Efficient, energy-friendly heating and cooling systems can cut costs and maintain the perfect temperature inside your home. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems provide homes and office buildings with temperature controlled, clean air. For people who don’t want or need an entire HVAC system, individual heating, cooling and air quality units are available to increase the air quality and comfort in your home or business. There are many factors that set one heating or cooling brand apart from another, such as price, size, efficiency and more.

If you own a home or business, you might need to purchase or replace your current HVAC system or individual units. You can make these purchases from a distributor or contractor. When an HVAC system or individual unit needs maintenance or repair, you might contact the distributor or contractor who installed it, or call a company that specializes in repair. 

Top 10 Best Rated Heating & Cooling Systems

All Year Cooling offers round-the-clock response times for air conditioning and heating repairs. The company, which has been in business since 1973, provides same-day service and installation for most situations.
GE is a global industry leader that has been providing advanced technology in homes and businesses for over a century. They sell wall and window air conditioners for homeowners in addition to commercial air conditioners.
Frigidaire has been a major innovator of home technology since it was bought by General Motors in 1918. Their focus on energy-efficiency and smart technology promotes sustainability and helps homeowners save money.
Haier is an international company that sells wall, ductless, PTAC and portable air conditioners to homeowners around the world. As a company, they have a commitment to sustainability and community.
With an A+ certification from the Better Business Bureau, Lindstrom Air Conditioning & Plumbing has a history of excellent customer service. It offers a 10 percent discount for service calls that are scheduled online.
Triangle Tube is a New Jersey-based hot water heating equipment manufacturer and supplier. It specializes in hot water heaters, condensing boilers and heat exchangers for consumers, distributors and installers.
Friedrich is an industry leading air conditioner manufacturer based in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1883, it offers residential and commercial air solutions including window units, portable units, ductless systems and more.
Lasko Heaters is a Philadelphia-based home air comfort company. It manufacturers air purifiers, heaters, humidifiers, fans and more. Its products are available to purchase at stores nationwide.
Monessen is a brand of hearth products made by the Vermont Castings Group, a hearth and grill company based in Bethel, Vermont. Monessen specializes in gas stoves and fireplaces and hand-painted gas logs.
EdenPURE is a manufacturer of home health products, specializing in portable heaters and air purifiers. Products are available to purchase on EdenPURE’s website or at select home improvement stores.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

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What features should you look for in a heating and cooling system?

Is the unit quiet during operation?

Most new HVAC units run quietly so they don't disturb people who are inside the building. Some window unit air conditioners and space heaters are noisier. It's best if you can see a demonstration of a unit before purchasing, to determine how quiet or loud it is.

  • Sealed combustion chambers: Heaters and furnaces either have an open or sealed combustion chamber where the actual burners are located. Sealing the combustion chambers reduces noise coming from the furnace, so if you’re looking for a quiet furnace, be sure the combustion chambers are sealed.
  • Compressor sound blankets: Sound blankets insulate an HVAC system or air conditioner by absorbing sound waves. Many units come with sound blankets, and they can also be added to noisy units to deaden the noise created by air conditioner compressors.
  • Outdoor units placed far from windows: Installing the compressor and other outdoor parts far from windows reduces noise that can disturb building occupants. Talk to your installer about your options.

Is the unit energy-efficient?

Energy efficiency refers to whether a unit’s output makes good, efficient use of the electricity or other power source it needs to operate. Both federal guidelines and individual design help HVAC units, air conditioners and heaters save energy.

  • High Energy Efficiency Ratio: Heating and air conditioning units are required to include information on their Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This is a ratio of the systems output (measured in British thermal units, or BTUs) to the energy input it needs to operate (measured in watts). This ratio tells you how efficiently the system uses energy; the higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
  • Built to federal standards: Since air conditioners are one of the worst environmental offenders, federal guidelines in the United States require air conditioners to have an efficiency rating of at least 13-SEER. This means they provide a specific amount of air conditioning for each unit of energy used. For a more efficient and cost effective machine, look for an even higher SEER rating.
  • Financial savings: Not only will having an efficient machine use less energy and meet federal and local guidelines, but energy efficiency also means a cost savings to you. The energy savings generally translate into lower electricity bills, plus some states offer tax rebates for people who purchase new energy efficient systems and household appliances.

Does the unit hold a constant temperature?

HVAC units, air conditioners and heaters help keep indoor temperatures stable and consistent so users feel more comfortable. But some units can hold a consistent temperature, while others create fluctuating temperatures in your home or office.

