When it comes to air conditioning, you have a wide range of options. Some will work far more effectively and provide a number of advantages. As such, it’s essential that you carefully consider the choices you have for cooling your home. This blog will explain the pros and cons of the various types of air conditioners to help you decide which option will work best for your residence.

Window Air Conditioners

Window ACs can come in handy if your home doesn’t have a central air conditioning system. However, in hot, humid places like Rockport, window ACs generally don’t produce enough cool air to keep your home as cool as you want. These units are also not all that efficient, and you’d usually need one in every room to keep your home sufficiently cool on hot or humid days. Their inefficiency is mainly due to the difficulty of creating a good seal around an AC unit in a widow. Another issue is that window ACs tend to be quite noisy, interfering with your ability to get a good night’s sleep, and can be annoying during the daytime.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

A ductless mini-split AC system is a great solution if your home doesn’t have central air and you currently rely on window ACs. Even if you have central AC, a mini-split is great for providing supplementary cooling. They will keep spaces like a renovated basement or garage cool without the need to buy a larger central air conditioner and extend your forced air system.

A ductless mini-split system consists of an AC condenser located outside, which is connected to anywhere from one to eight indoor units known as heads or air handlers. In this type of system, each air handler cools the area where it is located. If you have a system with multiple air handlers, you can turn each one on and off independently and also set each one to whatever temperature you wish. This means you will enjoy the benefits of a zoned cooling system. For instance, each family member can control the temperature in their room. You will also be able to turn off the cooling in spaces like guest rooms when no one is visiting to save on cooling costs.

One major advantage of ductless mini-splits is that most systems are extremely efficient. In fact, mini-splits are usually the most efficient AC option available. The primary reason mini-splits are more efficient than central AC systems is that central systems usually waste energy due to air leaks in the ductwork. The cool air produced by a central AC system also typically heats up a bit as it travels through the ducts in crawl spaces and attics, which decreases the effectiveness and, thus, the system’s efficiency.

Another great thing about mini-splits is that they typically last a long time. Most central AC systems last around 15 years, while window and portable ACs usually only last eight to 10 years. A mini-split system, on the other hand, will usually last about 20 years.

Single-Stage Central Air Conditioners

A single-stage AC is the most basic type of central air conditioning unit. This type of AC will almost always be the cheapest option to install but also the least efficient and most expensive to operate.

A single-stage AC system always runs at its full capacity and usually performs two to three cooling cycles per hour, each lasting around 10 to 15 minutes. An AC running at full capacity is like when you accelerate to get up to speed on the on-ramp to a highway. It gets you going fast but consumes a lot of gas. A single-stage AC will rapidly cool your home, but it uses copious amounts of electricity to do so. The frequent cycling of these units at full capacity also causes wear and tear on homeowner’s cooling systems and results in shorter lifetimes than other types of ACs.

Two-Stage Central Air Conditioners

As the name suggests, two-stage air conditioners have two power settings or speeds instead of just one. This means a two-stage system will either run at full capacity or at around 60%-65% power. Running on lower power allows the system to use much less energy and operate more quietly.

When this type of system first turns on, it will always start running on lower power. The thermostat will then only signal it to switch to full power if the home is much hotter than it should be or if it runs for more than 10 to 15 minutes without the temperature in the home reaching the set point on the thermostat.

Whenever the system runs on the lower setting, each cooling cycle will last longer than when it runs on full power. Despite the longer run times, it will still use much less energy overall. Another advantage is that the system will generally always run long enough to fully cool every part of the home so that you don’t end up with hot spots. Running for longer also allows the system to remove much more moisture from the air in a home to help prevent issues with high humidity.

Variable-Speed Central Air Conditioners

A variable-speed central AC will always be your most expensive option but also the most efficient one. Instead of merely having one or two settings, variable-speed ACs can have many settings that they automatically switch between based on how hot the home is and how much cooling is needed. Not only does a variable-speed AC adjust the amount of energy it uses as needed, but it also works alongside a variable-speed blower that adjusts how much air moves through the system to speed up or slow down the rate of cooling.

During the hotter parts of the year, a variable-speed AC system will often run almost constantly. The only time it will generally turn off is when it is already running as slowly as possible and the temperature continues to decrease below the thermostat setting. Even though it may run constantly, it will still cost far less to operate overall since it can slow down to where it only uses around 25% of the energy it would when running at full capacity. Running constantly also makes it even better than a two-stage system at keeping every part of the home consistently cool and the air much less humid. They also tend to have longer lifespans than other types of air conditioners.

Heat Pumps

As with standard ACs, a heat pump can be single-stage, two-stage, or variable-speed. These units work just as efficiently and effectively and have the same benefits and drawbacks as the same type of standard AC. The main advantage of a heat pump is that thanks to its reversing valve, it allows you to heat and cool your home.

Sigwald Service Co. has been providing expert home comfort services in the Rockport area since 1980. We carry a wide selection of mini-splits, central ACs, and heat pumps. We can also help if you need HVAC installation, repairs, or maintenance. If you’re planning on installing air conditioning in your home, contact us today, and let us help you choose the best option.

company icon