Home Improvement

Comparing Different Home A/C Unit Options

When it comes to home air conditioning units the average consumer has a lot of options at their disposal. A lot of information online exists online but very few articles directly compare the most popular options side-by-side. This article will help guide consumers about the most popular options for new air conditioning units as well as their pros and cons.

Indoor/Outdoor Ducted Units

This is by far the most popular choice for most home & business owners. Ducted AC units work by combining a central A/C unit with an outdoor unit that pushes forced air through a series of “ducts” which can then be temperature controlled via a temperature gauge. Here’s a picture from inside a Chipotle showing exposed Ductwork:

These systems have been used all over the world and especially across North America for many years. Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons:

Pros
– Powerful
– Reliable
– Easy to use

Cons
– High energy costs
– Difficult to maintain clean ductwork
– High startup costs

Ductless Mini Split Systems

Ductless systems are similar to ducted a/c systems with one big difference, no ductwork! This can be a huge advantage if you’re installing an a/c system in a structure that doesn’t have existing ductwork. Being able to forgo the addition and concealment of ductwork can be a huge money-saving factor. Ductless systems utilize an outdoor unit and which push forced air to a series of inverters installed throughout a home. These inverters can then be controlled (usually via remote control) to adjust fan speed, temperature, and more. Here’s a picture showing how a ductless mini split system works:

These systems are popular across Europe and Latin America. Here’s some pros and cons of ductless systems:

Pros
– Energy Efficient
– Zone controlled (the ability to have different temperatures in different rooms)
– Easy to use
– Lower startup and energy costs than ducted systems

Cons
– Setup for large buildings can be complex
– Parts usually need to be sourced online

Portable A/C Systems

Portable a/c systems have become more popular in recent years for their sheer simplicity of use and setup. All you need to do in order to set up a portable a/c system is simply put the portable system in a room, point it towards the largest area that needs cooling/heating and turn it on. These systems are generally only used in situations where it’s not cost-effective to put a central ducted or ductless system and are typically used as alternatives to a window unit. Here’s a portable a/c unit example:

Pros
– Low cost to buy
– Very easy to set up, simply plugin and turn on

Cons
– Typically louder than other systems
– Not energy efficient
– Does not do a great job of cooling or heating a large space

Window A/C Systems

Window units have been a staple of lower-end apartments/homes for many years and can be seen in almost any major metropolitan area. Window units are also very easy to install and setup like portable a/c units, however, they are only functional when fixed into a window opening. Here’s an example of a window unit:

Pros
– Low cost to buy
– Setup is also easy
– Typically are more efficient and provide better airflow than portable units

Cons
– Window becomes unusable
– Unsightly design
Can be dangerous if not placed well

As you can see there are a variety of different A/C options to choose based on your need and budget.

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