  • Heating and cooling capacity: Most HVAC units are designed to keep rooms at constant temperatures for optimal comfort. However, even if it is brand new and working properly, whether or not an HVAC system, heater or air conditioner can actually maintain that temperature depends on the temperature and humidity in your region. In very hot regions, you will need an HVAC or air conditioner with a high “tonnage” (a measure of air conditioning capacity). Space heaters and other types of room heaters may also be less effective in severely cold regions, and you may need to purchase more than one per room. Be careful to never plug more than one heater into the same outlet, which can overload the outlet and cause a fire.
  • Adjustable ducts: Most HVAC systems allow users to adjust ducts to control temperature in different rooms. This means you can keep bedrooms or living areas cooler than less frequently used rooms, conserving energy and saving money on your electric bill.
  • Return air diffusion: Some HVAC systems are set up so as much air is circulated into the room as is circulated out, thus keeping temperature constant and air clean. Air circulation increases the ability of the unit to hold steady temperatures throughout your home or building.

Is the equipment compliant with safety standards?

There are a lot of health and environmental risks associated with the chemicals and equipment in heating and cooling systems. Federal and state governments issue safety standards to ensure that heating and cooling equipment works correctly and safely.

  • Environmental safety standards: HVAC units, air conditioners and heaters must comply with environmental codes for energy efficiency, clean air and more. It can be hard to know if a given unit meets these standards, but generally major manufacturers in the United States all meet these standards (or else they would not be able to pass inspections and market their products). To be sure, you can look for the Energy Star certification on any heating or air conditioning equipment (as well as many other home appliances), which indicates that the unit has met or exceeded efficiency standards.
  • Environmentally-friendly refrigerants: Air conditioners can be dangerous to the environment because of the chemicals in their refrigerants. Previously, most units used a refrigerant called R-22, but most manufacturers are phasing out production of these units because this chemical can be dangerous. Instead, look for a unit that uses R-410A, which is chlorine-free and safer for your family and the environment.
  • Ventilation standards: HVAC units must provide appropriate ventilation to lower the risk of respiratory infections and complications. The American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) sets the standards for ventilation, which are updated every few years; check to see that your installer is ASHAE-certified, which indicates that they follow the guidelines set by ASHAE.

Is the unit indoors or outdoors?

While heaters and furnaces are usually located inside, HVAC systems and air conditioners can contain both an indoor and outdoor unit for compressing and circulating air appropriately. If you have no outdoor space or prefer an indoor-only unit, your options will be more limited.

  • Outdoor compression units: Many HVAC units come with an outdoor compressor that can be placed at a distance from the building to eliminate noise and improve air quality. This helps to ensure fresh air flow to the dwelling or building.
  • Ducts and vents: Complete HVAC systems typically feature an entire system of ducts throughout a home’s attic or basement area. These ducts connect to vents in every room, allowing warm and cool air to circulate in and out. If your home or building is not equipped with a ventilation system, you can have one installed, but the process is expensive. If you can’t afford or don’t want to install a ventilation system, you will need to rely on window air conditioning units, fans, space heaters and other similar solutions.
  • Furnace location: Many homes in cold regions or areas that experience a cold winter and that do not have a HVAC system often have a furnace instead, which is connected to a duct system to warm the home. Furnaces can be located in any indoor closet but generally should be inaccessible to pets and children, especially if the heating elements are exposed. Many people opt to put the furnace in the garage area. If there is no closet in your garage to house the furnace, consider having one built.

Who will work on the units?

Depending on what type of HVAC or individual heating and cooling units you have installed in your home, you may need to work with various specialists. Be sure there are installers or servic epeople available in your area.

  • Commercial contractors: Commercial contractors help install and repair HVAC systems in commercial buildings. This type of contractor often has specialized knowledge of industry-specific health and safety issues and concerns.
  • Repair specialists: Repair specialists usually focus on the HVAC system as a whole or on individual units like the furnace, air conditioner or fireplace. They keep the heating or cooling system in good working order, perform inspections and complete repairs.
  • HVAC installers: Installers have specific skill sets related to installing new systems or units in homes and offices. They may or may not also repair systems and units.

What are the different types of heating and cooling systems?

HVAC systems

Homeowners, commercial builders and building owners may opt to install a complete heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to regulate temperature and air quality throughout the residence or business. Previous versions of these systems were known as “central heat and air,” but now feature air-purifying and regulating systems in addition to heating and cooling. Most small buildings and small- to medium-sized homes only need one HVAC unit; larger homes and buildings may have more than one unit.

