As temperatures fluctuate outdoors, many homeowners seek to install cooling systems in their home that regulates temperatures and provides year-round comfort. An air conditioner is perfect for those who live in warmer climates and who wish to regulate humidity levels in their home.
There are various types of air conditioning systems whose primary function is to remove heat and regulate humidity levels in your home. When it comes to issues of efficiency, appearance and the ability to provide on-demand comfort, results vary widely. The following information is intended to give you an overview of the different options you have for air conditioning as well as the pros and cons of each system, including ease of installation and operation. Read on to select the perfect one that meets all your cooling needs.
Air Conditioning Options
When choosing an air conditioner that is perfect for your home, several factors must be considered, such as:
- Size of your home
- Desired temperature and humidity levels
- Cost of installation
- Cost of operation
- Energy efficiency and impact
Answering a few simple questions with regard to what your needs and desires are will often determine the right fit. The following systems are popular choices in residential and commercial properties.
A window-seated air conditioning unit is a very popular type of air conditioner that is designed to fit both single and double-hung windows. Most commonly found in apartments and small homes, they provide a powerful cooling boost to small living spaces. Small and relatively inexpensive, they are a perfect option for those who don’t require large volume cooling and have a limited budget. The window units of today are nearly 40% more efficient than those manufactured even a few years ago. Many come with warranties as long as five to 10 years, provided you perform required maintenance and upkeep intended to keep them performing at their peak.
A window unit can be installed by you, in many cases. In situations where windows are hard to reach or located high above ground level, assistance may be needed to secure the unit tightly in your window frame. Keep in mind that window units are not intended to cool entire homes; if you choose this method of cooling, you may need to purchase more than one unit to regulate the temperature in and around your home adequately. The typical cost of installation for a window AC unit ranges from $150 to $300, depending on the model you choose and the potential challenges that come with securing it in various types of windows.
Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners are similar to window units. However, they stand on the floor rather than being installed directly into the windows. Portable models draw in air, help to remove heat and humidity and vent cooler, drier air into your home. Excess heat and humidity are expelled through a long exhaust hose that is connected to a window. This may be a better option for you if you do not have the right kind of window to house a window unit or if you are unable to install an alternative type of air conditioner.
Portable units tend to be even easier to set up than window models. These units roll around on casters, enabling you to position them in different rooms for optimal cooling. Unfortunately, some of these portable models are reported to deliver only half the cooling capacity that many manufacturers claim. They are also more expensive than similarly sized window air conditioners, and many users cite excessive noise as they are running. Even so, the portable unit seems to be another do-it-yourself option if you have small spaces to cool.
Portable air conditioners range in price from $200 to $700, with the cost of installation and potential modification of your home additional factors to consider.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems
A ductless mini-split air conditioning system is an effective way to cool your home without adding expensive ductwork. A mini-split system is comprised of two components. An outdoor compressor, similar to the one sound in a central air conditioning system, takes in outdoor air and funnels it through an indoor evaporation coil that is mounted to either a wall or a ceiling. This kind of split system is ideal for cooling homes that aren’t equipped with ductwork or that cannot be modified. Some of these ductless models are able to achieve high-efficiency rankings, making them a great energy-efficient option for cooling.
A major advantage of split systems is their ability to cool individual rooms in your home while promoting maximum energy efficiency. Some models are able to also function as heat pumps, providing heat in the winter months. Ductless systems are more expensive to install than window or portable models, and you may need to take the room design into account, as indoor evaporator coil units will be visible in and around your home.
Installation of a ductless heating and cooling system can range anywhere from $2,000 to nearly $15,000, depending on the size of your home, the number of individual units for different rooms and your desired cooling capacity. Ductless mini-split systems should be installed only by a qualified professional to ensure that all components are in compliance with state and local regulations.
Central Air Conditioning System
A central air conditioning system is the most efficient and comprehensive way to regulate your home’s interior temperature. Cold air is conditioned and distributed through ductwork through a series of return and supply registers. Most components are located outside your home except for an air handler, which usually functions in combination with a furnace. For whole-house cooling, central air is one of the most efficient, albeit one of the most expensive, systems to install.
If you have existing ductwork, installing a new system is fairly simple, but it should still be left to a qualified professional to ensure that your system is in compliance with regulations. While the additional price of ductwork may be initially difficult to justify, this is a great long-term option for those looking to make an energy-efficient investment in their home.
Approximate costs to install central air in your home are as follows:
- With existing ductwork: $3000-$5000
- High efficiency systems: $10,000-$15,000
- Adding ductwork: $8000-$15,000
Methods of making installation easier and more efficient have driven prices down in recent years, and many homeowners are choosing to take advantage of the benefits of a central air conditioning system to cool their homes.
Answering the AC Call When You Need it Most
The Lee Thompson Co. has been answering the AC call in Houston and the surrounding area for several years. Our solid reputation, passion for quality service and superior maintenance and installation make us one of the preferred HVAC contractors in the area. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to address all of your heating and cooling needs, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ll help you find the perfect system, size and capacity to keep your home cool and comfortable year round. Contact us today for the best service around!