Summer is over and it’s time to switch off the A/C and crank up the heat. Still, it’s never too early to make sure your HVAC system is in working order. Making sure you have a solid A/C is an important part of this process. By purchasing an air conditioning system in the off-season, you can actually save money on unit and installation costs. Before you purchase, though, you should take a look at the different options available and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Window Air Conditioner
This is one of the most common types of A/C units because it’s a cheap solution that works well for small areas. However, window A/C units do have their disadvantages, and they’re certainly not the best choice for everybody. Window A/C units start at just over $100 for small, low-powered options. These A/C units work particularly well in small homes or apartments, or when you only need one room to stay cool all day. These units also have very low operating costs, making them a smart, low-budget choice. Conversely, you can find window air conditioners with as many as 12,000 BTUs, designed to control temperatures in a room as large as 500 square feet. No matter what size window A/C you opt for, make sure you find one with money-saving features, such as a thermostat, timer, and adjustable fan and cooling power.
If you want the benefits of a more powerful air conditioning system but don’t want to install a central unit, through-the-wall air conditioners are another option. Since these A/C units have to be installed in a hole in the wall, they seal out both cold and warm air which improves efficiency. While through-the-wall air conditioners will cost you a bit more than a window unit, you have a wider range of choices. Through-the-wall units generally start at about 7,000 BTUs and go all the way up to 14,000 BTUs. This gives you the power to cool rooms as large as 700 square feet. Of course, through-the-wall air conditioning isn’t an option if you live in an apartment or rent your home. Since these units remain in the wall for their lifetime, they are generally purchased and installed by the actual owner of the property.
Ductless Air Conditioning
Of all the popular trends in HVAC air conditioning units without ducts may be best. Instead of hooking up to ducts throughout your home to move air, ductless A/C units use a condenser and pump to deliver cold air. The benefits of these systems are the ease of installation, the lack of ductwork to maintain, and the energy efficiency. Ductless A/C units can have a SEER rating as high as 26. This makes them a great choice for anyone who’s looking for low-maintenance, low-cost air conditioning. If you get a ductless heat pump, your ductless system can provide both heat and A/C, which means you don’t have to worry about installing separate units. Unfortunately, ductless heat pumps are similar to central A/C units in that they cost thousands of dollars and aren’t as simple as popping a unit into a window.
Central Air Conditioning
If you want the most powerful, comprehensive cooling, central air conditioning is the way to go. These systems include ductwork in your home and a central A/C unit outside. Central A/C is great for cooling large, multi-room homes. It provides lots of cooling power and is delivered to each room individually. These systems can also provide heat. The downside to central A/C is the cost and installation. These systems are thousands of dollars and require professional installation. Still, it’s hard to beat the results.