1. Home

Combination Heating & Cooling Comfort Appliances

Avoid comfort appliance congestions with dual or multifunction appliances

By

Combining two air comfort functions into one compact appliance that you can actually leave out and use year-round is very appealing to today's consumer. You don't need to buy a portable heater as well as a fan, with the need to store one seasonally. Storage is a problem for many consumers who live in tiny spaces such as condos or apartments, student dorms, bachelor flats or senior residences. One multifunction appliance for your living space or RV is a great solution for the RV.

Just to clarify, some portable heaters do have an onboard fan to help distribute the heat to the room, but for the purposes of this article, I'm referring to portable units that offer a heating setting, plus an air circulating or cooling function, with each working independently of the other. This enables you to use the appliance during cold weather for zone heating and you can also use it on the fan setting for making your space more comfortable during the hot season. So these are very different from fan-forced heaters.

Market availability varies for dual function heaters with fan settings and prices also differ considerably, but generally you can expect to pay more for a unit with these two independent air comfort functions. Prices are also influenced by style and features to help distribute the heat or air. Best features include energy efficiency, independent functions, oscillating capability, thermostatic temperature control and more than one speed settings. Overall design, physical size and how well it will fit into your space should also be considered.

When air movement is not sufficient to make your space comfortable during hot weather, there's more choice options for heating plus cooling functions. Besides whole-home heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, homeowners can install a ductless mini-split air conditioning unit that also has a heating function. These are usually cheaper to install than whole-home units and provide efficient room heating or cooling for year-round comfort.

Because they do not require ducting, mini-split systems are easier to install in a finished home. And heating or cooling only those rooms where you spend the most time, can provide a quick pay back of your investment and energy savings in the long term.

Other air conditioner plus heat options include a wall or window air conditioner that offer both cooling and heating functions and there are a few on the market. Generally easy to install, window air conditioners are generally budget-friendly and can provide efficient cooling and heating. Portable multifunction air conditioners are also popular with some, because installation is minimal and the unit can be relocated to another area as needed. Features and functions of portable units vary, so confirm the appliance has all the functions you need before buying.

While it could be argued that a multifunction appliance may not always deliver the best efficiency with each and every function, the trade-off of sorts can be worth the convenience and storage of only one appliance. Below are examples of some popular products that offer heating plus cooling or fan functions.

1. Lasko Ceramic Heater With Fan Setting Model 754200

Photo Courtesy PriceGrabber
Lasko offers good value with this portable ceramic heater that has a fan-only setting. With year-round function and adjustable thermostatic control, you can warm up your space or just add air circulation to make the area more comfortable. With a dimension of 6″L x 7″W x 9.2″H, it's reasonably compact and has a good price point.

Learn more from the manufacturer
Compare prices of heaters
Compare Prices

2. Dyson Hot+Cool Heater with Fan

Photo © Dyson
Dyson's Hot+Cool™ is a good example of a dual function appliance that offers a portable heater plus an air circulating fan, all wrapped up in a compact stylish design. The key feature of this fan is the bladeless design, which is easier to keep clean and there's no worry if you have a curious toddler in the home. As the seasons change, you merely chose the heating function, set your preferred temperature and you can efficiently heat your space. The sleek design of the Hot+Cool also offers a small footprint.

Learn more from the manufacturer
Compare prices of heaters

3. LG Heat, Cool Window Air Conditioner Model LW2410HR

Photo Courtesy PriceGrabber
A dual function window air conditioner like this LG model is an ideal budget-friendly option for those who need cooling rather than simply air movement. Easy to install, you can take it with you if you move or can transfer it to another window if you wish. Always check specifications and measure carefully to ensure a good fit and easy install. LG also makes a good assortment of ductless systems.

Learn more from the manufacturer
Compare prices of window air conditioners
Compare Prices

4. Friedrich Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioning Plus Heating

Photo Courtesy PriceGrabber
Other examples of combination air conditioning plus heating comfort appliances are Friedrich's wall-mounted ductless mini-split systems, some of which can provide cooling plus heating, for two or more zones (rooms). These systems are less intrusive, can be installed in a finished home and are more affordable than whole-home units.
Read more about Friedrich Mini-split Systems.

Learn more from the manufacturer and review spec chart
Compare prices of ductless mini-split systems
Compare Prices

5. Newair Portable Air Conditioner With Heater AC14100H

Photo Courtesy PriceGrabber
While many portable air conditioners offer multifunction settings that usually include air conditioner and dehumidifier functions, this Newair model has cooling and heating, as well as a dehumidifier and a fan. Designed for rooms up to 525 sq. ft., this 4-in-1 appliance has a nice feature set and offers good value.

A portable multifunction unit is ideal for renters or those who cannot install other types of air conditioners. Though considered portable, this unit is rather heavy at 75 lbs, but it does have wheels and could be moved to another room if needed. Check installation requirements and full specs before ordering.

Learn more from the manufacturer
Compare prices of multifunction portable air conditioners
Compare Prices

6. More About Heating, Cooling and Comfort Appliances

Find helpful buying tips and learn about different appliances for heating or cooling your home. Also consider installing a ceiling fan to help better distribute heat or create comfortable air movement.

Types of Air Circulators or Cooling Appliances
Read About Phase Out of HCFC Refrigerants
Air Conditioner Buying Tips
Proper Ceiling Fan Rotation
Infrared Heaters 101
Home Heating Options
Types of Efficient Electric Heat

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.