Malfunctions are usually the main culprit behind an AC unit’s diminishing cooling capabilities. When they happen, you’ll need to call an air conditioning repair technician. However, if you noticed than your home is frequently uncomfortably warm even with the AC turned on, it might be time for an AC replacement.
To help you find the right AC type for your home, we compiled a primer on the most popular AC types in residential homes.
Central AC Units
Central AC units are the preferred choice for large residential homes because of their efficiency in distributing cool air throughout a large space evenly. Cool air circulates throughout your home through registers and ducts. Once the cool air becomes warmer, it’s circulated back into the supply and return ducts and passes through the central AC unit again, repeating the cycle. To maintain indoor air quality, ducts and registers should be routinely cleaned.
There are two types of central AC units:
- Split-system type – As the name suggests, a split-system unit is divided into two units: an exterior metal box containing the condenser and compressor and an interior component containing the condenser. These two components are connected by pipes containing refrigerant gas.
- Packaged units – Packaged central AC units are located outside, usually on top of a commercial roof or near the foundation of a residential home. This type of AC is widely used in small commercial buildings.
Installing a central AC unit requires a lot of planning. For instance, installing a large central AC unit might drive up household electricity costs. That’s because the unit’s excess cooling capacity keeps consuming electricity even though it does nothing for indoor comfort. Before choosing a central AC unit, it’d be a good idea to consult an air conditioning repair and installation technician about your home’s cooling needs.
Ductless or Mini-Split AC Systems
What if your home doesn’t have any ductwork? You might want to try installing a ductless or mini-split AC system. This type of AC system is ideal for smaller, older homes that don’t have any ductwork or any home that has water heaters. Like central AC units, ductless mini-split AC units are composed of outdoor and indoor units. The interior unit is usually installed near the top of the wall, ensuring a room’s interior design isn’t disrupted.
If you and your family tend to spend a lot of time in your own individual rooms, ductless or mini-split AC systems might be a more efficient choice. Certain ductless AC systems can have as many as four indoor handling units that distribute cool air, allowing you to turn parts of your home into cool zones. And unlike central AC units, which feature a central thermostat, each zone has its own thermostat, allowing you to set separate temperatures for different rooms.
Window AC Units
Window or AC units aren’t as efficient as split-system central AC units, making them a poor choice for large homes. However, window AC units are arguably the best choice for those living in small spaces. They’re a lot more affordable than split-system types. Not to mention they can be easily installed in windows because of their compact size.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an AC Replacement
When choosing a new AC unit, it’s important to keep these considerations in mind:
- Energy-efficiency – Cooling costs account for a significant chunk of monthly household expenses, which is why it makes financial sense to look for an energy-efficient AC replacement. An AC unit’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating indicates its energy-efficiency. The most energy-efficient units usually have a SEER rating in the 20s.
- Ease of maintenance – The air filters on most central and mini-split AC systems are relatively easy to replace. To maintain indoor air quality, you should have a technician inspect your AC unit at least twice a year.
One more thing: Make sure only an experienced technician handles the installation of your new AC unit.
Cardinal Heating & Air, a contractor with nearly three decades of experience, offers professional AC and heating services, including the installation of AC units and water heaters. To request an estimate, call us at (425) 827-9997 or leave us a message here.