Is there one type that’s better than the others?
Variety is the spice of life, so they say, but this usually isn’t something that applies to air conditioners. If you’re like most people, you are only really familiar with two types of AC units: central air and the ones that go in windows. This is why it may be surprising to learn that there are quite a few other options. Let’s take a look at each, starting with those familiar ones:
Central air is the most common air conditioning found in homes, and it works by circulating cool air through ducts. Easy to use and operate, a central air system is unobtrusive and can immediately make a home cooler. The downside to central air is the fact that it’s not very energy efficient. Once you turn it on, that cool air goes to every part of the house, including the rooms nobody is using. Not only does this waste energy, but it also wastes money. Another negative is the ductwork required. For new builds, putting in ducts is a lengthy and expensive process.
If you live in a studio apartment or perhaps one of those tiny homes, a window AC could be ideal. Even the smaller models are pretty powerful and can quickly cool a little area. However, if you want to cool a home with several rooms, putting one in every window isn’t very practical. Plus, if you’ve ever had to put a window AC in or take one out, you know what a pain this can be.
If you’ve ever used a space heater, you have an idea of what a portable air conditioner is. Like a window unit, this type of AC takes air from a room, cools it, and then returns it to the room. Any warm air gets vented outside through an exhaust hose in a window. Easier to install than a window model, but you’re going to run into the same issue. Namely, that his kind of AC is only good for cooling a small space.
Though not very common, hybrid air conditioning systems are gaining in popularity. As the name implies, they utilize both oil and electricity to operate, using either the furnace or heat pump, depending upon which offers better energy efficiency at the moment. One advantage of this system is that it can be used for both air conditioning and heating. A disadvantage, however, is that installation can be complicated. Plus, hybrid systems generally require a lot of maintenance to ensure that they operate properly.
Even rarer than hybrid ACs in homes is geothermal cooling. This system involves burying water pipes under a house. During hot weather, cool water gets piped through the house and warm air flows over the pipes. Heat is then transferred to the cool water in order to equalize the temperature. At that point, the warmed water flows through the pipes into the earth, where it cools. When cooled enough, it is pumped back into the home. Like a hybrid AC, a geothermal system can also be used for heat. The energy created is sustainable and efficient. The negative, as you might imagine is the cost, with installation prices ranging between about $3,500 and $12,500.
Ductless mini split systems
The final type of air conditioner is a ductless mini-split. Commonly found in Europe and Asia, mini splits are popping up in American homes everywhere. Using an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit, ductless systems are ideal for cooling single rooms or different sections of a home. One of the biggest benefits of this kind of system is that it can cool specific areas. Unlike central air, ductless mini splits only need to affect the climate in places that are actually being used. If, for example, nobody plans to be upstairs for a while, only the system downstairs needs to be on. This saves energy and reduces power bills. Plus, with a system from a company like Gree, you can control the thermostat from anywhere.
The hot weather will be here before you know it, which is why now could be the time to think about upgrading your air conditioning. Get more information here on ductless mini splits and why they could be your best option.