When you're tired of fighting the heat, it's time to install an air conditioner. Unfortunately, installing a central air system can be prohibitively expensive when your home does not have existing air ducts. Central air systems rely on these air ducts to move cool air around your home. Thankfully, there are a few options for air conditioners available to you that don't require existing ducts in your home. To help you decide which of these options would best suit your cooling needs, here's some information about how the different types of air conditioners compare.
Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners are freestanding self-contained units that are used to cool down a single room in your home. They produce hot air that needs to be vented to the outside. Most portable air conditioners come with a window installation kit that allows you to vent the hot air out of a nearby window by channeling it through a flexible aluminum hose.
While portable air conditioners are inexpensive and do a fair job of cooling down a single room, they are typically not very energy-efficient. The reason behind this is due to the venting – when air from inside your home is vented to the outside, it creates a slight pressure differential that forces hot outside air into your home through your doors and windows. Your portable air conditioner can end up making the other rooms in your home slightly hotter, and it's constantly working against all the incoming hot air from the outside caused by the pressure differential.
Window Air Conditioners
Window air conditioners are another type of self-contained air conditioning unit that are installed in a window in your home. They avoid the inefficiency problems experienced by portable air conditioners by taking air from the outside instead of the inside of your home, so they don't create as large of a pressure differential. The hot air they produce is immediately vented to the outside where the unit is located. Window air conditioners are therefore more efficient than portable air conditioners.
Unfortunately, window air conditioners are only capable of cooling a single room. In addition, many homeowners worry about burglars seeing a window air conditioner installed in a home and deciding to use it as an avenue to break in – window air conditioners can often be removed from the outside with a little work.
Ductless Air Conditioners
A ductless multi-split air conditioner is the closest equivalent to a central air system. Multiple air handlers are installed inside your home and are connected to an outside condenser unit via conduits. These conduits supply refrigerant and power to each air handler. The number of air handlers your condenser can support depends on its size – larger condensers can often handle four air handlers, allowing four rooms in your home to be kept at a comfortable temperature.
If you don't have air ducts in your home, installing a ductless air conditioner is the best option for cooling down multiple rooms. You'll need to hire an air conditioner installation professional to size the air conditioner, install the air handlers and run the conduits through your walls.
Overall, the best choice for you depends on your budget and how many rooms you need to cool down. If you just need to keep a single room cool, such as a bedroom, then a portable air conditioner or window air conditioner will suffice. If you need multiple rooms to be kept cool and comfortable, installing a ductless air conditioner is likely your best option. Although it's more expensive to install, a ductless air conditioner is more energy-efficient than installing multiple self-contained air conditioners. If you decide a ductless air conditioner is the right choice for you, call an air conditioning installation professional, such as at Environmental Contractors, to have one installed in your home.