Choosing the Right Type of Air Conditioner for Your Home

The first time you need to shop for an air conditioning system, you may find yourself a little confused and overwhelmed. Because much of a home’s energy consumption and energy bills are related to air conditioning, choosing the right HVAC appliances for your home’s unique attributes is important. Here are a few key steps to take when learning which factors are essential when selecting an air conditioning system for your home.


Determine the Size of Air Conditioning System you Need, and Align it With Your Budget

Large purchases like HVAC appliances need to consider how much you can afford. Once you’ve decided what you are comfortable spending and determined the amount of space that needs to be cooled, you can then make an appropriate choice based on your budget.

Choosing an air conditioning system for your home involves various factors, the most crucial being the size of your house. A larger home will require a larger, more powerful AC unit, while a small condo might need far less.

Other factors to consider:

  • Your home’s age

  • The quantity, condition and size of the windows in your home

  • The amount of sun your house gets and which spots in the house receive the most sun or heat

Suppose your home has a large south-facing window, but another large area remains cool throughout the year. In that case, it may be worth considering a unit solely for the area near that window rather than paying for air conditioning throughout the entire house. Perhaps you have storage areas that go unused during the summer months. On the flip side, you may have converted an attic into living space and now need a way to cool that area.

Once you have a good idea of what areas of your home you need an air conditioner for, you can then match your requirements to your budget to choose the type of air conditioner you need.


Decide the Type of Air Conditioner Appropriate for Your Space

There are a variety of types of air conditioning systems available to choose from, each meeting different needs and at various price points. AC systems fall into five categories:

Window Air Conditioners
Window AC units are the cheapest air conditioning option available, typically priced between $150 and $300. This type is best for cooling a single room or small space. While these air conditioners must be installed inside a window, they can fit a wide range of window sizes.

Through Wall Air Conditioning Units
Through Wall AC units are very similar to Window AC units, except they are installed through a wall instead of a window. You’ll often find this style in condos or apartment buildings. Priced around $400-$700, this is an ideal option for people who want an affordable air conditioning system without losing the light and functionality of a window.

Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners are intended to cool a single area and are typically priced in the $250 to $500 range. The most significant advantage of a portable air conditioning unit is that it is on wheels, and 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, as they expel a great deal of hot air.

Ductless Air Conditioners
Typically priced between $700 and $2,500, a ductless air conditioning system includes an indoor and an outdoor unit. The outdoor unit powers the system and is mounted on the exterior wall, with a corresponding indoor wall-mounted unit. A ductless air conditioning unit is a great option for older homes that may not have ductwork, necessary for central air or rooms that don’t have a window. They also make a great addition to an existing system that isn’t keeping up.

Central Air Conditioners
Central AC units are usually a feature of newer homes, but they can be installed afterwards for around $1,000 to $3,500. These systems are complex and require professional installation. Your HVAC technician will help you determine the proper sizing based on the home’s square footage. The result is an AC system that keeps the entire house cool.


Look Into Additional Control Features

Some types of air conditioning systems offer controls to make operating your AC unit easier and more convenient. Features like smart thermostats help you program your system to cool your home to specific temperatures at particular times of the day. Many offer apps enabling you to control your heating and cooling remotely. These apps let you control the temperature and schedule from the convenience of your phone, and some will even recognize your return commute and have your home perfectly cooled upon arrival. Now that’s smart!

While it may seem daunting at first to choose an air conditioner, being informed can help you make the right choice. It all comes down to knowing what you need, how much you can afford and exploring the options suitable for your home. When you’re ready to purchase an air conditioning system, our experts can help you find the right cooling unit for your needs.

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