Before making a final decision, the design of air conditioning and heating systems should be calculated accurately. Homeowners should insist upon a correct system sizing before signing a contract. This service is often offered at little or no cost to homeowners by gas and electric utilities, major heating equipment manufacturers, and conscientious heating and air conditioning contractors.
Many factors affect a home’s design heating or cooling load. A good heating technician will measure walls, ceilings, floor space, and windows for the accurate determination of room volumes. Also, a good estimate takes into account the R-value of the home’s insulation, windows, and building materials. An estimate of the building’s air leakage is necessary. A blower door test is the best measurement. The duct sizes and insulation, as well as the location of the registers and returns, should be appropriate for the system type and size.
There are several simple methods to incorporate central air-conditioning with hot water heat. Since the air ducts are used for cooling only, you can locate them for maximum efficiency. Mini-split ductless air conditioners are also efficient and provide cooling in typically hard-to-cool rooms.
In addition to efficient heating, hot water heating systems provide comfort. Room temperatures remain constant without the repeated initial gusts of cold air followed by hot air as with a forced air system. Without blowers and ducts, hot water systems are quiet and dust free.
The small baseboard radiators heat your house in two ways. First, heat is radiated directly from the radiators to objects and people in the rooms. This feels warm like standing in the sun in the winter.
Room air also naturally circulates up through the radiators and gently heats the air in the room. The combination of radiant and warm air heat provides comfort without the “dry feel,” typical of forced air heat. A boiler also provides a virtually limitless supply of hot water for morning showers.
One efficient hot water heating technique uses pipes in the floor. The entire floor gets warm and radiates heat upward. This makes you feel very comfortable (warm feet), even in a cool room. By keeping the air temperature lower, your total heating bills are significantly lower.
The most energy-efficient boiler uses gas and a pulse technology. When your system calls for heat, a spark plug starts the highly efficient combustion in the boiler heat exchanger. Each “pulse” ignites the next pulse of gas.