For those who are running a homestead, the idea of having a few creature comforts around the home is an appealing one. Atmospheric control is one of the very first things many of us want in a home. There’s a few ways to achieve this, though it’s not as simple as you may think. Today we take a closer look at two of the most common home heating and cooling systems, and how to decide meaningfully between them.

What is an HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, With this system, you control the temperature of your home through a thermostat. When a rise or fall in temperature from your ideal is detected, the system will turn itself on and remedy the issue. HVACs typically run on electricity (although some are solar), and can produce a hefty bill each month if you’re fussy about your home climate.

What is a furnace?

A furnace is typically powered by oil or gas, and some more old-fashioned ones use wood. A furnace also communicates through a thermostat, and you will set an ideal temperature. However, furnaces can only heat, and are unable to provide air conditioning. A furnace will switch on when it detects that the room temperature has dropped below your comfortable temperature, and bring it up to scratch again.

Which is best?

There are pros and cons to both methods of home heating. HVACs can be very costly to run, but if you’re in a warmer climate, they’re a way to also cool the interior of your home to a comfortable temperature. Conversely, they may prove to be too much of a power draw for places with a long, cold winter. They’re not the best choice for low energy usage, but some energy tips for the home can help keep the bill trimmed down. The form of ultimate climate control they offer can be useful for driving out damp, or maintaining ‘fussy’ home aspects like wood floors at their best.

Furnaces use fossil fuels to run, which could be a dealbreaker for some. Solar energy would be the most ideal option. Furnaces can be cheaper to run because of these power sources. They have no capability to cool the air, however. They rely on natural heat dissipation to drop the room temperature again. This means they can be a great choice for colder climates and long winters, provided your summers don’t get too stifling. They’re not very useful in a hot climate.

Other considerations

Furnaces are a simpler system because you aren’t coordinating three separate systems in one. This means they’re less fussy with maintenance than a full HVAC system, and typically cheaper to install. If you live in a remote area where electricity supply is a worry, a furnace is typically the better option.

Both systems use air filters and will need regular filter maintenance. Filters can range from inexpensive to pricey, so we suggest you look at air filters online once you’ve narrowed down your potential brands, and see what has the most cost-effective options.

In the end, it’s a question of your lifestyle, preferences, and the climate you call home. Both an HVAC and a furnace can be a quality choice if you do your research right the first time.