What are your AC options?

We’ve got the pros and cons you need to know about all of them.

If you’re considering buying or installing an AC unit or system, our guide can help you make the best decision for your home and cooling needs.

Window AC units

These are the most seen items of AC equipment designed to fit in windows. They are normally installed in apartments that lack a central AC unit or single rooms in larger homes.

Pros

  • Window air conditioners are smaller than most kinds of AC units, making them portable and easy to install without a professional.
  • They are also generally the cheapest option if you’re worried about budget constraints.
  • Models made today are up to 30% more efficient than those manufactured just a decade ago, and many come with warranties up to 5 years long.

Cons

  • Window AC units are not built to cool an entire home, so you will need a unit in each room to stay comfortable (even if you live in an apartment).
  • Each unit takes up an entire window, obstructing your view of outside, and they can make a lot of noise in each room.
  • Installing or removing a larger window unit can be difficult and awkward.
  • Factor that may impair the efficiency of the unit include high ceilings, multiple windows and doors in one room, high sun exposure, or rooms on higher floors.

Portable AC units

Like window units, portable systems sit on the floor instead of being placed in the window. Like most AC units, it draws in hotter, humid air and vents cool, dry air back into your home. The hot air vents through an exhaust hose in the window. This option can be effective if you can’t fit window units in your windows, or if you’re unable to lift and install a heavier window unit.

Pros

  • Even easier to set up than window units and they typically roll on casters to they are easy to move and position.
  • The exhaust hose in the window does not obstruct views and you can temporarily remove the hose if you want to open the window in nicer weather.

Cons

  • According to Consumer Reports, portable air conditioners typically deliver only half the cooling capacity they claim, meaning you might still be hot and sweaty even if the unit is working nonstop.
  • More expensive and have higher operating costs than similarly sized window units because they are less efficient.
  • Most portable units have water reservoirs to remove humidity from the air, but they generally need to be manually emptied.
  • They can also make a lot of noise!

Ductless mini-split AC systems

These systems are designed to cool smaller homes or add-ons where ductwork isn’t, or cannot be installed. A ductless mini-split has two main components. There is an outdoor compressor, like a central AC unit, and an indoor evaporator coil and air handling unit mounted to a wall or the ceiling. A conduit travels through a small hole in the wall connecting the two units. Some ductless models achieve higher efficiency ratings than any other type of AC system!

Pros

  • Provide the flexibility to cool individual parts of your home with smaller, energy efficient units.
  • It is as close as you can get to a central AC system without tearing up your house to install ductwork.
  • Since they are also a type of heat pump, they can provide additional home heating in the winter!
  • Operate as quietly as a ceiling fan, since the louder compressor is outside your home. With no need to obstruct a window, it provides access to windows and increased security.

Cons

  • Generally, they are more expensive than window or portable units.
  • You need to hire a professional for installation, as a three-inch hole needs to be drilled into the wall to link the components.
  • Because the unit is mounted on a wall or the ceiling, you need to take interior design into account.

Central air conditioning systems

These are the most comprehensive way to cool your home. As you may know, the system distributes cold air through ductwork in each room. All components are outside, except for the air handler, which is generally shared with the furnace. If you have ductwork in place and want to cool your entire home, this is the most popular system.

Pros

  • The most efficient way to keep your home cool in the summer, these systems lower energy bills and provide better indoor comfort.
  • Since all the components are outside, the system keeps you cool while remaining virtually invisible and silent.
  • If your home has ductwork, the installation is straightforward for a trained professional, and it is a strong investment that adds value to your home.

Cons

  • Require annual maintenance to remain in peak condition and may come with higher upfront costs (especially if you need to install ductwork).
  • If you’re replacing an existing unit, however, a central AC system may be cheaper than a new ductless mini-split system.
  • When installing a central AC system, you need to consider the size of the unit you will need. An undersized unit may not cool your home effectively, and an oversized unit can short cycle, which wears out parts and does not work efficiently.

Whatever AC option you choose, the Hoffman Energy team is just a phone call away. Our AC technicians can help you make right choice of cooling system for your home and handle all your installation needs. Call us today for more information!