Which AC System Is Right For You?

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Air-conditioner and walking cat in hot sunny day

Summer is coming and with it higher temperatures and potentially uncomfortable living conditions. If your home isn’t protected by an air conditioning system specifically selected for your space, it might not be doing the best job possible to keep you and your family cool during these hottest months. When considering which one might be best for you, it’s also important to consider what kind of maintenance each type requires. If your home requires multiple units, your maintenance needs will be very different from someone who has an HVAC system.

Mini Split Air Conditioners

Ductless air conditioners (also known as mini-split systems) are affixed to the wall in a room and can circulate air and keep it cool and maintain humidity in the same way any air conditioner can. This unit typically utilizes an outdoor compressor connected through the wall to the wall mounted unit.

Conditioning man at sofa background. Flat illustration of conditioning man at sofa background for web design

Pros

Mini split systems are quiet because the compressor is outdoors. They can also be mounted up and away from view so that you might not even notice it’s there. It also does not require a whole duct system, nor does it require a window in order to function, so it can really be placed almost anywhere.

Cons

An immediate con is the cost. If you’re only looking to cool a single room, or install several ductless systems across several rooms, it’s likely going to be much more expensive than central air or window units. While the long term benefits of lower energy costs add up, the high entry fee can be a major turnoff. The air filter also requires frequent maintenance. Because it could be filtering a lot of air, all of that accumulated debris ends up in one filter, as opposed to a central air system that has a series of filters.

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Central Air

Central air is one of the most effective ways to cool down an entire home. Using a series of ducts and vents in the home, cool air is able to be directed through the house. The compressor for the system is located outdoors, and the air is cooled in one central location and is moved through the vents with smaller fans.

Pros

The pros of central air are mainly that if you have ductwork in your home for air conditioning, it can also be used for heating in the winter, doubling the utility! The way the system is constructed makes it possible to keep the whole house a consistent temperature at all times of the year. It also keeps the air moving and filters the air as it moves through the system.

Cons

The downside of this consistent temperature is that it takes energy to maintain. This results in higher year round costs to consistently keep your home a desired temperature. Additionally, in order to get the benefit of the filtered air, you actually have to regularly change the filters. The major drawback of these kinds of systems is that if you don’t already have the ductwork in the home, it can be expensive to have installed. And once the ductwork is there, you then have to have the ducts cleaned regularly. Just like with the filters, if they’re not cleaned, you’re not getting the benefit of clean air.

Window Units

Window units are a common sight around this time of year in older homes that don’t have duct work. They are installed in windows that can open, with the compressor hanging outside.

Old air conditioner installed on the window

Pros

The pros of individual window units are pretty straight forward. They’re great for that one room you need to cool down that either doesn’t have vents going to it or is only sometimes used. You can also remove the unit when you no longer need it. They are also usually less expensive initially, so they’re not too hard to purchase for a quick cooling fix.

Cons

If you’ve ever been in a room with a window unit, you know they can be LOUD. They also take up space when they need to be stored in cooler months. Also by the very nature that they hang out of a window, they are exposed to the elements and therefore need to be cleaned out to maintain their effectiveness. Just like with ductless wall units, the filters of window units also need to be cleaned regularly.

Go With The Experts

Sometimes it’s hard to judge your home and what might work best for you in terms of air conditioning systems. By calling in an expert, they can judge what would be the most effective solution for you. The structure of your home, placement of windows, and whether or not you can even install ductwork will ultimately decide what is the best kind of air conditioning is best for you.