The two sweetest words you can hear in the middle of a sweltering summer:
When the weather starts hitting those record-high temperatures, it’s important to have the right air conditioner for your home — not only for your comfort but for your health.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the different types of AC units so that you can find the perfect model for your needs and budget.
Let’s dive in.
Types of AC Units
There are several different types of AC units, each with its advantages and disadvantages depending on your home and budget. Let’s take a look at them.
Central Air Conditioner
Central air conditioners are one of the most common types of AC units available. To improve the air quality of your home, these units force cool air through ducts that are installed throughout the home and exit through vents in different rooms.
These are usually controlled by a thermostat. Nowadays, many central air conditioner systems are equipped with smart home capabilities that allow users to set cooling cycles, adjust the temperature, and flip on and off the system right from their phones.
Pros of Central Air Conditioners:
- Can be easily controlled from a home thermostat or even through a smart app on the phone
- Is relatively quiet compared to other options
- Cools the entire home through duct systems
Cons of Central Air Conditioners:
- Relatively high initial cost + installation cost
- The outdoor part of the system can be loud and unattractive
Window Air Conditioner
Window air conditioners are a cost-effective alternative to the high price of central air conditioners. These can typically be found for under $1,000 and even as low as $100.
These small systems are installed directly into a window with half of the body inside and the other half outside. This allows the body to take heat and condensation from inside and push it outside with a built-in fan. It then pushes cool air back into your home.
They come in a variety of sizes and can be controlled with remote controls or wireless devices. These are ideal for apartments or condos that don’t have central air conditioning. However, they must be installed properly or can become a dangerous falling hazard for people below.
Pros of Window Air Conditioners:
- Low cost
- Easy installation
- Doesn’t take up any floor space
Cons of Window Air Conditioners:
- Blocks the window where the unit is installed
- Relatively loud compared to other units
- Potential safety hazard
Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner
Some homes don’t have extensive duct systems already installed in every part of the house. Some houses may have added rooms or sections long after the duct system was installed. No need to worry — this is where ductless mini-split air conditioners shine.
This system has an outdoor condenser unit with a compact blower that mounts onto a wall inside of your home. These lead outside by refrigerant lines and a drain line that brings the moisture from inside your home outdoors.
Pros of Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners:
- Reduces energy costs
- Can control each unit individually
- Saves floor space
Cons of Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners:
- Can cool individual rooms but is not made for large rooms or entire homes
- High installation price
Portable Air Conditioners
It’s hard to maintain the perfect temperature in your home if you live in an apartment or a condo that doesn’t provide central air. Although window air conditioners can help cool your home at a good price, some buildings require tenants to have the unit professionally installed for safety, which can significantly increase the price.
A great alternative to this is portable air conditioners. They are relatively inexpensive but don’t carry the risks that window air conditioners have. All you need to do is set the unit up close to a window and an electrical outlet.
Portable air conditioners use an exhaust hose that connects the unit to the outdoors to vent heat out while blowing cool air into the room with a built-in fan.
Pros of Portable Air Conditioners:
- One of the most inexpensive options
- Quick and easy setup
- Great for smaller homes, apartments, and condos
Cons of Portable Air Conditioners:
- Takes up floor space
- Can be noisy compared to other units
Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners
Through-the-wall air conditioners are similar to ductless mini-split conditioners. These can cool individual rooms in the house without the need for connected air ducts. The main difference is that these units connect directly to the outdoor unit rather than using refrigerant or electrical lines.
They are also known as floor-mounted air conditioners. However, these units are not as popular as other units because you usually need to cut a hole in the wall for the entire unit rather than running small lines outside.
These cost less than mini-split systems, though. They usually cost around $800 to $3,000.
Pros of Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners:
- Easily accessible due to its mounting location
- Quiet indoor operation
- Saves floor space
Cons of Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners:
- A large hole needs to be installed in the wall
- Obstacles like chairs, tables, and other furniture can block airflow
Geothermal Air Conditioners
These innovative systems are great alternatives to central air conditioners. A unique feature of this system is that it can cool your home as well as provide heat during the colder months.
They work by circulating water into the ground. During the hotter seasons of the year, water under the home carries heat outside and releases it into the soil. The ground serves as a heat sink. In colder months, the home absorbs this heat back from the soil and carries it back into the home.
These systems use a home’s existing air ducts to move the air throughout the home. It usually has a lower energy cost than standard central air conditioning or furnace systems. However, these home upgrades cost significantly more to install than other options, usually ranging from $15,000 to $35,000.
Pros of Geothermal Air Conditioners:
- Cools and warms the home through existing duct systems
- The system’s high efficiency keeps energy costs low
- Has a longer lifespan than other air conditioning systems
Cons of Geothermal Air Conditioners:
- Significantly higher purchase and installation costs
- Works great for bigger homes, but not for apartments, condos, or homes with smaller yard space
Keep Your Home Cool All Summer
That’s everything you need to know about the different types of AC units. The perfect AC unit really depends on your specific needs and budget.
When it comes to your home comfort, it’s important to make your family’s needs your number one priority. If you need an HVAC contractor that provides unrivaled customer service and affordable pricing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!