Air conditioner and heating units: combo units explained
Posted on Apr 17, 2013 by Rachel Wright
Your overview of air conditioner and heating combo units.
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Having sufficient heating and cooling throughout your home is an important part of providing the comfort level you need to enjoy the space throughout the year. While you can get individual HVAC units that provide heating and air conditioning separately, combination air conditioner and heating units cover all your needs without taking up space with two large, separate units.
Due to the space reduction, these combination units are popular for apartment dwellers, student in dorms and RV owners.
Combination air conditioner and heating units come in three general types:
- Portable units.
- Ductless mini-split air conditioner/heaters.
- Wall or window units.
The first is a portable unit. Portable units consist largely of a heating element combined with a fan. The fan helps to distribute the heat throughout the room during cold days. When the days heat up, the fan can be used alone to provide some cooling for the room.
More efficient combination air conditioner and heating units include ductless mini-split air conditioner/heaters and wall or window units. Both of these are more suited for larger spaces than portable units and have refrigeration systems to provide cool air during hot days.
Ductless units can be installed on a room's ceiling, wall or floor and equire that a conduit connect the unit with an outsider condenser.
A wall or window unit requires installation through a hole in the wall or placement in a window. It does not require the secondary condenser unit to be placed outside. You can find a contractor to install either ductless or wall and window units. Using a contractor will ensure that the unit meets all warranty requirements.
When you're choosing combination air conditioner and heating units, it's important to make sure that you have a unit with sufficient home cooling strength to handle the space you intend to install it in. Cooling capacity in an AC unit is measured in BTUs.
To determine how much cooling capacity you need, simply calculate the area of the space that you're cooling by multiplying the room's length by its width in feet to get the square footage of the space. Then multiply that amount by 25 BTU per square foot to determine the cooling capacity you need.
Purchase a unit that's at least that capacity while going over the calculated amount by as little as possible. If you get a unit that's under capacity, your room will not be properly cooled. While a unit that's too far over capacity will waste energy by cycling off and on constantly as it cools.
Sizing the capacity for a heating element is much the same as sizing for cooling. The first step is to determine the area of the space in square feet. You then multiply that number by 10 watts per square foot. Purchasing a heater with the calculated wattage should provide you with sufficient heat to take care of the room. If the room has a large number of windows or is poorly insulated, a slightly larger heating element may be necessary.
After choosing the type of combination air conditioner and heating units you wish to install, you can get an estimate from a contractor on installation costs as well as unit prices. The contractor can then install the air conditioner you choose, providing you with a comfortable level of cooling and heating year round.