If you haven’t replaced your air conditioner since you moved into your home, you might not know where to begin when it comes to shopping for a new system. Most homeowners are concerned with the easiest ways to save money on their energy bills while being able to cool their entire house, regardless of whether you live in a dry or humid climate. The type of air conditioning unit you are looking for will depend on the area you are trying to cool. If you live in a large home, you probably need a HVAC professional contractor to help take a look at your ducts and decide what your options are. But if you live in an apartment, or you are looking for extra cooling units for a garage or add-on, you may be looking at something portable. These are the basics you should think about before you choose.
1. Portable Air Conditioners
If you’re cooling a small space, you might be looking for just a standard window unit, like you see in studio apartments or hotel rooms. It’s easy to install and fairly affordable, and it will give you multiple cooling options. While the average cost of running a window unit is less than half of what it costs to run a split system in a house, keep in mind that the larger your home is, the more units you will need, especially if you live in a hot or humid climate. One portable air conditioner is really only designed to cool one or two rooms, although you can buy larger units to suit larger rooms. The trick is to look at the unit’s BTU measurement, which in air conditioner jargon means the amount of heat it can remove from the room. Portable air conditioners should range between 5,000 and 25,000 BTU, and you can match that number to the room size.
2. Central Air Conditioning
Central air is the most basic type of air conditioning for a house or large structure. The unit is placed on a roof or wall outside the home, and it cycles refrigerated air through your ducts, to be released from the vents in several different rooms of your house. Central air conditioning systems are professionally installed, so they cost more money. They are usually installed during construction of a home, but if you find you need to replace your system or you want to upgrade to a newer and more efficient model, you should have the contractor thoroughly inspect your ductwork and installation. If your home is not properly sealed, installation leaks can cause you to lose 30 percent of the cool air in your home, costing you much more to pay your energy bills.
3. Ductless Air Conditioners
Ductless air conditioning, usually called a Ductless Minisplit Air Conditioner, could be seen as the middle ground between the more common types of air conditioners. They work without ducts but as an integrated system in your home, controlled by an outdoor unit. These systems are incredibly energy efficient because they eliminate the chances of losing air to leaks in poor ductwork, and they also let you control different zones in your home, so unoccupied areas of your house can have the air conditioner turned off, while occupied areas remain cool. The compressor and condenser are located outside, which makes them less noisy than other air conditioners, while there are a variety of different wall and floor units you can choose from for each room in your house. Ductless might be costlier to install, but it’s one of those greener energy options that saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Choosing an air conditioner can be confusing, but with a little research, you will get the hang of the terminology and the different options. Nobody wants to be caught without cool air in the summer, but finding the right unit for you means you can beat the heat without draining your bank account.