Like the winter, the summer can also be extremely hot, making staying in the home uncomfortable.
This calls for a system that keeps the home cool, and this is where air conditioning comes in.
Choosing the right AC for a home is a great decision that needs to be done carefully, as this determines the comfort of the home in hot and humid summer.
Today, air conditioning manufacturers are more efficient than ever before.
Hence, upgrading your air conditioning will help make your home cool and save you money for years.
The common challenge often faced is choosing the right AC.
This guide walks you through everything you need to know about air conditioning, so you can choose suitable air conditioning for your home.
What Is Central Air Conditioning?
Central air conditioning is perhaps the most common type of air conditioning, especially in the UK.
The system contains an external condenser unit and an evaporator coil.
While the external condenser is placed outside of the house to expel heat out of the home, the evaporator coil is placed above the furnace to cool the home.
The chilled air is distributed throughout the home with the furnace using the fan. Since a central heating conditioner works with the furnace, this helps purify the circulated air.
How Does Central Air Conditioning Work?
The furnace in the central air conditioning absorbs warm air from the outside into the inside of the house through the home’s ductwork.
The air is relatively hot and needs to be cooled down, and the evaporator coil takes it up from there.
The evaporated coil, which sits above the furnace, removes heat from the air and sends the heat into refrigerant running through the coil.
The condenser takes the heat and dispenses it outside of the house to cool the refrigerant again.
The refrigerant is then sent back inside the home again to continue its job. This process continues like this for the whole period the system runs.
What Are The Benefits Of Central Air Conditioning?
The system gets its name ‘central’ from how it can send chilled air to the whole house and not just some rooms. It’s regarded as a more cost-effective solution than ductless ACs.
You can invest in a smart thermostat so you can control your system from anywhere, meaning that you’re in control of your home’s temperature even when you’re away from home.
Types of Central Air Conditioners
Central air conditioners are classified into two: split systems or packaged units.
Split Central Air Conditioner: this system involves ductwork through which air is distributed.
A split system is more common than its counterpart and has an inside and an outside unit through which the refrigerant circulates to dispense heat.
The system works according to the settings on the thermostat.
When the temperature of the home is higher than what is pre-set, the thermostat sends a signal to the system to start running.
Once the air is collected from the outside and the heat has been removed and sent into the refrigerant, the furnace blower blows the air throughout the home.
Packaged Central Air Conditioners: in this system, there is no need for having an inside unit in the home and an outside unit inside of the house.
Rather, both components are packed into one and installed outside of the home.
The packaged unit is placed outside the home near the building. Hence, the system extract warm air from the house, brings it outside for cooling, and sends it back inside.
Since the split-system involves a furnace, homes with a furnace can save money by installing this system.
What Is A Ductless Split Air Conditioner?
Since not all homes have ductwork, a ductless split air conditioner is necessary. This system is more suitable for older homes that lack ductwork.
A ductless split air conditioner contains multiple indoor units, and each unit focuses on heating the room where it’s installed.
Common places to place the units (also known as heads) include the floor, the wall, and the ceiling.
This type of system allows occupants to set each unit according to the required temperature of each room, and not a general temperature for the whole home.
This means that the refrigerant runs to and from the indoor units and the outdoor unit. This is made possible by making a small hole in the home’s exterior wall.
Heat Pumps as Air Conditioners
Heat pumps are another type of air conditioning. A heat pump performs two functions, though: heating and cooling the home.
During the summer months, the system functions as a traditional air conditioner and acts as a heating system during the cold winter.
It’s worth mentioning that this system doesn’t require a furnace.
While a heat pump takes heat from the outside to the inside of the house for heating during the winter, it cools the home during the summer by evaporating heat out of the house during the hot summer.
Depending on the type, a heat pump extracts heat from different sources, such as water, ground, or air. It then sends the extracted heat to the coils that distribute it in the house.
Also, during the hot summer, the heat pump extracts heat fro the house and sends it to the outside unit, cooling the house.
Heat pumps are a common type of air conditioning system, especially in the UK.
The most common types are the ground-source heat pump that extracts heat from the ground and the air-source that extracts heat from the air.
The ground-source is more expensive than the air source.
Also, since installing a ground-source system requires the service of a professional installer, the upfront costs of a ground-source system soars higher.
However, the system is more efficient than an air-source system and has higher paybacks.
Heat Pumps As Air Conditioning: How Do They Work?
A heat pump has the same heating techniques as a traditional air conditioner.
The only significant difference is that a heat pump can be reversed to heat the home when it’s cold.
A central heat pump works with the same ductwork and a furnace fan to circulate chilled air in the house.
Like the compressor in a traditional air conditioner, the compressor in a heat pump moves the refrigerant to and from the outside and inside units.
