We’ve waxed poetic about the stifling temperatures we experience on this side of the Sonoran Desert; if you’ve lived in the Surprise or surrounding areas for any length of time you know exactly how hot it can get inside a home without any air conditioning. It’s easy to see why the vast majority of homeowners have some sort of AC system to keep them cool. For those tired of strategically setting their fans and hiding in their basements during the hot months, it may be time to invest in one for yourself! To help you decide which of the many options to choose, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide.
Types of Systems
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a handle on the most popular systems available on the market today.
- Central Air Conditioner. The most well-known of AC systems, these use ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout your entire home. Installation must be performed by a professional, as the system is relatively complex.
- Mini Split Air Conditioner. Unlike central air conditioning, mini-split systems are ductless and sometimes referred to as ductless zoning. They utilize an indoor and an outdoor unit to cool one room. Alternatively, indoor units can be linked to provide cold air to multiple spaces.
- Portable Air Conditioner. These mobile units can be moved to wherever needs cooling. They can only cover one room at a time. Keep in mind with these that many portable air conditioners also require a window to vent out the hot air.
- Window/Wall Air Conditioner. Inserted into either a window or a wall, this type of air conditioner cools a single room and is designed for a relatively simple installation.
Assess Your Budget
Examine your budget from two different perspectives: upfront cost and operating costs. Installation costs for a comprehensive system like central air conditioning will be much higher than a portable air conditioner, but over time you may end up saving money in utility bills. Whatever system you choose should meet your cooling needs without completely reforming your energy budget. In the same way, energy-efficient models can come with a bigger price tag while promising hundreds in savings over the length of its lifespan. That being said, that doesn’t mean the most expensive model will be the best choice. Once you’ve set a budget, there are other factors to consider.
Determine Spatial Requirements
When it comes to air conditioners, bigger isn’t always better. In fact, a unit too large for your home can be a huge waste of money. It can exponentially increase humidity, waste energy by constantly having to cycle between on and off, and actually decrease the lifespan of the unit. Having one too small is also problematic. It will constantly be on in an attempt to cool the whole home, likely leaving warm spots wherever it cannot reach. You want to find the Goldilocks of air conditioners, and a professional technician is just the person to help you find that perfect size. To be more specific, central air conditioning and mini-split systems will require a professional to measure. You can determine the size requirements of windowless and portable units yourself. Simply find out the square footage of the room by multiplying the length by the width. Once you have this number, you can use the below cheat sheet to find out how many BTUs your unit will need.
Considering Your Needs
You want a cool home, but that’s not the only consideration when deciding on an air conditioner.
- Do you want to cool the whole house, or only select rooms?
- Can the structure of your home support ducts?
- How much noise from the system are you okay with?
- Is portability important to you?
- How much do you want to curb your energy consumption?
- How visible do you want your AC system to be?
- Do you rent or own your home?
Use this information as a starting point to narrow down your options. Don’t be afraid to research and find out other people’s experiences with different units. For expert advice, our team can help guide you and answer all your burning AC questions. Send us a message or give us a call at 623-432-5202 today!