Central air conditioning units are usually matched with a gas or oil furnace to provide heat through the same set of ducts.
There are also central HVAC units called heat pumps that combine both the heating and cooling functions. If you heat your home with electricity, a heat pump system is the most efficient unit to use in moderate climates. It can provide up to three times more heating than the equivalent amount of electrical energy it consumes.
Unless you live in an amazingly temperate climate, the HVAC system in your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 44 percent of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling.
Like many other appliances, HVAC systems have improved in energy efficiency over the years. As a result, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your HVAC equipment.
Another development is the whole house approach to heating and cooling. Coupled with an energy efficient furnace, heat pump or air-conditioner, the whole house approach can have a great impact on your energy bills. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings - properly regulated with a programmable thermostat, of course - you may be able to cut your energy bills in half.