Ductless Split Heat Pumps
This is suitable for homes lacking ductwork. The system contains two sections: the outdoor and the indoor units.
The outdoor unit comprises the compressor, the fan, and the condenser coil. The indoor unit is regarded as the head and is where the evaporator coil and a fan are located.
This system can also have multiple heads, with each head serving a room.
Each head is placed in a room where it serves, and the mounting position can be the ceiling, the floor, or the wall.
Tubing connects the outdoor and the indoor units to circulate the refrigerant. Each room can own remote control to regulate the air to its desired temperature.
The major advantage of split-ductless systems is higher energy-efficiency, as they save more energy than ducted systems.
However, the cost of installation is higher in a split ductless system than in a ducted system. This high cost is accredited to the high costs of the need to install a head for each room in the home.
Newer models are more aesthetically appealing than older models, but most homeowners don’t feel comfortable having a head in their décor.
Portable Air Conditioners
These are also known as mobile air conditioners. The system can be moved from one room to another, thanks to its portability.
The whole system is placed in the room where it serves.
Everything happens in the room but the system requires a vent kit to dispense heat from the air.
The kit usually comes with the system and doesn’t require an extra cost.
Portable air conditioning is not a common system for its noise. Homeowners don’t feel comfortable with the noise from the evaporator fan.
Since the whole unit works in the room, the evaporate fans make a lot of noise, which is truly displeasing.
Also, the aesthetical look that this system gives is not the best. Coupled with these disadvantages is that a portable air conditioner alters the function of the windows.
How Much Space Can A Portable AC Cool?
How much space a mobile air conditioning can cool depends on the model.
However, portable ACs are generally suitable for cooling a small space. The output capacities of most mobile ACs fall in the neighborhood of 11,000 to 14,000 BTU.
This is enough to cool a room of up to 700 square feet.
With this, mobile air conditioners are more suitable for dens, recreation, garages, and computer centers.
The system can be moved from one area to another, but the right position will depend on the length of the tubing connect the system and the window kit.
Window Air Conditioners
Another choice of air conditioners for those on the hunt for something portable is the window AC.
These ACs are fitted to the window frame of the home. The system cools the particular room in which it’s installed and the moisture water is sent outside of the house.
A window system takes warm air from inside the house and extracts the heat by running the air over an evaporator coil.
While it sends the heat outside of the house through the condenser coil, it blows the chilled air back into the room.
A window air conditioner is more suitable in older apartments.
Also, the system is easier to install in a few rooms and might not be an excellent choice where the whole house needs cooling.
Depending on the model, window ACs offer different cooling options and levels.
While some models only work at the desired level until occupants turn them off, newer models offer more suitable options.
With modern models, you can preset the system to a specific temperature level, so the system switches on and off to maintain the preset temperature.
What Air Conditioning Size Do I Need?
The system size you choose for your home is a great determinant of how comfortable you feel in your home during the summer.
While choosing a bigger system for your home might mean unnecessary spending, choosing a lower AC size will reduce the amount of comfort you get.
Hence, choosing the adequate AC size for your property is a crucial aspect of buying an AC.
This ensures you don’t spend unnecessarily on cooling and that your living space is comfortable.
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Air Conditioning Size
- How many rooms to cool
- Your home size
- Your type of window
- Your ceilings and walls insulation levels
- Effects of an oversized air conditioner
Though an oversized air conditioner will cool your home, it won’t remove humidity, which means your home will feel warm but not highly comfortable.
Effects of an Undersized Air Conditioner
Choosing an undersized system means the system won’t meet your cooling demands. This means that you don’t have your desired temperature.
Note: it’s quite important to hire a professional to perform an engineering analysis on your home before buying an air conditioner.
With this, he can come up with the right specifications to look for in the right AC for your property.
Should I Buy Or Rent A New Air Conditioner?
When looking to installing an air conditioner, you’re faced with two options: to buy or rent an AC.
While most homeowners prefer renting an air conditioner for its free-hassle experience, others prefer paying for their system at once.
Depending on your choice, either option can be a great option. Here’re a few insight to making your decision on whether to buy or rent an air conditioner:
While buying an air conditioner means the system belongs to you, the upfront cost is usually a big concern.
Though you still pay for maintenance and repairs, buying your ac gives you the option of buying a protection plan
Though this is also available for a rented AC, buying an AC lets you apply for available government incentives and grants.
You can enjoy promo benefits when buying your cooling system
Though you don’t pay a huge sum to have an AC, you pay regularly to keep the system to your home
Rental companies usually cover repair and maintenance costs, meaning that you don’t have to worry about these costs when you rent your AC.
You’re still eligible to available government mail-in rebates with a rented AC
You can decide to buy the system at any time you feel comfortable doing so
You have peace of mind when the system requires a repair since the rental company repairs it with the mind that it’s still their property and wants it to last longer.