Explore Your Options For Your New Air Conditioning System

Having trouble finding the right air conditioning system for your home? With so many different types and designs to choose from, picking one that gets the job done is a tall order. The following guide offers several benefits and drawbacks for each system choice.

Central Split-System Unit

True to its name, a split-system air conditioner is split into two parts: an indoor air handler that houses the blower fan and evaporator coil and an outdoor cabinet that houses the condenser coil, compressor, and various other parts. The two cabinets are linked together by refrigerant lines leading from one cabinet to the other.

A split-system setup shields part of your air conditioner from harsh weather conditions, giving your entire A/C unit a longer lease on life. The indoor air handler also makes it easier to replace air filters and perform cleanings on your own. Most split-system units are also less expensive than other air conditioning systems.

Split-system air conditioners must be installed in pairs, meaning the indoor air handler and outdoor cabinet must be the same model made by the same manufacturer. Replacing only half of a split system won't save you money, but instead this could introduce expensive performance and efficiency problems later on.

Packaged Air Conditioner

A packaged air conditioner combines the traditional split A/C system's indoor and outdoor cabinet components into a single outdoor case. The major advantage of this setup is that it saves precious space – something to consider if you have a small home with little room for an air handler. If yard space is at a premium, you can even have your packaged A/C unit mounted on the roof, provided the roof is strong enough to handle the extra weight.

Maintenance is also a bit easier with a packaged A/C unit since all of your air conditioning components are in one location. However, poor access can easily erase that advantage. The all-in-one factor also makes packaged A/C units more vulnerable to damage than a traditional split system.

High-Velocity Mini-Duct Unit

High-velocity mini-duct air conditioners are similar to their traditional split-system counterparts, save for one crucial aspect. Instead of using the standard-size ductwork found on ordinary split-system units, high-velocity units provide airflow through small-diameter flexible tubing. The air handler makes up for the shrunken ductwork by utilizing a high-velocity blower. Sound-deadening insulation is also used around the tubing to absorb the added noise.

High-velocity mini-duct systems are ideal for antique homes that need modern air conditioning but with minimal changes to the home's appearance and layout. Thanks to the drastically downsized ductwork, installers can easily route airflow through areas too small or too obstructed for traditional ducts. The only downsides are the extra noise and the added cost of the unit itself.

Ductless Mini-Split Unit

Ductless mini-split systems follow the split-system philosophy but do away with ducts in favor of miniaturized air handlers for each area being cooled. The air handlers themselves are slim, compact units that are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, making them ideal for homes where running expensive and space-consuming ductwork isn't an option.

Mini-split units also make it possible to create zoned climate control systems, where each zone in your home is individually controlled by a separate air handler equipped with its own thermostat. This setup gives you and others in your home more precise control over comfort.

Ductless mini-split systems require a bit more maintenance than the average air conditioner since each unit has its own air filter to replace or wash. Large homes with multiple rooms may also benefit more from traditional split-system units with ductwork rather than multiple mini-split units for cost and efficiency reasons.

Window-Mounted Unit

When it comes to quick and cheap cooling solutions, the window-mounted air conditioner rules the roost. Window-mounted A/C units cost significantly less than the air conditioning systems mentioned above. These units also come in a broad range of sizes and capacities, making it easy to find one that matches your cooling needs.

However, keep in mind that window-mounted A/C units are designed to cool off one or two rooms, at best. Cooling an entire home can easily tax even the largest of window-mounted units, resulting in steep utility bills.

Learn more from a company such as NOW Heating & Air.

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