When you’re trying to beat the heat in your own home, there’s nothing better than an air conditioning system that blasts cool, refreshing air over you and your family whenever you need it. And if you live in a warmer climate, a reliable air conditioning system is a must.
But did you know that there are several different varieties of air conditioning systems? That means that you can find one that’s right for your home and your budget. Each system has it’s own unique pros and cons that can make deciding on the right one difficult. Here’s a quick guide to the four types of HVAC systems that may be available for your home.
A central air conditioning system is the ultimate cooling option for your home. It is also the most common system for new homes, which is also referred to as a “split system,” meaning that there are two main components to central air: the outdoor unit that you can see beside many homes and an inside unit that is usually found with your furnace unit or your air handler.
Central air works so well because it can move the largest amount of cool air throughout your house, cooling each room that has a vent in it. The air is moved through your house through ducts, which are a series of metal tubes that run from your air conditioning unit to the vents. This is a very energy-efficient way to cool your home, allowing you to maintain a constant temperature throughout your house.
The biggest drawback for central air is that your electricity bill will be larger. Central air uses a lot of power to regulate the air temperature, especially if you like your home to be lower than 72 or 73 degrees. But for many people, the consistency of temperature is worth the trade off.
One of the other very popular ways to cool your home is to purchase window air conditioning units for the rooms you want to cool. These are installed — as the name suggests — in a window, where the unit can blow the hot air out of the home easily and water can drain without damage to the interior of your home.
These units are popular because they are very easy to install and they can provide cool air for fairly large rooms. Even the smaller units can easily cool a 300 square foot room without trouble. You can also find a wide selection of units at different prices: because these units are so popular, competition can really drive the price down to make it a good choice for nearly anyone.
There are a few disadvantages for window units. Some people think they look unsightly and while the unit is in use, the window it’s installed in is blocked. Finally, a window unit may make your house a little less secure, as it can give burglars a potential entry point.
Ductless Air Conditioning
If you want the convenience of a window unit but either don’t want the security risks or the unsightly presence, you can opt for a ductless air conditioning unit.
Like window units, you install these units in rooms that you want to keep cool. But unlike window units, ductless air conditioners mount onto a wall of your choosing, with just a tiny hole needed for installation. These units are very energy efficient and you can install as many as you need to keep your house cool all summer long.
But is ductless AC better than central air? As with any air conditioning choice, it depends on your needs and wants. Ductless units are cheaper and easy to install, but they require regular maintenance and you may not like the looks of a unit on your wall.
Portable Air Conditioning
The final choice in home air conditioning is a portable unit. The biggest benefit of this type of unit is that you can move it from room to room as you need it, or you can buy a couple and easily install them in the main rooms of your home.
The biggest con for this type of unit is that they are very inefficient and you could see the difference in your monthly power bill. Condensation is another problem: you need the water to drip into a pan that needs to be monitored so it doesn’t overflow.
These are the four choices in home air condition. Which one seems right for you?
Bethany Mistry is a home project manager. She loves to help people improve their living conditions and enjoys sharing her experiences on many family and finance websites.