A Guide to the 4 Types of HVAC Systems

When it comes to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, many options are available. It can be overwhelming to decide which system is best for your home. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a rundown of the four types of HVAC systems and what makes each one unique. 

Standard Split System 

The standard split system is probably the most common type of HVAC system in homes today. It comprises two main components—an indoor unit (the evaporator) and an outdoor unit (the condenser). The indoor unit pulls in air from your home and cools it before releasing it back into the room. The outdoor unit will release heat from inside your home into the outside environment. 

Pros: This type of system is relatively affordable and easy to install, making it a popular option for many homeowners. Furthermore, this type of system is highly efficient when properly maintained. 

Cons: While this system may be more affordable upfront, its large size means that you’ll end up paying more in energy bills over time. Additionally, since the outdoor unit is so large, you may need to set aside extra space in your yard or on your roof for installation. 

Ductless Split System 

A ductless split system is similar to a standard split system but has one major difference—it doesn’t require ductwork throughout your home like a standard split system. Instead, each room or zone has a small air handler connecting directly to an outdoor condenser unit via refrigerant lines. 

Pros: Ductless systems are incredibly efficient because they don’t lose energy through ducting like a traditional split system. Additionally, since each zone has its own air handler, you can adjust temperatures in different rooms independently if needed. Lastly, these systems tend to have lower upfront costs than their counterparts since no ductwork is required for installation.  

Cons: Although these systems are generally cheaper upfront than traditional split systems, they cost more over time due to their higher energy efficiency rating. Additionally, since each zone requires its own air handler and condenser units, installation can be quite labor-intensive and expensive if you need multiple zones installed throughout your house at once.  

Packaged Unit 

A packaged unit combines an evaporator coil and a condenser in one cabinet that typically sits outside next to your house or on the roof, depending on the available space around your property line or deck area. Due to their all-in-one design, packaged units are typically used for smaller homes or apartments where space is limited. 

Pros : Packaged units take up much less space than other types of HVAC systems because all components are housed within one cabinet. Additionally, they tend to be extremely efficient regarding energy usage compared with other types of HVAC systems. 

Cons: Unfortunately, due to their small size, packaged units typically lack power when compared with larger models. Furthermore, they usually require more maintenance than other types of HVAC systems because all components are located within one cabinet. As such, repairs can be tricky and costly if not done correctly.  

Geothermal System  

Geothermal systems use thermal energy stored beneath Earth’s surface instead of electricity or natural gas like other types of HVAC systems do. This thermal energy helps pump hot air out during summer and cold air out during winter months without additional fuel sources. 

 Pros : Geothermal systems are incredibly efficient because they don’t use any external sources for power. They also last longer than traditional HVAC systems – up to 20 years with proper maintenance – which makes them well worth the initial investment cost.

Cons : Although geothermal systems are incredibly efficient, they tend to have higher upfront costs due to their complexity. They also require professional installation, meaning additional costs associated with hiring contractors and special permits from local authorities may be required depending on where you live .   


With so many options available, choosing the right type of HVAC system for your home can be hard. However, by understanding the pros and cons associated with each type as well as how much each will cost upfront and over time, you should be able to make an informed decision that works best for you and your budget! Ultimately, no matter what type of HVAC system you choose – whether it’s a standard split system, ductless split system, packaged unit, or geothermal – doing research beforehand will help ensure that you end up with something that fits both your needs and budget!


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