What Are the Different Types of Air Conditioners?

If you are tired of the hot summers, you might be considering adding an air conditioner to your home or business. Or perhaps you’re tired of your old, inefficient and noisy air conditioner and are interested in replacing your air conditioning system.

At Major Heating and Cooling, we have experience with many types of air conditioners, and we can help you select the one that’s likely to give you the best results. Here are some of the most common types of air conditioners so you can understand your options.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioning is when you have one air conditioner for the entire home or office. In this setup, there’s a single unit that draws in air from the entire structure, cools it, then delivers the cooled air to the different spaces via ducts.

The amount of cool air delivered is controlled by a central thermostat, which can lead to problems if the thermostat is not mounted in a good location. Some places in the building may be significantly warmer or cooler than others, which can mean that there may not be a thermostat setting that will make everyone comfortable. Proper air conditioner installation of your system can avoid this problem.

Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners

ductless mini-split air conditioning systemThis approach to air conditioning truly separates the cooling parts of the unit from the waste heat by putting them on opposite sides of the wall. Unlike a wall air conditioner, which is a single unit sticking through a big hole in your wall, a ductless mini split separates the parts of the air conditioner to put the noisy parts outside and only have what’s necessary to cool your home on the inside. The two parts are connected by refrigeration lines that run through a small hole.

Separating the two parts and insulating between them makes these much more efficient. They can often provide the same level of cooling with 40% less energy usage than a traditional wall-mounted unit. They’re also much quieter than wall-mounted or window-mounted air conditioners. Wall-mounted air conditioners sound like having your window open to I-70 traffic, while a ductless mini split sounds like someone whispering quietly.

These are also sometimes called heat pumps because they can function as heaters by operating in the opposite direction.

Hybrid (Dual-Fuel) Air Conditioners

These air conditioners combine air cooling with air heating by including a gas-powered heater in the air conditioner. For someone who isn’t ready to invest in a heat pump, this is a way to combine heating and cooling in a single unit. They also give you the flexibility to use gas heat if electricity is more expensive in the winter.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps work like other heat pumps except that they use an underground heat reservoir to provide consistent, efficient cooling and heating.

Evaporative Coolers

residential evaporative coolerEvaporative coolers, often referred to as swamp coolers, aren’t exactly air conditioners, but they have a similar end effect: cooling your home. Evaporative coolers work by pulling in hot air from outside and passing it through a water-saturated cooling pad (an advanced sponge designed to let air flow through). As water evaporates from the pad, it cools the air, sometimes by as much as 40° F, and this cooled air enters the space.

These can be more efficient than some AC units, and some people like the introduction of fresh air and the humidifying effect on hot, dry Colorado days. However, if not properly maintained, they can get smelly, and they may not provide much relief on some of our muggiest days.

Window Air Conditioners

A window air conditioner is typically a small air conditioner installed in the window of a home or apartment. The unit typically serves just one room. Window air conditioners are also inefficient because the waste heat from the unit is right at the window, which is typically a relatively poor insulator. This allows some of the heat removed from the space to enter again. The air conditioner itself might also interfere with the insulating ability of the window.

Window air conditioners are also a potential security risk. If they’re not properly secured, people can remove them to gain access to your home.

Built-in Wall Air Conditioners

A built-in wall air conditioner is similar to a window air conditioner, except that it’s installed in a hole in the wall rather than in a window. This is a slightly better solution, because it puts a wall between the exhaust heat and the space you’re trying to cool. However, this requires a relatively large hole in the wall, and this hole reduces the insulating ability of the wall.

They can also be a security risk if the air conditioner isn’t adequately secured, though this isn’t an issue if they’re properly installed.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are small units that you can use to cool a space without installing air conditioning there. They’re typically on wheels, plug into your wall, and have a flexible duct that carries heated air to a window for venting outside. These aren’t very powerful, and they’re highly inefficient, but if you’re renting a place without air conditioning and your landlord won’t install it, this might be your only option.

Let Major Heating and Cooling Match You with the Best Air Conditioning

Since 1970, Major Heating and Air Conditioning has been helping homeowners and businesses find the right climate control solution for their needs. We have an A+ rating with the BBB, and we offer free estimates on new equipment. Our technicians have extensive training and experience – they are EPA, LEED, and NATE-certified.

We can help you find the best air conditioning solution for your needs and install it quickly and efficiently.

To talk to us about enjoying greater comfort this summer, please call or use our online form to schedule an estimate.

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