How to Choose the Right HVAC System for You

How to Choose the Right HVAC System for You

HVAC systems are an investment and a big decision. The average HVAC system will need to be replaced every 10-15 years. To minimize the amount of repairs, maintenance and energy costs, it’s crucial to research the different options available before making a decision. There are four main types of HVAC systems: split, packaged, ductless and geothermal. 


Types of HVAC Systems


Standard Split HVAC Systems


There are three subtypes of split HVAC systems. The main difference between these types is what mechanism is being used for heating and for cooling, and how they work together during the different seasons. A split HVAC system is named because the heating element is installed indoors while the air conditioning unit is installed outdoors.




With a furnace and air conditioner split system, the gas furnace provides heat and the air conditioning unit is responsible for cooling. Since MIssouri experiences extreme temperatures in both directions during the course of a year, it’s crucial to choose a system with a high efficiency rating. 


Heat Pump


A heat pump split system utilizes a heat pump for both heating and cooling. This option is completely electric and energy-efficient. However, it’s best used in places with milder winters, as the heater may struggle when the temperature drops below freezing.


Hybrid (Furnace + Heat Pump) 


This system has two sources of heat and is excellent for colder winters like those we have in Missouri. When the temperature drops below freezing, the heater will automatically switch from the energy-efficient heat pump to the more powerful furnace to maintain a comfortable internal temperature. 


Pros of Standard Split HVAC Systems


Standard splits are the most affordable option for HVAC both in initial cost as well as replacement and repairs. There’s a wide range of styles and configurations to choose from with split systems, and they’re great at optimizing indoor climate control. 


Cons of Standard Split HVAC Systems


The main drawback to a standard split HVAC system is that you need ductwork in order to install it. If your home doesn’t have existing ductwork, adding it can make the overall cost of your split system HVAC significantly more expensive. 


Packaged HVAC Systems


Packaged HVAC systems follow the same general subtypes as split systems. The combination of gas furnaces and heat pumps will determine which system is optimal for your home. Packaged units are usually used when a home doesn’t have enough space indoors to install a split system heater. To combat the lack of space, the heating and cooling mechanisms are packaged together and placed outside the home. 


Pros of Packaged HVAC Systems


The biggest pro of packaged HVAC systems is that they’re the best possible alternative when a split system can’t be installed. Additionally, it doesn’t contribute to noise pollution in the home because the unit is outdoors. 


Cons of Packaged HVAC Systems


Packaged HVAC systems, while the preferred method when traditional systems aren’t an option, does have serious drawbacks. The options are more limited, they’re less efficient and they tend to wear more quickly because the entire system is outdoors. 


Ductless Split HVAC Systems


A ductless split HVAC system is used when there isn’t ductwork available in a home to place a standard system, and the cost of creating ductwork is too expensive. The air conditioning unit is placed outside, or you can use a heat pump for both. With this, there is no furnace option. 


Pros of Ductless Split HVAC Systems


Ductless systems are good for those who don’t have existing ductwork. These systems can also power as many as 4 indoor units while giving each unit its own thermostat and climate control. In terms of cost, ductless systems are quite energy efficient and can reduce overall heating and cooling costs. 


Cons of Ductless Split HVAC Systems


Beyond the limited options available, ductless systems aren’t ideal for climates where the winter weather regularly drops below freezing. 


Geothermal HVAC Systems


Geothermal HVAC systems rely on the stable temperatures from the ground and water to heat and cool a home. In winter, the system uses water to draw heat from the ground that is then converted to air. In the summer, this process is reversed and the hot air is pumped into the ground or can be used to heat water for dishwashers, showers and more.


Pros of Geothermal HVAC Systems


Geothermal systems are incredibly energy-efficient, saving you thousands of dollars in heating and cooling bills over time. 


Cons of Geothermal HVAC Systems


While geothermal does save you money on energy costs in the long run, it’s expensive to install upfront. If you’re going to be in a home fewer than 10 years, this may not be a wise investment. 


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