If you want to replace your existing AC unit or add air conditioning to your home, you have several options. Central AC units and ductless ACs can be fantastic options depending on the space you want to cool. To help you determine what type of AC unit is the best choice for your home, here is an overview of the various options and the pros and cons of each type.
Central AC Units
If your home has an existing ductwork system, you can choose between a central AC unit or a heat pump. Heat pumps can be an especially great option as they can provide both cooling and heating. The only thing is that heat pumps are more expensive than most central AC units. This means that if your furnace isn’t that old and still functions effectively, you’re usually best to go with a central AC unit. If your furnace is nearing the end of its life, then a heat pump is worth considering, as it will be less expensive than installing a new furnace and a new AC unit.
Once you’ve decided between an AC unit and a heat pump, you must determine what kind of unit you want. Both ACs and heat pumps can be single-stage, two-stage, or variable-speed. A single-stage unit is always the least expensive option, but it will also use more energy than a two-stage or variable-speed unit.
Single-stage units always run at 100% power, whereas two-stage units have high and low power settings. Variable-speed units are even better as they will run at multiple capacities. A unit will use far less energy when not running at full capacity. It will also cool more slowly to better control your home’s humidity and prevent the temperature from fluctuating nearly as much. A two-stage or variable speed will typically run at low power and will only switch to run at 100% power on much hotter days or when the temperature in your home is much higher than the thermostat setting.
Two-stage and variable-speed units are more expensive than single-stage, but they will often be the cheaper long-term option since they use much less energy. Another advantage of these units is that they are much quieter since they rarely need to run at the highest power setting. Finally, they will also last longer because they are not continually running at full blast like a single-stage unit.
Ductless Mini-Split ACs
Ductless mini-split ACs are the best option for any building without ductwork. They’re also perfect for cooling rooms that aren’t connected to the duct system, such as a new addition, or for supplementing your existing cooling if you have a room or area that always stays much warmer in the summer.
Ductless ACs work like any other air conditioner by absorbing heat energy from your home and moving it outside. A ductless mini-split system consists of a small outdoor heat pump unit, which can be connected to one to eight indoor units. The indoor units are typically mounted on the wall and have their own thermostats. The only real difference between ductless and central air conditioning is that each of the indoor ductless air handlers circulates air in one room only instead of circulating air throughout the entire building. As such, you must have one air handler in each room or main living space if you want to cool your entire home with a ductless system.
A mini-split system is a fantastic choice if you’re currently using a portable or window air conditioner in one or more rooms. While a mini-split system will require a larger upfront investment, it can be well worth it as it will be far more effective at keeping you cool and also use much less energy. In fact, ductless mini-splits are by far the most energy-efficient cooling option available.
When opting for ductless air conditioning, you’ll need to decide whether you need a single-zone or multi-zone system. A single-zone system has only one air handler, which means it can only cool one room or space. This type of system can be perfect for ensuring your bedroom stays cool or for cooling a garage you turned into a workshop. Multi-zone systems are usually installed in homes without existing ductwork to provide whole-house cooling.
At Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., we have been serving the residents of East Peoria, IL since 1983. We install, maintain and repair heating and cooling systems. In addition, we provide indoor air quality and commercial HVAC services. Contact Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today if you want a consultation about what type of system makes the most sense for your household.