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air conditioning options explained by experienced HVAC pro

Different Types of Air Conditioners: Choosing the Best Air Conditioning System for Your Home

Air conditioners are among the most common household appliances in American homes. Nearly 75% of homes have an installed air conditioner of one type or another.

The air conditioning unit is an integral part of any home and monopolizes a large part of the essential household appliance budget. Making the right choice is crucial because the cooling, comfort and energy consumption of your home directly depend on it. There are different types of air conditioners, each with its pros and cons.

There are eight main types of air conditioning equipment on the market. Each type of air conditioner is designed for a certain space and serves a certain purpose. The different types of air conditioning are as follows:

Central air conditioning

Ductless mini-split

Window air conditioning

Portable air conditioning

Floor air conditioning

Hybrid / dual Air Fuel Conditioner

Intelligent Air Conditioner

Geothermal Air Conditioner

Here is a breakdown of 4 important factors to consider when selecting the best type of air conditioning for your home, detailed below:


Energy consumption

Space and maintenance requirements

Cooling power

Important factors in choosing the best type of air conditioner for your home?

1. Centralized air conditioner

Centralized air conditioner

If you have a large house and want to cool several rooms at the same time, this type of air conditioning is more suitable for you.

A central air conditioner uses a split system that regulates the air through the ductwork installed in your home. It is also known as a duct system.

The split aspect implies that the system is a combination of two main units. The outdoor unit is contained in the condenser and compressor. While the indoor unit includes the evaporator coils and the air handling system.

Like any conventional air conditioner, central air conditioning also uses a refrigerant to remove heat from the indoor air. This heat is drawn outside & amp; fresh air is pushed through the ducts.

With modern HVAC technology, programmable thermostats can be paired with central air conditioners for a smart home experience.

Benefits of a centralized air conditioning system:

Cools all duct-connected rooms at the same time, creating a cooler, more regulated environment around the home in minimal time .

As fresh air circulates to all rooms, humidity is reduced around the house, making the environment more comfortable.

Disadvantages of a centralized air conditioning system:

It consumes a lot of energy with a consequent increase in energy bills.

These units can lose efficiency and effectiveness if there are problems in the ductwork.

Some find the outdoor unit unattractive, but you can still creatively hide your air conditioner in your garden.

2. Ductless Mini-split

Ductless Mini-split Air Conditioner

If you want greater efficiency, or want to eliminate a lot of ductwork, or simply if you just want to cool part of your house, then opting for ducted mini-split air conditioners is an excellent choice.

Ductless systems are a great choice for contemporary homes.

This type of air conditioner is a combination of an outdoor unit consisting of a compressor and a condenser that comes with one or more indoor units. These indoor units are mounted on a wall and equipped with fans. The indoor and outdoor units are connected by pipes and the refrigerant circulates through them depending on the type of use.

Because these indoor units are small and compact, each room usually has its own unit installed which can be used for heating or cooling interchangeably.

These types of air conditioners are considered to be much more energy efficient than some of the other options available, but they can also be heavy on the pockets if you plan to install one in every room to cover the whole house.

Ductless mini splits come with a remote control but with a smart AC controller you can operate them using your phone from anywhere!

Advantages of Ductless Mini Splits:

Can be installed anywhere easily without much hassle and duct work.

Can control the temperature of each room individually.

Disadvantages of the ductless mini-split:

A single ductless mini-split duct is not enough to cool large homes.

The indoor unit of a ducted mini-split is fixed to the wall, so it will be visible to the naked eye.

3. Window Air Conditioner

Window Air Conditioner

A window air conditioner is a single unit with all its components enclosed inside. It expels heat from its outer side and blows cool air into the room from the inner side. As the name suggests, it can be installed in a window or by drilling a hole in the wall.

These air conditioners are equipped with a flow filter so that it can be cleaned regularly for optimum air conditioning efficiency. These air conditioners have controls on the unit and the amp; it can also be supplied with a remote control.