Individual units

Some homeowners, contractors or building owners don’t need or want to install an entire HVAC system in a home or building. In those cases, individual units are available to heat, cool or control air quality. For instance, in some hot regions, heating systems are not necessary for comfort, so homeowners might prefer an air conditioning unit instead of an HVAC. It is often more affordable to install individual systems in older homes and buildings that might not be equipped for an HVAC system without a major renovation.

Portable units

Heating, cooling and air purifying systems can also be purchased in stand-alone units that are portable and plug into an electrical outlet or operate with batteries. For example, you may opt for a window air conditioning unit, tower heater, oscillating fan or HEPA filter instead of an entire HVAC system.

Who would benefit from a heating and cooling system?

Homeowners

Anyone who owns their home may want to install an HVAC system or individual unit. Homeowners with functional but outdated heating, air conditioning or ventilation units might want to replace them with more efficient or cost-effective systems or units.

Renters

People who rent a house, apartment or other space may need a portable heating or cooling solution, such as a window air conditioning unit, space heater or electric HEPA filter.

People with health problems

People with health problems, especially respiratory illnesses, may need to get an HVAC system installed in their homes. HVAC systems can help purify air, reduce the risk of respiratory infections and protect immune system health by regulating temperature. People with health issues who rent or don’t want to install an entire HVAC system might benefit from an electric HEPA filter.

Commercial building owners

Many commercial building owners have HVAC systems installed to keep workplace environments up to code and ensure a pleasant environment for employees, clients and customers. Building owners might also opt for portable units like space heaters or window air conditioning units.

Landlords

Landlords may install HVAC systems or individual heating or cooling units in rental units to attract tenants and allow renters to feel more comfortable. Many states require landlords to keep buildings heated to a specific temperature during cold months or cooled during hot months.

Environmentalists

People who care about the environment may prefer to use an HVAC system as it is more energy efficient than individual units.

Heating and cooling company reviews

  • All Year Cooling

    All Year Cooling installs and repairs air conditioning units in Florida. Since 1973, it has performed more than 150,000 HVAC installations.

    • Same day service and installation: Users can order services the same day they contact the company, making it easier to get the HVAC services they need.
    • Offers both installation and repair services: Consumers can deal with the same company for both installation and repairs. This allows the customer to develop a relationship with the contractor.
    • Offers coupons and discounts for families: Private home owners can save money when installing or repairing a system from this company.
    • State and county licensing and insurance: Repair and installation contractors are all licensed by the state of Florida, and All Year Cooling takes care of insuring them.
    • Offers financing: Users who can't pay for an HVAC system all at once can get interest-free financing.
    • Best for People with health issues.
  • Budget Heating and Air Conditioning

    Budget Heating is one of the first companies to sell HVAC products online. It offers a comprehensive list of products for homes and businesses.

    • Web orders are insured up to $250,000: Users can trust online sales from this company as they are insured against theft and fraud.
    • Offers products for both home and office: Commercial building owners can benefit just as much as private homeowners and landlords from this company's products.
    • Easy payment: Consumers can use Paypal at checkout to make it easy to pay for HVAC products.
    • Large warehouse: Budget heating maintains a large inventory and products are very rarely out of stock. This allows customers to get the parts and equipment they need quickly and without a lot of hassle.
    • National service: Since this service is online, users can get HVAC parts or units anywhere in the country.
    • Best for People with health issues, commercial building owners and landlords.
  • One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning

    One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning offers HVAC installation and repair services throughout the United States.

    • Best for Landlords and people with health problems.
  • Cobalt Heating and Cooling

    Cobalt Heating and Cooling offers residential HVAC installation and repair services.They serve the San Jose, California area.

    • Offers a wide variety of repair services: Consumers can get repairs on most parts of their HVAC system, including duct repair and unit repair.
    • All systems are Energy Star rated: Consumers can cut their energy bills by up to 30% and make an impact on the environment.
    • Can install units in office buildings: Although Cobalt is mainly a residential service, it offers installation in offices and office buildings.
    • Offers maintenance services: Maintenance can help HVAC units operate smoothly with no interruptions in service as well as prevent breakdowns. Cobalt offers this service as well as specific repair services.
    • Flexible payment options: Consumers can pay using cash, check or a variety of credit cards, making it easy to pay for HVAC services.
    • Best for People with health problems, environmentalists, commercial building owners and landlords.

  • A Star Heat and Air Plumbing

    A Star Heat and Air Plumbing is a family owned HVAC installation and repair business that serves customers in Garland, Texas and surrounding areas.

