Types of Air Conditioning Systems

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights:

  • There are several different types of air conditioning systems on the market today
  • Forced-air is the most common air conditioning system for residential properties
  • If you find that you only need cool air sporadically throughout the warm months, you may be interested in the air-source heat pump system

Summers can be hot in Salt Lake City and Park City. Having an air conditioner can keep your home cool and comfortable in the heat. Before you install or replace your air conditioner, make sure you are familiar with the various options available to you. There are several different types of air conditioning systems on the market today. Consider which one is best for you and your home.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

If you find that you only need cool air sporadically throughout the warm months, you may be interested in the air-source heat pump system. This system is a dual system and can heat and cool your home. The system relies on a pump to condense warm air moving it either indoors or outdoors depending on its setting.

When the system is set to cool, the pumps draw heat from your house, compress it, and then release it outside. In order to heat your home, the system reverses the process, taking heat from the outside, compressing it, and blowing it into the rooms.

While the air-source heat pump system tends to be more expensive than some other devices, with an average installation price of $6,000, this air conditioning system is one of the most energy efficient units available. This system is appropriate for temperate climates. If you’re using an air-source heat pump system in very extreme climates, you may need to install additional air conditioners or heaters.


A ductless system is comprised of an outdoor unit and several small counterparts mounted near the ceiling in each room of your home. The outdoor unit contains a compressor which feeds a refrigerant (a chemical liquid), electricity, and air into the smaller units. Cool air flows from these units, keeping the rooms at the temperature you desire.

The ductless air conditioning system is a good option if you’re looking to reduce your energy usage. It uses up to 30% less energy that the forced-air system. With an initial cost of $3,000 to $5,000, this system is one of the more budget-friendly options.


The forced-air system is the most common air conditioning system for residential properties. It is a pretty basic system that uses a central conditioning unit with a system of attached ducts. Air cooled in the conditioning unit is forced through the ducts and blown through vents in the rooms of your house.

This system operates continually until the whole home reaches your desired temperature. Once the house is cooled, the system shuts off and will turn on again as the temperature rises.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Though the initial installation cost of a geothermal heat pump system is between $10,000 to $30,000, it is one of the most energy-efficient models for heating and cooling your house. In the long run, the system can save you money.

The geothermal heat pump system uses liquid-filled pipes buried below the ground to regulate the air temperatures in your home. Through a system of transferring and condensing energy from the pipes in the ground, your home can be kept cool or warm depending on the season.

Installing the system is labor intensive. You must dig trenches to lay the pipes, but once running, the system can last up to 50 years, twice as long as the more traditional conditioning units. It rarely needs major repairs.

Using a geothermal heat pump often comes with federal tax incentives. In recent years, homeowners were offered tax credit with monies included on your subsequent tax return. In addition, depending on where you live, there may be more local incentives, so do your research.

Variable-Speed Air Handler

Though not a unique air conditioning system itself, the variable-speed air handler can be used in conjunction with a forced-air system. This added component changes the speed at which the cool air is circulated through your home. In the morning, the system kicks on at full speed, initiating the desired temperature. Instead of shutting off completely, like the standard forced-air unit, it stays on but slows down. It continually maintains the set temperature throughout the day.

Despite running all day, this system saves energy by avoiding continual full stops and restarts. It uses less electricity and causes less stress to the system, ensuring a longer life for your unit.

We at Tingey Plumbing can help you choose the right air conditioning system for your home or office in Salt Lake City and Park City. Call us today!

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