Everyone prioritizes staying cool in the hot summer months, and air conditioning is the best way to accomplish that goal. Over the years, manufacturers have designed a variety of air conditioning options to match the cooling needs of all kinds of homes. Whether you are moving into a new home or need to upgrade your current cooling system, it will help to understand the pros and cons of each option. The following five air conditioning systems are the most popular for homeowners.

Central Air Conditioner

A central air conditioning system simultaneously provides air conditioning for every room in the home. Like a central heating system, central air conditioning circulates cool air through ducts and out of vents built into a home’s walls, ceilings, or floors.

You can adjust a central air conditioning system by manually adjusting a thermostat to your preferred temperature. It can also be controlled with a smart thermostat that integrates with a smartphone app. That allows you to control the cooling temperatures of your system from any room in the home. You can even start the system on your way home from work.

Just because you live in an older home doesn’t preclude you from having central air. If you have a preexisting duct system for heat, a central air conditioner system can tap into those lines.

Pros of Central Air Conditioning
  • Cools the whole home at once
  • Quiet indoor operation
  • Temperature controlled from a thermostat
Cons of Central Air Conditioning
  • High initial purchase cost
  • High installation cost
  • Outdoor unit loud and cumbersome

Window Air Conditioner Unit

Window air conditioning units are a good cooling choice if the cost of installing a central air conditioning system is too high. They are also effective in apartments, dorm rooms, or any place with a window. Window air conditioners sit on a windowsill, with the bulk of the unit extending outside the window. In most cases, the window itself holds the unit in place.

Window air conditioner units are available in an array of sizes and can be adjusted by remote control or smartphone apps, if applicable. They are meant to cool single rooms rather than an entire home or apartment. They also have filters that need to be periodically cleaned or replaced.

Pros of Window Air Conditioner Units
  • Low initial cost
  • Easy installation
Cons of Window Air Conditioner Units
  • Blocks access to window
  • Potentially loud operation
  • Limited cooling capacity

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner

Many older homes lack a duct system to distribute air throughout the house. Even with a duct system, areas might not be tied into the system. That would occur with a new room addition, out in the garage, or guest house. These are the areas that would benefit from a ductless mini-split air conditioner. That system is a perfect option to cool the home without the expense and effort of installing additional ducts.

A ductless mini-split air conditioner has an outdoor condenser unit and a compact blower. That unit is typically mounted on a wall inside the home. The condenser and blower are connected with a large conduit that carries the refrigerant, electrical, and drain lines. The drain line will empty any accumulated moisture outside the house.

Pros of Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners:
  • Units individually controlled
  • Helps lower energy costs
  • Saves on floor space
Cons of Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners:
  • Not intended for cooling large rooms or entire homes
  • High installation price

Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are a viable option for people who rent or live in a home without a central air conditioning system. This is especially true if the property restricts the installation of window units.

A portable air conditioner is a unit that can be wheeled from room to room. You will need access to an electrical outlet and a window to set it up. The unit’s exhaust hose feeds out of the window. These units are budget-friendly and easy to operate.

Pros of Portable Air Conditioners:
  • Cost-effective option
  • Ideal for apartments, condos, and small homes
  • Easy installation and setup
Cons of Portable Air Conditioners:
  • Takes up floor space
  • Potentially noisy operation

Geothermal Air Conditioning System

A geothermal air conditioning system is a new method for cooling a home. It deploys cutting-edge technology that taps into the earth’s geothermal energy. That energy is found 4- to 6-feet under your property, where temperatures remain constant. The geothermal energy system consists of a series of loops that circulate water between your home, a heat and cooling pump, and the ground. This system is a better option when installed as part of a new home construction.

Pros of Geothermal Air Conditioning Systems
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Longer lifespan compared to other air conditioning systems
Cons of Geothermal Air Conditioning Systems
  • Complex installation requiring underground access
  • Expensive initial setup cost

Picking the Right Air Conditioner System

There are additional factors you need to consider when picking the right air conditioning system to install in your home. It would help to investigate the energy efficiency rating (EER) of whatever system you are considering. That rating helps determine how cost-effective the unit will be as it relates to your cooling needs. You will also have to consider the upkeep and maintenance of the unit. The bigger systems require annual visits from HVAC professionals to ensure they are running efficiently.

Size is also a factor. Every air conditioning unit has a different level of cooling output that depends on the size of the room or home it intends to cool. That cooling output is measured in British thermal units or BTUs. You should find a system with a BTU outpost that is appropriate for your home. For instance, a home that is 1,400 square feet requires an air conditioning system with 23,000 BTUs. If the air conditioning system BTU count does not match the room size recommendations, it could strain the system. It would be like a single-window unit trying to cool an entire two-bedroom apartment. Determining the correct size of your air conditioning system can be done in consultation with the HVAC pros at Golden Rule.

Your Reliable HVAC Professionals

We are an HVAC service provider that prides itself on going above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service. We can make a suitable recommendation for your air conditioning needs, including the geothermal option.

In addition to our HVAC services, Golden Rule provides an extensive list of services for Des Moines homeowners, renters, and businesses to cover all their plumbing and electrical needs. We can help clear the plumbing and upgrade the electrical systems in your home to create a safe and comfortable living environment. We bring over 20 years of experience to every service call. If you need help with an air conditioning system repair or upgrade or with any other plumbing, electrical, or air conditioning needs, call Golden Rule today for reliable service.

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