What Types of Air Conditioners Are Available? | If you need a new air conditioning, whether, in a residential or commercial environment, you might consider all options.
With that in mind, the following are some things to know about the different types of units typically used.
Central Air Conditioners
In the U.S. central air conditioning tends to be most common. Central air is in around 75% of residential properties and in new homes, around 90% have it. Today’s central units tend to be more energy-efficient than ever before, so you can stay comfortable at a lower cost.
With that being said, if you’re installing a new central air conditioner or replacing an existing one, it’s going to be expensive.
A split system is the most common type of central AC. It features a condenser outside, which has an interior fan-and-coil system. Some pipes carry refrigerant. The air goes through ductwork. Not all homes will have the necessary ductwork, so there are also split ductless systems.
Split ductless systems have an outside compressor and condenser, and then they have indoor blower units, known as air handlers. These are mounted up on the wall and they distribute air.
Each air handler maintains cooling in the room where it’s installed. The temperature is set by remote control.
A through-the-wall air conditioner is a self-contained unit that provides rapid cooling. These are like window units, but the difference is they’re installed through an exterior wall. They use a wall sleeve for support.
To install this type of system, you have to ensure that you use the right kind of wall. There can’t be any plumbing or electrical structures where you plan to cut the hole.
The unit has to be vented, meaning an exterior wall is required.
These units are relatively efficient, especially if you’re cooling a smaller area.
Many models will have additional modes, including heat. If you have a wall AC with supplemental heat, it may utilize a heat pump or electric heat.
A through-wall unit doesn’t have venting on either side of the housing.
A Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner or PTAC is a commercial-grade unit that you might find in offices, hotels or assisted living facilities.
A PTAC heating and cooling system is usually installed through an external wall. You’ll often find them directly above the floor and below a window.
These units can also be used in some residential spaces, despite being more commonly found in the hospitality industry and commercial buildings.
They can heat or cool a space of almost any size, and the majority of brands let you control different units from a single location.
Window Air Conditioners
Although a window air conditioner could technically be used in some commercial or office spaces, it’s probably not the best option. These are inexpensive and cheap to operate, but they’re not well-suited to cooling large spaces.
A window unit has all the components within it. It blows heat on the outdoor side, and the indoor side blows cool air.
Along with the fact that they don’t always work well for a large space, window air conditioners can also be noisy, and you can see them from the outside. Not all windows will hold one either.
A portable air conditioner is in some ways like a window air conditioner, but it does take up floor space, which might not be preferable.
All the components are enclosed inside, similar to a window unit, but they are free-standing, and you can move them from room to room if you need to. You just need a power outlet and you can get it up and running, plus you’ll need window access so you can run the exhaust funnel out of it.
Sometimes a portable system is used as a temporary option.
They are loud, and it’s tough to cool a large space.
Geothermal Air Conditioning
Finally, a geothermal heating and cooling unit is new technology that utilizes the properties of the earth. The temperature anywhere from four to six feet underground is consistent no matter the weather, and geothermal technology uses this for efficiency in how a space is heated and cooled.
With a geothermal system, there’s piping that circulates water between your home or office, a heat pump, and the ground.
This requires a lot of work to set up but is very efficient and has a long lifespan.
The setup cost is high, however, which could be a deterrent for some.