There is no way I could have ever fathomed how many central heating and cooling options are available for homeowners.
My family was somewhat poor throughout my childhood so the only thing we had for indoor climate control was the old, noisy window air conditioner and the fireplace.
It was my father’s job to chop and haul the wood every week while my mother did her best to keep the fire going throughout the day in particularly cold winter weather. These days, I have coworkers who have heated flooring that has a system of warm water pipes running underneath to generate heat. My brother recently installed a heat pump which harvests ambient heat in outdoor air at temperatures above freezing, completely bypassing the need for fuels like gas. Last year, I was still using the standard central HVAC system that came with my house when I bought it. I had upgraded the air conditioner at one point, but everything else stayed unchanged. My HVAC technician was trying to fix my furnace recently and was telling me about package systems for heating and cooling. In a standard central HVAC, typically the air handler where the air is chilled is separated from the condenser unit that chills the coolant sent back to the air handler’s evaporator coil. Often both components are separated by 20 feet or more, which lowers energy efficiency the farther and farther you separate the condenser and the evaporator. In package systems, everything is housed in a single metal enclosure that oftens sits on rooftops or along exterior walls. Sometimes you can attach a package system to existing ductwork if an access point can be made from outdoors. My energy bill has dropped by 30% by installing this new HVAC system in my home.