Cooling your home during the hot summer months can be a challenge if you don’t have the right system installed. If you choose one that doesn’t have the power to cool your home, or one that just doesn’t work well with the layout of your house, then you run the risk of making your system work harder than it should, costing you money.
Fortunately, there are several options for air conditioning systems out there that you can choose from to make sure you keep your house cool without breaking the bank. Here is a quick guide to rating different air conditioning systems as well as a few different types that you can research to find one that works for you and your family. Each type of unit has its pros and cons, so each will be discussed to give you the best information to make your decision.
How Are Units Ranked?
One of the most popular ways that air conditioning systems are ranked is by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration, or SEER. Once you understand the ranking system, then you can quickly glance at the stats and see which type of system may be right for you.
The SEER is measured on a level of 13 to 28, and is derived by taking the total cooling in British thermal Units (BTUs) over the course of a summer season and dividing it over the total energy consumed over that same period. This may seem a little technical, but it is a fancy way of telling you how efficient each type of system is, with the higher the number being better.
The upshot of this is that the higher the number, the more efficiently your system runs, which means better cooling at lower costs. Of course, higher SEER are usually more expensive, so you may need to find a middle ground to satisfy your cooling and financial needs. Some state governments will give rebates for higher SEER, so see if you qualify before deciding.
HVAC systems are your standard air conditioning systems that use an outside unit to exchange hot air and a central unit, usually in the attic, to maintain temperatures inside.
Pros: HVAC units are some of the most efficient systems you can have, with an average SEER of 18. They work so well because they are attached to thermostats throughout the house that can turn the unit on and off as needed, limiting wasted power. They will also cool every room that is attached to the duct-work.
Cons: New units can be pretty expensive, so you need to know what your needs are before making it worth the money. Also, duct-work can leak and need to be replaced, which can also be expensive.
Window air conditioners are the units you’ve probably seen attached to the outside of an open window. They were used much more in the past, but they still offer a cheaper alternative to HVAC units.
Pros: Window units are produced with varying power outputs, so you can find one that can cool just one room or an entire floor. They are also fairly inexpensive, ranging from $500 to $1,500, depending on the size and power. Window units are easy to install, so you don’t need to pay a professional to do so.
Cons: Window units aren’t as versatile because there are limited places you can install them, i.e., in a room with windows. It will take more time to cool a large area, as the cooling effect will move slowly throughout the room since there is no direct duct-work to move it along. For larger homes, you will need to install several units to stay cool.
Mini Ductless Units
These units are like the systems that are installed in hotel rooms, a single unit that plugs in, has it’s own thermostat, and can be installed anywhere near an electrical outlet.
Pros: Mini units can be placed throughout the home and individually controlled, either by hand or with a remote, to get the most out of each unit. They are usually rated with a fairly high SEER as well, so the efficiency can help keep your cooling costs down.
Cons: Depending on your needs, you could pay upward of $5,000 per mini unit. You will also need a professional to install each unit.
You can find more information on air conditioning systems and tips to keep your house cool all summer long at Academy Air.
Amelie Jordan is a stay-at-home Mom who uses her everyday knowledge of running a house and raising kids to write her useful and informative articles. A keen gardener, Amelie also enjoys carrying out small DIY and restoration projects around the house.