Space and Money: Save Both with Combined Heating and Air Conditioning Unit

During the 1990s, combined heating and air conditioning units were introduced. Let’s look at how this two-in-one innovation can contribute to saving space and cash.

Space Advantages of Combined Heating and Air Conditioning Units


  • Since the same cabinet contains all of the operating mechanisms for both heating and AC functions, actual space used is far less.

  • Modern furnace and AC workings are more efficient in terms of space.

  • Uniting both heating and AC capabilities in one unit also allows combining and simplifying of ducting.

  • New compact combined designs help streamline and free up useful space in new apartment, condo and home designs.

  • Many older homes that could be retrofitted with one of these new units also benefit in more space for other uses.

  • Many highly efficient gas or electric versions bypass the need for a chimney, eliminating space used for chimneys.

  • Some weatherized versions allow for placement outside or in attics, further freeing up inside living space. Attic versions also eliminate need to duct through some wall or floor areas, resulting in simplification of ducting paths.

Combined Heating and Air Conditioning Units Have Fiscal Advantages

  • Combined units cost less than the combined costs of separate heating and AC units.

  • Reduction in the number of moving parts means fewer things to go wrong or wear out, resulting in lower repair and maintenance costs.

  • Combined venting and ducting allows for greater control of insulation and sealing of ducting. Since 25 to 40% of energy is lost through inefficiently insulated and sealed ducting, this can amount to sizeable money and energy savings.

  • Attic units contribute to energy (and therefore cash) savings through more simplified ducting. temp-post-image

  • Many parts of combined units receive service simultaneously, and in fact, are shared (such as blower motors and fans), resulting in further savings on service costs.

  • Units that eliminate chimneys mean improved efficiency, since chimneys are another source of energy loss.

  • Tightened government standards have caused the industry to increase energy efficiency, resulting in cheaper operating costs overall in newer units.

  • Modern HVAC units are controlled by sophisticated thermostats that can be set to automatically allow for variation in day-to-day demands. This can dramatically affect both energy use and cost, since rooms can be heated or cooled to match actual need and left to coast at less than optimum temperatures when not being used.

What Combined Heating and Cooling Units are Available?

Are you concerned about this because of an existing service or fuel type you want to continue with? Be assured, when it comes to combined heating and air conditioning units, variations exist that use the main fuel sources, including electricity, natural gas, propane and even oil.

Much of the above also applies to heat pump systems. In fact, a mini-split variation allows separate independently-controlled indoor units mounted inside rooms without the need for ducting. This, of course, not only means no need for renovation to add ducting, but also that the issue of careful sealing and insulating of ducting is unnecessary. These are ideal for many homes where retrofitting of ducting is not feasible.

This blog doesn’t cover all there is to know on this subject. You are always invited to contact us with any questions, comments or insights!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Alley and Co. Heating/Air and a clickable link back to this page.

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