Nothing beats walking into a cool, humidity-free home on a scorching hot summer afternoon, especially in North Carolina.
Air conditioning allows us to be comfortable even on the year’s hottest days. Many of us can’t imagine being without it for even a few hours.
So, which air conditioning system is best for cooling your home? You have tons of choices these days, which are more energy efficient than a decade ago. If you’re replacing an old system with a new one, you’ll likely save money on your power costs just by updating your cooling system.
The best air conditioning system for your home is determined by your budget, your home’s construction, and your personal requirements.
You may also want to consider overall efficiency, especially if you want to keep your energy costs and carbon impact as low as possible. To select the most compatible air conditioner for your house, you must consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of A/C system.
If you are short on time, you can find the information you need here:
- What to look for with a Central Air Unit
- What to look for with a Ductless Mini Split System
- What to look for with Portable A/C Units
- Quick tips for choosing the best A/C unit
If you are wondering which type of AC unit is right for you and your home, keep reading our complete guide to finding the perfect A/C unit.
What to Look For With a Central Air Unit
Purchase a Central Air Conditioning System if…
- You’re dealing with new construction.
- You’re performing a full makeover and will be tearing down walls as part of the process.
- You can piggyback on existing heat ducts.
- You want a largely unobtrusive cooling system.
- Money isn’t an issue.
Retrofitting your house for central air conditioning might not be practical — or even viable — if you live in an older home. This is since you will need to snake the ducts through existing walls. This will require cutting and fixing holes in your drywall or plaster. We recommend hiring a professional certified in A/C installation and repair.
In certain circumstances, the studs aren’t adequately spaced for this task. You may run into other issues when you start poking about in an ancient house’s infrastructure. You’ll also need a place outdoors to store the compressor, which might be difficult if you live in a densely populated region.
According to the New York Times, around three-quarters of American houses have a central air conditioner that distributes cool air throughout the home via a ducted system. This cooling system is powered by a giant compressor positioned outside.
Air travels via ducts in the walls and through vents strategically placed around the home. Central air conditioning systems often have excellent energy efficiency rankings but have the highest initial A/C installation costs. That’s because building ducts to move air through your home’s walls is expensive, and an extensive, motorized system isn’t cheap.
What to Look for With a Ductless Mini Split System
Purchase a Ductless Mini Split System if…
- You are concerned about energy conservation and the environment.
- You don’t mind the appearance of the wall units.
- You want to avoid the disruption of retrofitting ducts in existing walls.
- You want to chill a garage or new addition.
Ductless systems, while less expensive than central air, can become pricey if installed in every room. The unit itself is enormous, and unlike central air, it is not disguised – you must put a large, white box on your wall, where it will be visible all year.
If you don’t mind the appearance, this system provides additional benefits like managing each room temperature rather than depending on a central thermostat and the capacity to heat your home.
A ductless A/C unit may be a good option if you want central air but can’t get a ducted system to function in your house.
This sort of A/C system is wall-mounted and requires just a tiny hole to be cut, making AC unit installation easy. The absence of ductwork is a significant advantage: air is blown directly into the area where the ductless system is installed.
Because there are no long ducts for air to go through, ductless systems are very efficient. Air does not have an opportunity to warm as it passes through your walls to reach your room.
What to Look For With Portable A/C Units
Purchase a Portable Air Conditioning Unit if…
- You rent and are unable to change the structure.
- You want a lightweight solution that is easy to move from room to room.
- You lack a window near an outlet.
- You have sliding doors or casement windows instead of typical windows.
- You desire a more fashionable appliance in your house.
Though portable air conditioning units aren’t as effective as window units, they’re an excellent option for tenants who move frequently and don’t want to tote about a huge window unit.
They’re also an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t have a window to install an air conditioner. Portable A/C is a fantastic option if you don’t have a window near an outlet or if you have casement windows that can’t be closed correctly around a window unit.
It’s still a fantastic option for renters since a simple venting system allows you to exhaust hot air through a sliding glass door or a casement window. Portable A/C units take the ease of a window unit and place it on wheels so it can be moved more quickly.
These air conditioners are often lighter and easier to transport or roll into place than a standard window unit. They also feature a smaller profile to fit into narrow areas and are created with more flare to mix in with your décor.
Quick Tips for Choosing the Best A/C Unit
After you’ve studied the benefits and drawbacks of the various types of A/C units, it’s time to consider some specific characteristics before you buy. Here are a few that will have the most influence on how much you value your new appliance:
- Sizing: Choosing the correct air conditioning unit for your space is critical. You’ll never be able to chill down effectively if your air conditioner is too tiny for a large living room. To calculate the square footage of your area, multiply its length by its width; then use this Energy Star chart to determine how many BTUs (British thermal units) of cooling capability you’ll require to keep comfortable.
- Fan Speeds: Make sure that any ac unit you are considering has several fan speeds so that you can manage the amount of fresh air in your room. This will help you feel cooler quickly, and it will also help you sleep better at night if you can keep the fan quieter – essential for light sleepers.
- Convenience: Look for a thermostat that allows you to set the temperature to your liking. The remote control may also help adjust cooling levels from your sofa or bed. Many A/C systems also include energy-saving options that can help you save money on power throughout the season.
The best air conditioning system for you is determined by your living environment, room size, and the characteristics that are most essential to you in terms of comfort and convenience.
Consider your finances and the time needed to renovate your house vs. selecting a unit that only has to be plugged in. Once you’ve decided on the type of air conditioner you want, you can compare prices and features to choose the best one for your house.