Whether you are a homeowner or property manager doing a new residence construction or renovation, one of the decisions you will need to make will be the type of air conditioner (AC) you want to install, if any. With several options available, you are sure to find one that meets the needs of your home or residents.
Window units are popular in some older homes because many of them do not have the extensive ductwork required to accommodate central AC. This makes it a cost-effective solution if you are renovating an older home. Another situation where a window unit might be appropriate is in a studio apartment. Since studio apartments involve a fairly small, open space, a window unit can work well to cool the entire space. In homes, you will need a window unit in multiple places to keep the entire house comfortable.
One of the advantages of having window units in different areas is residents can cool each area separately since the amount of radiant heat can differ depending on the location of rooms in the home. Window units also allow for individuals to adjust the temperatures to suit their preferences, which is ideal in a rooming house. The downside of window units is they can make residents uncomfortable when they are installed on the first floor since they require the window to be open. People in localities that rarely have extreme heat and humidity in the summer may prefer a window unit.
A ductless mini-split system has features of both a window unit and central AC. They are a good option in the same places where a window unit would be appropriate. Like a window unit, the indoor unit stays inside, but unlike a window unit, it is hung on the wall. This can make it a more attractive option than a window unit, especially if security is a concern. Additionally, mini-split systems are less noisy than window units. Similar to central AC, there is an outdoor unit. The connection between the indoor and outdoor units allows refrigerant to circulate, thereby cooling the room. Mini-splits are also similar to central AC because you can both heat and cool your home with them. This is a major disadvantage with window units because you will need a separate device in the cooler months. The lack of ductwork also makes it ideal for older homes or homes where ductwork would take up too much room from the living spaces.
A floor-mounted AC is similar to a traditional ductless mini-split system, except the indoor unit is on the floor. Since they are on the floor, they will take up more of the living space than a wall-mounted mini-split system. Floor-mounted ACs are more practical for smaller rooms and may not be ideal for studio apartments where there is significant open space. Floor-mounted ACs may be best for small areas that are geared toward housing the elderly or people with physical limitations since the indoor unit is easier to access.
Central AC is among the most common forms of AC, especially in areas where oppressive heat and humidity are common in the warmer months. The advantages of this system are numerous. You have an outdoor and indoor unit. The indoor unit is designed to cool throughout the home wherever a vent is located. Some central ACs can have benefits similar to a window unit or mini-split system by using zoning. The use of zoning allows residents to adjust the temperature in different zones of the residence.
With more efficient units available, having a central AC may not be as expensive in terms of monthly bills. Part of the purpose of central AC is to dehumidify the home. Reducing indoor humidity will make the home feel more comfortable, even at higher indoor temperatures. Unfortunately, central AC relies on extensive ductwork, which can be expensive to install or may not be possible to install in some older residences.
Another consideration for central AC will be the heating method to go along with the unit. Opting for electric heating is typically the easiest because the cost of the system is less expensive and there is no need to install other lines to use different fuel sources. Some systems utilize a heat pump, which can both cool and heat the home. Other options may include the use of natural gas or the burning of fossil fuels to heat the home.
Choosing a type of AC will be contingent upon the type of residence and upfront costs to install a unit. Each type of AC has unique advantages and can be appropriate for specific residences. Contact an AC installation contractor to learn more.