Types of Air Conditioners to Consider

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

As the summer months and cooling season approach, you might be considering upgrading your air conditioner or have already started to shop around. Perhaps you ran a maintenance check in preparation for the upcoming hot weather and found you need to replace your current AC, or maybe you’ve known for some time that it is time for a new air conditioner for greater efficiency and better air quality in your home. There are a number of different air conditioning options to learn about out there, and it can be confusing when trying to select which one will offer the greatest benefits to you and your home. In this article, we will go over the important things to look for when selecting a new system, as well as the most common types of air conditioner systems and their benefits and downsides, so that you are able to make an informed decision about your new system.

What to Look for in an Air Conditioner

There are many different features to keep in mind when you search for air conditioners, which may vary in importance depending on your personal preferences. Here are a few factors to consider when conducting your research on air conditioner options:

Comfort features: What are your specific cooling needs? Depending on the type of air conditioner, they will each offer varying degrees of cooling. There are things like temperature control that need to be considered with each model. There are single-stage, two-stage, and variable-speed models that will offer different comfort levels. It also depends on specific climates.

Humidity control: A great feature of air conditioners is their ability to control the humidity levels in your home. Keeping the humidity levels inside your home under control is important for your indoor air quality, helping you breathe better and have access to healthier air. An air conditioner can pull the heat and humidity from the inside air and circulate the cool, clean air. Models such as the variable-speed compressor model will spend longer pulling humidity from the air than other types of compressors.

Sound: Air conditioners can be noisy. Depending on where you are planning to place your new air conditioner, how much noise it makes can be a big factor in deciding what type to get. There are ultra-quiet operations, and some come equipped with sound blankets to help muffle the noise.

Cost and savings: The installation cost is a big factor to consider when you shop for systems, especially since some units will require things like ductwork that you will have to have installed if you don’t already. Then there are the monthly running costs. Air conditioners have seasonal energy efficiency ratings (SEER). A SEER rating will determine the efficiency of the systems. The higher the SEER rating is, the more energy-efficient the air conditioner is, and the more you could save on energy.

Types of Air Conditioner

Though there are many different air conditioner types, they all essentially contain the same components, such as a compressor, refrigerant, condenser and evaporator coils, and so on. They all work to take the heat and humidity out of your home and transfer it outside. However, things like cost, installation, efficiency, and more differentiate models from each other. Here are the most common types of air conditioners and what they can offer.

Central Air Conditioning Systems

This is the largest and most expensive system. They will have a condensing unit and an evaporative unit connected by refrigerant tubing. This type of air conditioning would use the same blower fan and system of ducts as your furnace. They typically work best when cooling entire homes, and it is important to make sure you get the correct size system for your house. What’s great about this system is that it can cool the entire house on its own, and the noisier parts are outdoors, while the indoor unit is quiet. However, it is a pricy and complex installation, and the size must be precise so that it can work with efficiency.

Window Air Conditioners

A window air conditioner can cool a single room or a very small house, since it is completely self-contained. Window air conditioners are usually placed in a window, blowing cold air inside and ejecting warm air out the window. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install because of how they are designed. Though, because of their limitations, a window air conditioner is not ideal for cooling an entire, larger home. The moisture it collects from the room can also be dripped onto the floor inside if the unit is not tilted at the right angle so that it drips outside into a tray.

Ductless Mini-Splits

Mini-splits involve individual indoor units placed in multiple rooms of the home that are all connected to a single outdoor unit. The indoor units contain a fan, expansion valve, and evaporator coil. The refrigerant tubing goes through the wall between the indoor units and the outdoor unit, and a second tube drains away the condensation. These are far less expensive than a traditional HVAC system and can provide both heating and cooling. However, the installation process can be very complex and difficult to undo once put in.

Floor-Mounted Air Conditioners

These systems are placed low on the ground or on the wall of a room in your home. Because it is mounted so low, this air conditioner cools a space very quickly, making it an energy-efficient option. They are also out of the way and easily accessible for maintenance. However, they will require a large amount of wall space where they are installed, and since they are designed to be so low to the ground, there could be uneven temperatures. You will have to be sure no furniture blocks it, and they become dustier much quicker than other units because of their low placement.

Smart Air Conditioners

With these air conditioner units, you are able to set up a custom cooling schedule and save on energy since they are able to maintain the desired temperature while consuming less energy than a traditional system while they operate. You can connect it to an app that will allow you to control everything from your phone, even when you are out. However, there are more complicated parts involved with this type of unit that can make it difficult to set up. They are also on the more expensive side.

Heat Pumps

Heat pump systems are some of the most energy-efficient HVAC units compared to other options. Whether they are air-source or ground-source, they are designed to take the heat from outside and transfer it inside for heating. In air conditioner mode, a heat pump will do the reverse, removing the heat from inside and transferring it outside as a typical air conditioner system would. They work with better efficiency and are a lot safer than other heating and cooling methods. However, they are a lot more costly to install, particularly a ground-source heat pump. They will also work better in warmer climates when it comes to the heating department because they need to pull in heat from the outside air, which could be an important factor if you are planning on using them significantly for heating as well.

Dual-Fuel Air Conditioners

Per their name, these systems use two sources of fuel, typically an electric heat pump and gas furnace or an electric heat pump and oil furnace. They are a great way to be more environmentally friendly by emitting zero emissions when they cool a room or rooms, and you can lower propane or oil costs. However, they do not integrate well with every system and can be costly to install.

Evaporative Air Conditioners

An evaporative air conditioner will cool the air by evaporating water. They consume a very low amount of electricity and can add moisture to dry spaces, which is why they are best for non-humid climates. They can come in all different sizes, which means you can have one that is portable for individual spaces or one that can cool an entire home. They do require a professional installation, and they cannot be combined with traditional air conditioner units.

There are many decisions you will have to make before you purchase a new air conditioner, such as whether you want to cool an entire home or single rooms and what cooling capacity you wish to have in an air conditioner unit. Cost is another factor, which will include the upfront installation costs and everything that comes with it (equipment, labor, ductwork, etc.), as well as the running costs. Usually, to have lower monthly energy costs, the installation will be more expensive; therefore, it is a personal choice of where you want to save money. There can sometimes be local utility rebates that will reimburse you an amount for installing energy-efficient technology, such as heat pumps.

John Owens Services are experts in the heating and cooling business. Our company can help you determine what air conditioning system will be best for your home, as well as assist you through the installation process for your AC unit. Whether it is a window air conditioner or heat pump, we can offer a flawless install job with top efficiency for any AC unit you choose. On top of that, we can provide maintenance and repair services to every customer in order to keep your air conditioner running as smoothly as possible and make sure you get the most out of it for the entirety of its lifespan and beyond.

Though selecting a new air conditioner can be overwhelming given the wide selection, it is best to have all the knowledge and tools to know about every aspect of air conditioning that you should keep in mind when preparing to select a new AC unit. You will want something that is the correct size for the space you are trying to cool to keep your home comfortable. You will also have to learn the SEER rating for certain systems and how much energy you want to spend on cooling. There is the placement of the indoor unit and how much noise it will make.

Each feature of all heating and cooling systems has an effect on the efficiency and airflow of the rooms in your home that you should take into account. Now that you have all of the options, you can make an informed decision about your home’s comfort.

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(415) 942-6565
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(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464