVAC systems available, each with its unique features, benefits, and price range. It’s crucial to understand these differences when deciding on the best option for your home or business.
Heat pumps stand out among HVAC units due to their ability to provide both heating and cooling from a single system. They work by transferring heat from one area to another. In the winter, they extract heat from the outdoors and bring it inside to warm your space. During summer, they pull heat from indoors and release it outside, providing cool air to the interior. Heat pumps are known for their efficiency, and while their initial cost can be high, they can significantly reduce energy costs in the long run.
Central Air Systems
Central air systems are another popular choice among homeowners. These systems use a network of ducts to distribute cool or warm air throughout your home. The cool air is produced by an outdoor condenser unit that cools and dehumidifies air before it’s circulated. The warm air, on the other hand, is generated by a furnace that heats and circulates it through the ducts. Central air systems are often preferred for their ability to heat and cool large spaces evenly.
SEER Rating: A Key Consideration
When choosing HVAC equipment, one critical factor to consider is the SEER rating. SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures the cooling efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. A higher SEER rating indicates more energy efficiency, which can lead to lower energy costs. When comparing different types of HVAC systems, always consider the SEER rating to make an energy-conscious decision.
More Great HVAC Brands
The HVAC market is filled with various brands offering a range of products. Some popular HVAC brands include York, Lennox, Amana, Bryant, and Goodman. These companies offer a wide variety of HVAC units with different features, capabilities, and price ranges. When choosing a brand, consider not just the initial cost, but also potential repair costs and the unit’s expected lifespan.
Timeframe for HVAC Installation in a House: What to Expect
When it comes to maintaining comfort in your home, especially in warm climates, an efficient HVAC system is crucial. Whether you’re upgrading an old system or installing a new one, understanding the timeline of HVAC installation can help you better plan for this significant home improvement. As a good idea, let’s explore how long it typically takes to install an HVAC system in a house.
Factors Affecting HVAC Installation Time
The time taken to install an HVAC system can vary greatly, depending on several factors. These include the type of HVAC system being installed, the size and layout of your house, whether or not existing ductwork is usable, and the HVAC company you choose for the job.
Type of HVAC System
There’s a wide range of products available in the HVAC market, and the time it takes to install each can differ. A ductless mini-split system, for instance, may take a day or two to install in a typical home, given its simplified design that doesn’t require ductwork. On the other hand, a comprehensive central HVAC system that relies on extensive ductwork could take a few days to a week to fully install and test.
The Best HVAC Company for the Job
Choosing the best HVAC company for your installation is critical. A company with a good reputation and positive Better Business Bureau ratings will likely have experienced technicians who can complete the job efficiently. It’s also worth noting that companies with emergency services can expedite the process in urgent cases.
Making the Right Brand Choice
The right brand can also influence installation time. Brands that offer efficient systems and have a good reputation for quality and durability can streamline the installation process. These systems are designed with ease of installation in mind, leading to less time spent on assembly and setup.
The Role of Natural Gas
If you’re installing an HVAC system that uses natural gas, additional time may be required to safely set up the gas lines and connections. While this might extend the installation process, natural gas systems can offer significant cost savings in the long run due to their efficiency.
The Importance of Planning
Given these factors, planning for your HVAC installation is a good idea. Reach out to a reputable HVAC company for an estimate of the time it will take to install your new system. This will allow you to schedule the installation at a time that causes minimal disruption to your daily routine.
In conclusion, choosing the right HVAC system is about more than just maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home or office. It’s also about improving indoor air quality, managing energy costs, and making a long-term investment in your property. With so many different types of HVAC systems available, it’s crucial to consider all factors – from the SEER rating to the initial cost and potential repair costs – to find the best option for your needs.
Once you settle on your best HVAC system, check out our cost guide so we can help you find the best contractor in your area.