The Different Types of Air Conditioning and How they Perform

The summers are getting hotter and more humid, making it harder on our air conditioners to keep our living spaces cool.  That means more of us having to replace our old ones when they’ve expired or upgrading them to keep up with the demand.  Luckily there are a lot of good choices out there for different needs and budgets.  It can be hard for the average Joe to pick the best one out there, and for good reason, so we’ve made a brief guide to give you the rundown on the pros and cons for each.

Types of air conditioning

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.

Let’s begin with the biggest types of air conditioning: HVAC units.

HVAC Systems

This used to be the gold standard for all cooling and heating needs, before new technology arrived on the market.  It is still a great deal for both value and coverage, but it isn’t perfect.

It uses a ventilation system that is typically ran through a home’s attic.  Because of this setup, HVAC systems can provide quick and drastic temperature changes to the house in every room at the same time.  For a brand new system, it will cost about $5,000 for a mid-sized home of about 2,000 square feet.  This can be out of reach for an emergency solution for most people, especially compared to other air conditioning units on our list. 

Another drawback worth noting is that HVAC systems do not offer much in the way of individual control for each room in the house.  Adjusting vents manually is both aggravating and inconsistent for rooms that lay under trees, for example.

Window Units

These are common solutions for people up north who don’t need an air conditioning system running most of the year or have a small apartment.  Window units start at just a few hundred dollars, with more powerful units costing about 1/4th of an HVAC system.  You also don’t need to hire a professional to install it for you, cutting the cost even more. 

Some obvious cons of window units include the lack of equal distribution of air that is afforded with other systems.  Window units take longer to heat up the entirety of the rooms they’re installed in, because the cold air is moving from one end to the other.  Window units may not be good choices for medium-to-large homes, but they’re ideal for bedrooms and small apartments.

Portable types of air conditioning

These units share some similarities with window units, as they still need an open window for ventilation.  They are portable in the sense that they can be readily detached and taken with you or relocated further inside the house.  They are also just as affordable as window units, but not quite the same value in regards to BTUs.  It takes multiple portable AC units to effectively cool a typical living room and two bedroom home.  They are also not as easy to repair or maintain as standard window units.

Ductless Air Conditioning and Heating

More commonly utilized in parts of Asia and Europe, these systems are starting to catch on more in America.  It’s a great low-profile cooling and heating solution, requiring a simple inverter box that can be installed on the wall, floor, or ceiling, which runs tubing and electrical wiring to an external compressor.  Because there is no ductwork on the standard mini-split system, you can control the temperature in each individual room.  This makes for a highly efficient and cost-saving way of cooling or heating the home.  Although, it is worth mentioning that this system is much more expensive than a window unit, and even some HVAC installations

Ductless systems have to be installed by a professional, which you should try your best to find a well-qualified contractor to take care of. 

You need someone who is certified and licensed to do work on your home.  Torreys Peak Mechanical: has industry experts who can recommend the best air conditioner for your home or business.  They will go through all the options with you, measuring out the cost-benefit analysis, so you get the best value for your money and your overall comfort.  Don’t wait until you’re desperate for cool air until you make a new purchase, you might end up regretting it. Contact an HVAC contractor near me them today.