Every home is unique. Whether you have high ceilings, lots of residents, or an incredibly tight home envelope, it’s important to have an HVAC system that’s capable of effectively regulating both indoor temperatures and humidity. In Victorville, California, the hot, arid climate makes it necessary to have high-performing heating and cooling equipment that won’t dry your home out, and that’s flexible enough to accommodate nighttime dips in outdoor temperatures. When choosing an HVAC system for desert areas, efficiency and reliability are key factors as well.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Central HVAC Systems in Desert Areas
Desert areas are known for three things: excessively high daytime temperatures in the summer, comparatively low nighttime temperatures throughout the remainder of the year, and exceedingly low levels of humidity. If you live in a desert climate, you’ll need to run your air conditioner quite often. The major concern in doing so is the risk of accumulating excessively high energy bills.
Although central HVAC systems are fast-increasing in efficiency, using this equipment non-stop isn’t sustainable for most California households. Central HVAC equipment is generally best suited for more temperate climates. In areas where temperatures rarely reach triple digits, central air conditioners can be used without costing a veritable fortune. Where they do represent a practical and economical choice, central HVAC systems are valued for their ability to provide combined humidity and temperature control, and moderate air filtration.
Heat Pumps Provide Both Heating and Cooling
Heat pumps are a popular choice for both heating and cooling in desert areas due to their remarkable levels of efficiency. They use moderate amounts of electricity to create the comfortable indoor temperatures people want. Unlike central air conditioners and forced-air furnaces, these units don’t actually produce heated or cooled air. Instead, they rely on an innovative heat transfer process that moves warm air indoors or outdoors as needed. Heat pumps can extract warm air from the outdoor environment even when temperatures drop as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they aren’t suitable for an Alaska winter, they’re more than capable of providing all of the heating power that Victorville residents need during the cold season.
In summer, when the outside temperatures are unbearable and having a functional air conditioner is essential for protecting human health, heat pumps can stand up to near-constant demand without driving up utility bills. They’re perfect for keeping your carbon footprint at a modest level and for ensuring that your overhead costs never climb too high. However, heat pumps are also notoriously expensive to put in.
There Are Three Different Types of Heat Pumps Available
There are three different heat pump types. Each is distinguished by the source of heat that it uses. The most common of these are air-source or air-to-air heat pumps, or heat pumps that move warm air between the inside and outside of buildings. There are also geothermal heat pumps or ground-source heat pumps that transfer heat from the ground into the building interior. Finally, water heat pumps derive their heat from bodies of water.
If you’ve already got a functional and efficient heating system in place and only need to find the right indoor cooling system, swamp coolers may be your best bet. Also known as ductless mini-splits or evaporative coolers, swamp coolers offer an economical way to bring indoor temperatures down and add much-needed moisture to the air. They’re perfect for households in hot, arid regions that frequently struggle with the symptoms of dry indoor air. If you’ve got stuffy nasal passages, frequently experience nighttime nosebleeds, or have dry skin, eyes, lips, and hair, talk with your HVAC technician about the benefits of having an evaporative cooler. Swamp coolers are far less costly to install than both heat pumps and standard central air conditioners.
What If My Victorville Home Lacks HVAC Ductwork?
If you live in a home that was built without the ductwork for supporting a central HVAC system, you can still enjoy the energy-saving benefits that heat pumps provide. Ductless mini-split heat pumps can be installed in homes that lack ducting for whole-house heating and cooling. Mini-split systems don’t require major building modifications for installation, and they can provide zoned temperature and humidity control.
In summer, the most economical choice for cooling in a home that lacks HVAC ductwork is a swamp cooler. Swamp coolers can be installed in both ductless and ducted buildings. These evaporative coolers provide greater airflow than either heat pumps or air conditioners, and they cost less to run. Much like heat pumps, swamp coolers rely on electricity and they don’t use a lot of it. In fact, most swamp coolers use about 15 to 35 percent less energy than standard AC units do.
Heat Pumps, Swamp Coolers, and Humidity Regulation
As more California residents strive to increase the efficiency of their homes, the average air-tightness of residential buildings is increasing as well. Higher levels of insulation and insulating materials with higher R values limit air loss and reduce the drying benefits of outdoor airflow. Homes are better-sealed and their heating and cooling demands are decreased.
These are changes that impact indoor moisture levels. In a home with lots of busy, active residents, things like steamy cooking projects and hot showers can create a moist building interior, even in a desert climate. In an efficient home with a tight envelope and minimal air loss, these changes also mean shorter and heating cooling cycles and less time for HVAC equipment to extract excess moisture. To keep inside humidity at a balanced level in environments like these, it’s often necessary to use integrated, whole-house dehumidification equipment with a central HVAC system or heat pump.
Heat pumps, however, are actually superior to central AC systems in terms of humidity regulation. They’re capable of extracting more moisture from the indoor air than a central AC unit. This is especially true in energy-efficient homes with short cooling cycles and limited opportunity for air conditioners to remove humidity. The latest and most advanced heat pump designs can also track and temper humidity regulation so that living environments never become excessively dry. What they cannot do is add more moisture to the indoor air which is often what homes in desert environments require. In addition to being a lot cheaper than heat pumps, swamp coolers are better suited for many Victorville homes.
Getting a Needs-Specific Assessment
When making recommendations for heat pumps, swamp coolers, or other HVAC equipment, HVAC professionals consider a broad range of factors. They account for things like ceiling heights, insulation, the number of building residents, and how indoor spaces are used.
Although heat pumps are an excellent choice for desert environments, it’s important to have a knowledgeable technician determine whether a heat pump is the right choice for you. If you struggle with dry indoor air and want both moisture and cooling relief, a swamp cooler may be a better alternative. Scheduling a consultation appointment is the best way to get a needs-specific recommendation for heating and cooling equipment that will provide the budget-friendly efficiency and comfort you seek.
Aace's Heating, Air Conditioning & Swamp Coolers has been proudly serving residents of Victorville, California and the surrounding areas since 2007. We offer heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also provide swamp coolers and preventative maintenance plans. If you need help finding the right HVAC system for your home, give us a call today.