Advantages of window air conditioners:

Window units are generally less expensive and economical to operate

Simple to install

Easy to maintain

No take up your space

Disadvantages of air conditioning for windows:

They can be noisy during operation and are visible from outside the house.

They obscure the view from a window and must be placed near a suitable electrical outlet.

Not all windows support air conditioners, some air conditioners are not suitable for casement or irregularly shaped windows.

4. Portable Air Conditioner

Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are similar to window air conditioners. They are also placed in a single unit with all its components enclosed inside, but the difference is that it is an independent unit and therefore can be moved from room to room. All you need is a power outlet to turn it on and access to a window where air from the unit can be vented from the funnel.

You can opt for a portable air conditioner if you want a temporary cooling space or anywhere. is not convenient to install a window or a split air conditioner.

They are very practical and the smaller versions can also be used for niches or bathrooms. Portable air conditioners can be a single tube that draws in air from inside a room and expels it outside. Or, double tube which draws in air from the outside through one tube, this air cools the compressor and is then exhausted to the outside from the other tube.

Since a portable unit is located indoors, the evaporator fan runs continuously to evaporate condensed moisture that collects inside the unit.

The advantages of portable air conditioners are:

Quick and simple to install

Can be easily moved around the house

They require no permanent installation

An effective option for spot cooling

Easy to store away when not needed

Disadvantages of portable air conditioners are:

These units are noisy during operation

Cooling large parts is a problem

Portable units with a hose should be placed near a window and the hose also obstructs the lower part of the window


Floor-standing air conditioners

Floor-standing units in the room.

Floor standing air conditioners are designed to be practical if you prefer a mini split but not the space required for a wall unit. The floor standing AC indoor unit sits on the ground and the outdoor unit can be installed without major site preparation or duct work. This arrangement is also ideal for spaces with sloping walls such as attics or buildings constructed with fragile materials such as glass.

The unit can be installed up to 6 inches above the floor and through a small hole in the wall. is connected to the outdoor unit.

An amazing benefit of positioning this air conditioner is that it allows you to check the air filters very easily!

Easy access to air filters makes air conditioners ideal. people with respiratory problems or people who want to keep indoor air quality as clean as possible.

Floor systems cool/heat the room faster than any other mounting system since the fan blows air directly at your level. Conversely, units mounted high on the wall can often struggle to cool the room evenly and efficiently. Floor units need free space around them to operate efficiently and circulate air properly.

Make sure the unit is not obstructed by furniture or walls.

Advantages of floor-standing air conditioners:

• Perfect for older people living indoors due to accessibility

• Can be installed easily

> • A great choice for awkward and small areas as they don't take up much space

Disadvantages of floor-standing air conditioners:

• Airflow can be impaired due to obstructions in the room, such as furniture

• Not suitable for large rooms due to uneven and localized airflow distribution

6. Smart air conditioner

A person using the Sky Home app to control mini-split temperature settings

Smart air conditioners are a type of IoT-enabled mini-split, window or laptop air conditioner.

These air conditioners are Wi-Fi connected and come with a native app that allows global control through a smartphone.

According to the manufacturer, these air conditioners are equipped with many features. Some of them include weekly scheduling, geofencing, comfort mode, temperature range control and many other features. By using them, you can achieve great comfort combined with energy savings.

Smart air conditioning controllers are also available in the market which offer all the functionality of a smart air conditioner to any conventional ducted unit.

They work like programmable thermostats and are cheaper than smart air conditioners.

Advantages of smart air conditioners:

Provide comfort and convenience with many functions

Help save energy

Disadvantages of smart air conditioners:

More expensive than normal devices.

Wi-Fi connectivity is required to use all features.

Here's how to make a smart air conditioner yourself!

7. Geothermal air conditioning system

Geothermal air conditioning system

Geothermal heating and cooling is considered a relatively new method, it works by using the insulating properties of the earth.

