It’s hot, and getting hotter; meteorologists are predicting not just a hot summer this year, but hotter summers over the next few years. It will pay to invest in air conditioning for the coming years. But what air conditioners should you invest in, and what are their benefits and drawbacks? Here’s an overview of the three different types of air conditioners, and how they’re best used.
Window Air Conditioner
You’ll see these a lot in smaller homes and apartment buildings, which they were designed for. Generally, these systems cool air from the outside and blow it into the house, and are designed to cool one room.
Window air conditioners are probably the most flexible air conditioner; anywhere you’ve got a window and an outlet you can reach, you can set up a window air conditioner. They’re also fairly cheap to buy. However, they are extremely heavy, are difficult to permanently install, and aesthetically are less than pleasing, not to mention noisy. Also, they’ll burn a lot of electricity, especially in the warmer months, and on older electrical systems you may find yourself constantly flipping circuit breakers. They’re best for small homes and for supplementing a system that may not reach all the rooms.
Split Air Conditioner
A split air conditioner is, as you may have guessed, a divided system. The air conditioning unit that blows cold air is placed somewhere in your home, and a pipe is run from that unit to the exterior fan unit that brings in air from the outside. It’s a split in more ways than one: it also splits the difference between a permanent systems and a window air conditioner.
As such, it can be more effective than a window unit, especially since you can hang it on a wall or another location, and has the cooling power to cool two rooms instead of just one. It’s also a bit more attractive an unobtrusive than a window unit, and makes less noise. However, there are some trade-offs, not the least of which is that split systems cost substantially more than window units, and take longer to install and placement is more difficult. But if you need something stronger, but can’t install a permanent unit, a split unit may be the best choice.
Packaged Air Conditioner
This is the air conditioner you want if you’ve got a multi-room to cool. With a central outside unit pulling in air, cool air flows through vents to every room in your house. It’s by far the least obtrusive, and will be the most effective to cool an entire house.
However, it will require having vents installed in your walls, which if it’s a new install, can be a substantial and expensive job. The outside unit will be exposed to the elements and all the abuse that entails, so you’ll need to make regular checks to keep it in tip-top shape. But if you need to cool an entire house, this is definitely your best bet. End