Air Conditioner Buying Guide – Comfort at home is vital, and many people try to make their spaces as conducive as possible. You want to spend time in a space that is cool through the summer scorching heat and warm during the winter. Achieving a comfortable home free from humidity requires a good air conditioner unit.
About 75 percent of homes in the United States have an air conditioner installed, hence one of the most common electrical appliances. Like any other high investment, you should make the right choice when buying an air conditioner. This Air Conditioner Buying Guide will help you significantly when considering heater installation.
Types of Air Conditioners
Central Air Conditioner
A central AC is best for people with large homes who want to cool all the rooms simultaneously. This type of air conditioner uses a split system with ducts installed in your home to regulate air and is also known as a ducted system.
The indoor unit of this AC comprises an air handler and evaporator coils, while the outdoor packs in the compressor and condenser. You can use programmable thermostats with the central AC for a smart home experience.
Air circulates in all rooms connected to ducts in a central AC system, creating a regulated and cool environment throughout the house.
The downside of this type is that it consumes a lot of energy, resulting in high energy bills. Also, the unit becomes less efficient if a problem arises in the ducts.
Portable Air Conditioners
As the name suggests, portable AC is a free-standing unit you can carry from one place to another. They come as single units with all components enclosed. Every unit requires a power outlet and window access to exhaust the air from using its funnel.
This type of air conditioner works well if you want an AC temporarily. Portable ACs are smaller and accessible versions that you can use for bathrooms, kennels, or any other small space. A single-hose portable AC expels air from inside a room to outdoors, while dual-hose pulls air from outdoors through one hose and exhausts it outdoors through another.
Portable ACs are easy to set up and do not require permanent installation, hence can carry around in different parts of the house. It is also great for spot cooling and easy to store.
These ACs are ineffective in large rooms, can obstruct the window, and are noisy when in operation.
Window Air Conditioner
Window ACs come in various sizes and are perfect for cooling a small area or single room. A large air conditioner can serve a small single-storey or open space home. Like the portable AC, it is a single unit with all the components inside. It is installed at the window or by making a hole in the wall. While most of these units have controls, some come with a remote.
The window AC units are cost-effective as they are cheaper to purchase and operate. Installation of the window AC is simple and easy to maintain. Since the unit sits on the window, it occupies less floor space.
On the flip side, they can be noisy when operating, visible from the outside, and obstruct the view from the window.
Hybrid/ Dual Fuel Air Conditioner
This AC is a cost-effective option that combines a gas furnace with an electric heat pump for efficient output in terms of cooling and heating. A hybrid AC will switch between using electricity and burning fossil fuels depending on the temperatures outside.
You have the option to make a manual switch and can program the temperature at which the system changes from the furnace to the heat pump.
During summer, the heat pump pulls hot air inside the home and removes it outdoors. The process reverses during winter, and the heat is well distributed throughout your home. When the temperature is too cold for the efficient functioning of the heat pump, the furnace takes over.
The hybrid AC maximizes indoor comfort at the lowest cost and considerably lowers carbon footprint. It is, however, one of the most expensive systems to set up.
Geothermal heating and cooling AC is a relatively new method that utilizes insulating properties. Regardless of the weather, the land maintains a consistent temperature under 4 – 6 throughout the year. This technology uses this to its advantage and efficiently and effectively cool and heat your home.
Through its piping system that consists of a loop, the AC circulates water between your house, ground, and heat pump. Geothermal AC entails an intense set up underground.
This AC is highly efficient in energy use and has a longer lifespan compared to other cooling and heating equipment.
The downside is that the geothermal AC is location dependent as the loops are underground. Also, the cost of setting up this system can turn out relatively high.
Smart Air Conditioner
These ACs are similar to mini-split, portable, or window ACs, though IoT-enabled. The smart air conditioner has a native app that provides global control through a smartphone. Depending on the manufacturer, the smart AC offers much functionality like comfy mode, geofencing, weekly scheduling, and temperature range control, among others.
While these smart AC may cost you more to acquire than the regular units, they provide convenience and comfort through their many features. The units are also very energy efficient.
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best AC Type for Your Home
With the different types of AC in the market, deciding on the best air conditioner may present a challenge. So what are the factors to consider when looking for an air conditioner?
- Your budget is critical in determining the type of air conditioner you will get. Portable and window ACs are the cheapest options in the market, but they can cool only a room at a time.
- An AC with a high EER and SEER rating is great at keeping your running costs low. While they may cost more when purchasing, they are the most cost-effective option as they will save you a considerable amount in monthly bills.
- Ease of maintenance and your home space are other factors. Choose a system that will cool your space well; hence buy an AC that is enough for your home or office. A unit that is easy to maintain will save money, time, and unnecessary pain.
- Your AC cooling power is vital when looking for a cooling or heating unit. Consider the British Thermal Units (BTU). The higher the BTU, the higher the power unit’s heating or cooling ability.
Regardless of the type of AC unit, some factors to consider when choosing the best heating unit are budget, energy consumption, space, and cooling power. From the Air Conditioner Buying Guide above, you can choose the best AC for your and your family’s needs.