What is the Best Type of Air Conditioner for You?

Maintaining a comfortable temperature is essential in Edmonton where we experience extreme weather during the summer and winter months. Every home has a furnace or heating system that keeps us warm in the winter, but not every home comes equipped with air conditioning to keep us cool in the summer.

Are you thinking about getting an air conditioner or upgrading your existing one without going all out and installing a central system? We outline the different types of air conditioners and the advantages and disadvantages that go along with each one so you can decide which one is best for you.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner

Ductless air conditioners are made up of an outside compressor/condenser unit, inside blower units, and the tubing and power cables that connect them.

Instead of transferring air from outside to the inside of a home, ductless air conditioners use a refrigerant to cool the air and blowers inside the home to circulate the cool air. These conditioners have a sleek design and are relatively quiet when in use.

Pros

  • The indoor blowers are small and less noticeable than portable air conditioners.
  • If you have several blowers installed in your home, you can choose to only use AC in the rooms you spend time in.
  • Since they are ductless, the cooled air doesn’t warm up as it travels through ducts, which reduces energy costs.
  • Compared to other systems, they are easier to install.
  • You have many options of how to install them in your home. You can mount them on walls or ceilings, have them installed flush with the ceiling or hang them from ceilings. There are also floor-standing models you can get.
  • They’re small but mighty. One unit is enough to cool your entire home if you place it on the top floor.
  • Your ductless air conditioner can last up to 20 years.

Cons

  • Ductless mini-split air conditioners are less efficient than central systems. And they cost twice as much to operate than window air conditioners.
  • A unit that is too large or too small for the space it’s in can be more expensive to run.
  • These air conditioners need to be cleaned regularly, especially the outdoor parts.
  • Some units have charcoal filters that need to be dusted and exposed to sunlight for 8 hours every 6 months to function properly.

Package Terminal Air Conditioner

Package Terminal Air Conditioning units (PTACs) are an all-in-one heating and cooling unit. If you’ve been in a hotel, you probably noticed a PTAC on an exterior wall in your room that helped you maintain the perfect temperature. They are also commonly used in dorms, high-rise apartments, retirement homes, and offices.

PTACs cool down the air in a room by using compressor pumps to fill their inner coils with refrigerant fluid. The cold coils attract heat and humidity, which is then pumped outside. A well maintained and properly serviced PTAC unit can last up to 10 years. Click here for some maintenance tips for your PTAC.

Pros

  • PTACs are commercial-grade and are very durable.
  • They can be used for heating and cooling.
  • You can have several PTACs in a building and control them all from one place or individually.
  • No vents or additional units are required, so installation is quick and easy.

Cons

  • You will need to cut a large hole in an exterior wall to accommodate a PTAC.
  • Exterior grille and external sleeve must also be purchased but are sold separately.
  • They are more expensive than window air conditioners.

Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are the stand-up kind that you can move around from room to room, depending on which area needs cooling. They are a popular choice when people run to the store in the middle of a heat wave because installation is so simple. Portable AC is also preferable to merely running fans or taking constant cold showers when window AC units aren’t allowed and central AC isn’t installed, like in many rental homes and apartments.

Pros

  • You can haul them around from room to room, which is more efficient than cooling rooms you’re not using.
  • Portable air conditioners are the easiest to install. You don’t need to follow any codes or get any permits. All you need is a hose that vents outside and a power source.
  • Some are lightweight and can be moved around from room to room by any family member.
  • They are easy to store when not in use. Just put them in a closet or under a bed.

Cons

  • Portable air conditioners are less efficient than window air conditioners.
  • Some units can be quite heavy and moving them around on carpet can be difficult.
  • Many models require constant draining, sometimes as often as every 30 minutes, because they pull moisture from the air.
  • Initial purchase price can range from $400-$1000. Check out some of the portable AC models Home Depot has to get an idea.
  • They are often noisier than other types of air conditioners.

Window Air Conditioner

Currently the least expensive to run, lightest, easiest to install, and most energy efficient option is the classic window air conditioner. As is suggested by their name, window air conditioners are installed on a window ledge and they are ideal for cooling one or two rooms, which is great if you live in an apartment.

Pros

  • Not only are window air conditioners cheaper to purchase, they are also easy to install. The average person can do it his or herself.
  • Window air conditioners use about a third of the energy to run than a central air conditioning unit.
  • Little maintenance is required for these small units. Regularly cleaning the air filter and occasionally deep cleaning the entire unit is all it takes to keep it running smoothly.

Cons

  • If you only have one window, you might now want an air conditioner blocking it.
  • While window air conditioners are effective at cooling one or two rooms, they won’t be sufficient for an entire house.
  • Water can sometimes drip from the unit, which may be a concern depending on what’s below.
  • Even the modern versions can be unsightly.

Which Air Conditioner is Right for You?

Deciding which of these types of air conditioners is right for you depends on your needs. You’ll need to consider your budget, how many rooms you need to cool, whether you want your air conditioner to have heating and cooling capabilities, aesthetic appeal, and how easy you want installation to be.

Which air conditioner appeals the most to you? Let us know in the comments below. 

At Kingstree Plumbing, we are air conditioning and ventilation experts. Give us a call when you need help installing or servicing your air conditioner in Sherwood Park, St Albert, and adjoining cities.St Albert AC Services in Alberta

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