Your heating and air conditioning system is responsible for keeping your family comfortable. Most homes in Maryland have either a furnace and air conditioning system or a heat pump. A furnace and air conditioning system is made up of an indoor unit that provides warm air and an outdoor unit that provides cool air. A heat pump is a single unit that provides both warm and cool air. Both systems then distribute the air through the ductwork in a home. Recent developments in heating and cooling technology have led to systems that are much quieter and more energy-efficient than models from five or ten years ago.
A furnace and air conditioning system is also known as a split system, because it is made up of two parts:
- An air conditioning unit that removes heat and humidity from your home through a process called heat transfer. Heat is removed through the air conditioner condenser coil located outside and humidity is removed from the home through a condensation drain line.
- A forced-air furnace that creates heat and circulates it through the same ductwork in the colder months.
The alternative to a furnace and air conditioning system is a heat pump. A heat pump is a heating and cooling system that uses a single outdoor unit for both heating and cooling. Although it looks like an air conditioning unit, the system provides warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer. It is also the best option when natural gas is unavailable.
A heat pump system is also known as a packaged system, because it consists of a single unit that both heats and cools the home:
- A unit located outside of the home on the ground or rooftop that provides heating and cooling year-round to your entire home.
- An indoor air handler that distributes the air throughout ductwork in your home.