    • Owner interacts directly with customers: The owner often answers the phone and talks directly to customers about their concerns, making this business more community-oriented than many others.
    • Ability to order service online: Users can fill out a form online to request installation and repair services.
    • Offers radiant barriers for attic space: This product helps stop cool air from escaping from the house through the attic and improves insulation.
    • Guarantees temperature consistency from room to room: Users are entitled to service if the temperature in one room differs significantly from other rooms while running the HVAC system.
    • Offers duct cleaning services: Duct cleaning can help improve efficiency and saves money in the long run.
    • Best for People with health problems and environmentalists.

  • Lindstrom Air Conditioning & Plumbing

    Lindstrom Air has been offering installation and repair services since 1975. It offers service throughout Florida and is focused on creating higher efficiency HVAC systems.

    • Best for People with health problems and landlords.
  • Diamondback Air

    Diamondback Air offers HVAC services and products in the Mesa Arizona area.

    • Offers free second opinions: Users who are unsure about whether they really need to invest in repairs can get a free second opinion from Diamondback Air before deciding what to do.
    • Offers online scheduling: Consumers can schedule repairs and maintenance online, which is often more convenient than calling in an appointment request.
    • Focuses on safety: Diamondback Air is concerned with carbon monoxide leaks and other safety issues when examining or working with HVAC units.
    • Online reviews: Consumers can read reviews on the website prior to purchasing HVAC products or services from this company.
    • Blog offers DIY info: Users who want to try to fix minor problems themselves can get step by step instructions on the company's blog.
    • Best for Landlords and commercial business owners.

  • Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric

    Applewood has been providing HVAC services in the Denver and Boulder areas since 1975. More than 60% of their customers are people who have used their services before.

    • Offers online videos and news: Users can get news and information about HVAC systems on Applewood's website.
    • Service 7 days a week: There's no extra charge for weekend or holiday service.
    • Technicians must pass drug tests and background screens: Users can feel safe allowing technicians into their homes, as they are thoroughly vetted.
    • Replaces older units with more energy efficient units: Users can save money on electricity bills by purchasing HVAC systems or upgrading their existing units.
    • Access coupons online: Users can save money on repairs and installation by taking advantage of online coupons.
    • Best for People with health problems, landlords and environmentalists.

  • 24/7 Hour Air Service

    24/7 Hour Air Service provides HVAC installation and repair services in Florida as well as related services such as service on ice machines.

    • Offers preventative maintenance: Users can prevent HVAC problems before they start by getting regular preventative maintenance.
    • Ability to purchase products online: Users can purchase replacement parts and whole systems through this company's website.
    • Offers zoning: The HVAC system can be set to create different temperatures in different areas of the house.
    • Dehumidifier for extra comfort in humid weather: In Florida, humidity can make even the coolest house very uncomfortable. Dehumidification services help resolve this problem.
    • Quick financing decisions: Financing is available, and users can get a quick decision after submitting their application.
    • Best for Commercial building owners, people with health problems and landlords.

  • Gary Munson Heating and A/C

    Munson Heating has offered HVAC and other air conditioning services to Orlando customers since 1978. It offers a locally owned business that meets customers' air conditioning and heating needs.

    • Preventative maintenance package: Consumers can subscribe to preventative maintenance to get a check up on their HVAC twice a year.
    • Offers both residential and commercial services: No matter what type of HVAC services consumers need, they are likely to be able to get them met here.
    • Free tips for maintenance and efficiency: Users can get tips on how to get the most out of their HVAC system on the company's website.
    • Offers in-home analysis: Munson can visit users' homes and provide suggestions about what type of system to get to meet financial and comfort needs.
    • Can install ductless Mitsubishi system: Munson is a Mitsubishi contractor and can install a ductless system that may better meet efficiency goals.
    • Best for People with health problems, commercial building owners and landlords.

11 – 28 Best Rated Heating & Cooling Systems

For repairs, installation and maintenance, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning offers quick response times, with 24/7 service available. The company provides both an on-time guarantee and a satisfaction guarantee for its services.
LG sells portable, window and wall air conditioners to homeowners. They also sell accessories such as remote controls and 24-hour timers to improve your air conditioner’s accessibility and performance.
Carrier’s innovation in heating and cooling technology dates back to 1881. They offer homeowners smart technology with professional installation along with energy audits to help them stay cool and save money.
Goodman Manufacturing has been building heating and air conditioning equipment since 1982, including ductless and central air conditioning for homeowners. Their units are sold by independent contractors across the country.
Trane has been innovating in heating and cooling technology since 1910. They specialize in home air solutions and continuously work to improve and advance their heating and cooling systems for homeowners.
Lennox got its start in 1895 as a furnace manufacturer and introduced air conditioners to its customers in 1952. It is headquartered in Texas and offers homeowners energy efficient, money saving options on air conditioners.