As the temperature outside continues to climb, it’s easy to see why air conditioning is a necessity in modern homes all across America, especially if you’re in a high humidity area. That said, air conditioners represent a significant investment into your home and budget, so you definitely want to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth and securing your comfort for years to come.
But how do you know which one is right for your home? When it comes to finding the right one, looking at AC unit size, quality, cost, high-efficiency features, and all of the other bells and whistles can be daunting. As such, we are here to streamline the process and make it easier for you.
Here’s how to make the best choice for your home and wallet if you live in the San Diego area.
The Six Types of Air Conditioning Equipment
Currently, there are six different types of air conditioning that one can choose from based on their preferences and needs. This includes the basic central AC, window unit, portable unit, ductless, hybrid, and of course, geothermal.
1. Central Air Conditioner
If you live in a large house and wish to find an air conditioner that can cool multiple rooms at once, then a central air conditioner is perfect for you. This particular unit takes advantage of a split system to regulate air through ducts in your home. These days, central air conditioning with smart technology is common.
While these units can cool multiple rooms all at once, they tend to consume lots of electricity and lose effectiveness if there’s a problem in the ducts, so do take note of that.
If you have this kind of unit and experience such a problem, reach out to us at Friar's Heating and Air to have one of our professionals come over and do a complete check-up and maintenance.
2. Ductless, Mini-Split Air Conditioners
If your house does not already have ductwork built in, ductless split systems are a great choice. Combining an outdoor compressor and condenser with an indoor air-handling unit, these are usually wall-mounted and have attached blowers. Furthermore, each room in your home will have its cooling unit, allowing you to independently adjust each room’s temperature. However, they can be more expensive in the long run, especially if you’re cooling an entire house.
3. Window Units
Easily the most common type of air conditioner for single rooms, window units have all their components enclosed in a large box and usually have a single thermostat gauge fitted in either a slot in the wall or an insulated window sill. These are generally inexpensive and last long when taken care of.
4. Portable Units
Similar to a window unit, portable air conditioners also contain all of the components inside a single box. The difference, however, is that they are self-contained and can be moved from room to room with ease. These units usually have a window to funnel out the exhaust air and only use an outlet to power on and function. These are an excellent choice for those that want the option of cooling different rooms but don’t have the budget for bigger, more expensive systems.
5. Geothermal Heating and Cooling System
This is a newer heating and cooling method and uses geothermal technology to extract heat from below and transfer it inside your home. To make this work, a geothermal coil is installed in the ground that can be used to either heat or cool your home. During the winter, the unit extracts heat from the ground and transfers it into your home. However, during the summer, the unit extracts that heat from your home and brings it back to the ground.
Because of this, these units are very sustainable and energy-efficient and even have a longer lifespan than other AC types. It’s also stated that if you spend the money on getting this kind of system, it can last you for nearly the rest of your life.
6. Hybrid Air Conditioner
These units alternate between burning fossil fuels and electricity to keep you comfortable inside your home while still saving on costs and energy. It works like a geothermal heating and cooling system in such a way that it pulls heat from your home during summer and puts it back to keep you warm during the winter.
What Unit Should You Choose?
After learning the main air conditioner types, choosing the best one for your home depends on various factors, such as budget, square footage, features, warranties, and SEER ratings.
Of course, while the window unit is the cheapest option, it’s also the least effective. If you want to cool a few rooms, a ductless system is a good choice, while a portable unit works best if you want the convenience of moving an AC around. A central AC is more expensive but will last you years, while a geothermal unit can be a lifelong purchase.
In addition to AC type, you also have to consider the size of your home when picking one. If you live in a one-room apartment, then a window unit or portable unit should do just fine. If it’s much bigger, then the type of air conditioner unit you’ll need will also be more expensive. Decide based on your family’s needs as well, because there’s no use in getting a central air conditioner unit if you only want a few rooms in your house to be cool, for example. Similarly, don’t get a 3-ton air conditioning unit if your home is smaller than 1,600 square feet, as you’d do well and save more with a smaller unit.
Next are the features. Do you want a smart air conditioner? One with variable speed motors? Or maybe one with two-stage cooling? These features work together to make the unit more energy-efficient. So, make sure you get one where you like the features, as this is a significant investment you’ll be using for, hopefully, a long time.
Another thing to consider is the warranty. Good HVAC manufacturers stand by their product and, as such, provide extended warranties that will keep you protected. However, while warranty length is essential, it’s also important to look at what it covers. For example, units with lifetime warranties may not include the cost of labor, while some cover that only for a specific amount of time. Some warranties may also have different cover periods for various parts and components. As such, asking what the warranty does and does not cover is critical when making an informed decision before the purchase.
When comparing air conditioners, you’ll most likely encounter the seasonal energy efficiency ratio or SEER. This measures how much energy an AC will use to cool your home, and this can also determine the type of AC you need. For example, hot and humid climates should choose a unit with a SEER of 15. It’s also worth noting that going up in SEER level will help cut down electricity costs if you’re upgrading from an older model. Generally, the higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the unit is.
With the summer in full swing and the days as hot as ever, it’s become more important to choose the proper AC for you, and hopefully, this guide will help give you useful insight.
If you live in San Diego and have any need for HVAC repair and maintenance, our certified professionals over at Friar's Heating and Air are always at your service. Give us a call today to discuss more about our lineup of AC units!