In the heat of summer, we all need air conditioning to keep us cool and comfortable at home. But, which AC system is best for you? What are the pros and cons of each one? Use our guide to get the answers to these questions for the most popular AC options, which will help you make the right decision.
Window AC Units
These are the most popular AC systems because of their portability and price point.
• Smaller and more portable than most other units and easier to install.
• Usually the cheapest AC option and come with warranties up to 5 years.
• Today’s units can be up to 30% more efficient than those manufactured just a decade ago.
• High ceilings, numerous windows or doors and rooms with high sun exposure Not built to cool an entire home, requiring multiple units to keep the whole home cool and comfortable.
• Each installed unit obstructs views and light and creates a potential home security risk.
• Loud compressors run in every room.
• Can be difficult or awkward to install during the summer and remove before winter.
Portable AC Units
These units sit on the floor instead of in the window and draw in hot, humid air which is removed via an exhaust tube through a window, then vents cool, dry air into your home.
• Easier to install than window units.
• The floor unit rolls around on casters so you can place it quickly and effortlessly. The exhaust hose runs out the window without blocking your view, and it can be removed easily in nice weather!.
• According to Consumer Reports, generally deliver half the cooling capacity they claim.
• Most are more expensive and less efficient than similarly sized window units.
• Noise can be a factor.
• Have a water reservoir that needs to be emptied manually.
Ductless Mini-Split AC Systems
Basically, a heat pump minus the ductwork, these systems have two main components. One is an outdoor compressor, like the ones found in central AC systems. There is also an indoor evaporator coil and air handling unit placed on a wall or ceiling. A conduit runs between the two units through a sealed hole in the wall. These systems are meant to cool older homes without ductwork, as well as smaller homes and add-ons where ductwork shouldn’t be added.
• Provide flexible cooling to individual parts or rooms of the home.
• No need to tear up your ceiling and walls to install ductwork.
• Also function as a heat pump, to provide heating in colder temps.
• With the compressor located outside the home, the unit is much quieter than window or portable units, almost as quiet as a fan!
• No window use or obstruction.
• Some can achieve higher efficiency levels than any other AC system.
• Cost more than window or portable units.
• Must be installed by professionals.
• Since the systems are mounted to the wall or ceiling, can impact a room’s interior design.
Central AC Systems
These systems distribute cooled air via ductwork with return and supply registers in each room to cool your entire home. All components are located outside, except the air handler, which is normally shared with the furnace. If you have ductwork in place and are looking for whole-house cooling, a central AC system is the most popular solution.
• The most effective way to keep your home cool.
• Expect lower energy bills and better indoor comfort, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity throughout your home.
• With all the components located outside, you stay cool with a virtually invisible, silent system.
• If there is ductwork already in your home, installation is straight forward
for trained professionals.
• It’s a valuable investment and an asset for any home.
• Requires annual maintenance to extend its life and run at peak efficiency to help you save.
• Costs more upfront and extra costs if you need to install ductwork. However, replacing an old central air conditioning unit is cheaper than installing a new ductless mini-split system.
• You must have the correct size of central AC system installed to effectively cool your home. If you install a unit that is undersized, it won’t keep your home cool on the hottest days. Oversized units can short cycle, which wears out parts faster and doesn’t give the unit a chance to dehumidify your home..
If you decide that your best home cooling solution is a central or ductless mini-split system, you should always have a fully licensed, professional contractor size the unit to perfectly meet the needs of your home.
Please contact us today to learn more about your AC options and let us help you find out which is the best solution for you.