How to Choose the Right Type of Air Conditioner for Your Home

If you’ve never shopped for HVAC appliances before, buying a new air conditioner can seem complicated, not to mention expensive! Since a significant portion of a home’s energy bill goes to air conditioning, it is essential to choose the right size and type of air conditioner based on the space in your home. Let’s go through a few steps to learn about the factors you should consider when choosing an air conditioner.


Consider Your Budget and the Size of Air Conditioner that You Need

As with any large purchase, much thought should go into the amount of money you can spend on an air conditioner. You can figure this out by looking closely at the space for which you need cooler air and examining your budget to figure out what you can afford.

Several factors go into choosing an air conditioning system, the biggest one being the size of your house. A larger home will require a larger AC unit, while a smaller home will not need something so heavy-duty.

There are other factors you should consider:

  • The age of your home

  • The number and size of your windows

  • The amount of sun your house gets and where in the house most of it is located

For example, if you have a large south-facing window but the basement remains cool throughout the year, it may be worth looking into a unit solely for the area near that window rather than paying for air conditioning throughout the entire house.

Once you have a rough idea of what areas you need an air conditioner for, you can compare it to your budget to choose the type of air conditioner you need.


Choose the Type of Air Conditioner that You Need

A wide variety of air conditioners are available on the market depending on your needs and budget. They fall into five categories:

Window Air Conditioners
Window AC units are the cheapest air conditioning option at $150 to $300 and are best for cooling a single room. They must be installed inside a window, but they can fit many window sizes.

Through Wall Air Conditioners
Through Wall AC units are very similar to Window AC units, except they are installed through a wall instead of a window. Priced around $400-$700, this option is best for people who want an inexpensive option without losing the light and functionality of a window.

Portable Air Conditioners
A portable AC unit is intended to cool a single area and is priced around $250 to $500. The big advantage of a portable unit is that you can move it between rooms depending on where you want the cool air. For example, this is an excellent option for people who may want air conditioning in living spaces during the day and the bedroom at night. Remember that portable air conditioners still require access to a window for venting.

Ductless Air Conditioners
Averaging between $700 and $2,500, a ductless air conditioner includes an indoor and an outdoor unit. The outdoor unit powers the system and is mounted on the exterior wall, while the corresponding indoor unit is mounted on a wall inside. A ductless AC unit is a great option for older homes that may not have ductwork for a central air conditioning system or rooms that don’t have a window.

Central Air Conditioners
Central AC units are often a feature of newer homes but can be installed for around $1,000 to $3,500. Professional installation is recommended because it is a more complex unit that requires ductwork and proper sizing based on the home’s square footage. The result is an AC system that adequately cools the entire house.


Look Into Additional Control Features

Depending on the type of air conditioner you decide to purchase, you may be able to spring for control options that will make it easier to operate your AC. Digital controls such as a smart thermostat make it easy to program your AC to cool your indoor spaces to precisely the temperature you want on a preset schedule. Some even allow you to operate the AC from your phone, saving you money if you forget to turn the AC off or turning it on if you know you’re going to be home early.

Choosing an air conditioner may seem daunting at first, but like most significant purchases, it boils down to knowing what you need, what you can spend, and looking at the possible options for your home. If you’re ready to purchase an air conditioner, our experts can help you find the right cooling system for your needs.

How To