Since temperatures below 4 to 6 feet of land remain constant throughout the year, regardless of the weather, geothermal technology takes advantage of this to heat & amp; cool your home more efficiently.

This system is equipped with piping consisting of a circuit that circulates water between your home, a heat pump and the ground. They require intense work to be installed underground.

Advantages of a geothermal air conditioning system:

Very efficient in terms of energy consumption

It has a relatively longer lifespan than other types of heating and equipment cooling

Disadvantages of a geothermal air conditioning system:

Installation depends on the location because the circuits are installed in the ground

Installation cost is very high

8. Hybrid / Dual Fuel Air Conditioner

A hybrid system is a system that combines a gas furnace with an electric air source heat pump to provide convenient heating and cooling performance and efficient.

Depending on the outside temperature, the system automatically switches from burning fossil fuels to using electricity. The temperature at which the system switches from the heat pump to the furnace is programmed or the manual switch can also be made.

During the summer season, the heat pump works as it should, drawing the hot air from inside yours to the house and throwing it outside. During winters, this process is reversed and the heat is distributed throughout the house. When the temperature is too low for a heat pump to operate effectively, the furnace turns on.

Advantages of hybrid air conditioning:

Maximize indoor comfort and minimize the cost of bills

Reduce your carbon footprint

Disadvantages of hybrid air conditioning:

The high cost of initial installation

A draw can happen in the long run

Important factors in choosing the best type of air conditioner for your home?

Now that we know the types of air conditioning available on the market, it's time to make the decision for the most suitable air conditioning system for your home. Here are the most important factors to consider:

1. Budget is the main factor in choosing your home air conditioning system

Here is the budget ranking of air conditioning system types. From lowest to highest:

The cheapest options available are window air conditioners and portable air conditioners.

Keep in mind that these types of air conditioners are only capable of cooling one room at a time.

A ductless air conditioner or mini split air conditioner is considered practical if you only cool a room or two. If you choose to cool the whole house with one ductless system, you will have to run it all the time, increasing your energy costs with low efficiency.

Smart AC, depending on the type (window, mini-split, or portable) they are slightly more expensive than their conventional counterparts. However, they are energy efficient and therefore inexpensive to operate.

Smart AC controllers cost around $70 to $120 and offer the same features and even more features.

A central air conditioning unit is considered to be more expensive than all the previous types mentioned, but it is also considered to be more efficient. Additionally, these air conditioners tend to last longer than portable and window air conditioners. The cost of running these, however, is much higher.

Geothermal heating and cooling is considered the most expensive option, but tends to pay for itself over time through energy savings.

Efficacy & the efficiency of geothermal units is unmatched compared to the rest of the air conditioning types available. It is claimed that if you spend a lot of money to get such a system, once installed it could last almost the rest of your life.

2. Energy Consumption

Be sure to buy an energy-efficient air conditioning system that can help you lower your bills. Energy efficiency rating is also known as EER rating.

It is important to check so that you can consider the most practical option. The higher the score, the more efficient the system.

Another closely related parameter is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling power divided by the total electrical energy absorbed during the same period.

Although the SEER rating may seem similar to the EER, the difference is that the SEER rating is calculated over an entire cooling season of several months at different temperature points, while the EER is calculated only at a fixed temperature point.

Again, the higher the SEER rating of the unit, the higher the energy efficiency.

3. Space requirements and ease of maintenance

Easy maintenance of your air conditioner is the most important part if you want to extend its life for years to come. Likewise, always buy an air conditioner that best suits the space in your home.


Cooling Power

This specification does not only apply to smart air conditioners, but to any type of air conditioner you are about to purchase. British thermal units (BTU) are a measure of the cooling or heating capacity of an air conditioner. The higher the BTU, the greater the cooling or heating power of a unit.

Common BTU capacities range from 6,000 to 12,000, which is adequate for a common-sized living room. You need to look for an air conditioner suitable for the size of your room.

This will help consume the least amount of power, demonstrating the best amount of cooling or heating.

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