Choosing the Right AC System: A Comprehensive Air Conditioning Guide to Cooling Your Home

When it comes to staying cool during the hot summer months, having the proper air conditioning (AC) system is essential. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is best suited for your home.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore:

Happy mother and son at home using a smart thermostat

Understanding different types of AC systems

The first step in determining what AC system is best for you is understanding the benefits of each system and its most common applications.

Central air conditioning

Central air conditioning systems are among the most common choices for whole-home cooling. These systems utilize ducts to distribute cooled air throughout the house, providing consistent temperatures in every room.

Central AC distributes cool air evenly and efficiently for large spaces, such as large homes or commercial buildings, but it typically requires professional installation and ductwork. While this often means more upfront costs, the longevity it provides means you’ll likely have to spend less on maintenance and repairs down the road.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps offer a flexible alternative to traditional central AC. Ductless versions, also known as ductless mini splits, consist of an outdoor unit connected to one or more indoor units, which provides targeted cooling to specific areas or zones within the home.

Heat pumps also come in ducted versions, which are great options for those who already have duct systems within their home or want to control their house’s temperature with a central device, such as a thermostat.

Heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency, zoning capabilities, and ease of installation. While the cost per indoor unit can be higher than other options, heat pumps may save you money over time.

Window units

Window AC units are self-contained systems that are mounted directly onto windows. While they are relatively affordable and easy to install, window units are best suited for cooling individual rooms or small spaces.

They may obstruct window views, require maintenance, and tend to be louder than central or ductless systems, which can be a consideration for noise-sensitive individuals. However, they’re likely the best option for those renting small apartments without AC.

Factors to consider when choosing an AC system

Before deciding which AC system is best for your space, consider a few important factors.

  • Size and layout of your space: Consider the square footage, layout, and number of rooms in your living space to make sure your new system can cool the whole space.
  • Energy efficiency: Look for AC systems with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings, indicating greater energy efficiency and potential savings on utility bills.
  • Climate considerations: Consider the climate conditions in your region, including temperature and humidity levels. Specific AC systems may be better suited for hot and humid climates, while others are more efficient in milder environments.
  • Noise level: Evaluate the noise output of your space and other AC systems to find one that will allow you to maintain a peaceful environment.

Pricing and budget

Balancing upfront costs with long-term savings is key when choosing an AC system. Costs can include the initial investment, ongoing maintenance, and repair expenses. Before selecting a device or system, check to see if you’re eligible for savings or rebates.

If you’re an Oregon resident, you may be eligible for a rebate on a heat pump installation. Federal tax credits are also available to those who add energy-efficient devices to their home. It’s also important to check if you qualify for other savings based on your location, as savings can even depend on county or zip code.

Assessing your home needs and preferences

While factors such as the size of your space may help determine what type of AC is best for you, there are other factors to consider.

Temperature control

If you have enough space and want precise control over the temperature of certain rooms or times of the day, consider programmable thermostats. You can make sure certain areas are the ideal temperature by adjusting your thermostat’s schedule to cool areas as you occupy them. Programmable thermostats can also reduce energy consumption by adjusting the temperature when you’re away or sleeping, which may lead to significant savings.

Air quality

Air quality can impact those with allergies or respiratory conditions, so looking for AC systems with built-in air filtration and purification features may be vital to maintaining clean and healthy indoor air. If you have central air, air purification systems are also an excellent option for improving air quality. To receive the best air quality, we recommend discussing options with your HVAC company before installing a new AC unit.

Consult with HVAC professionals

Seeking professional advice from HVAC experts is important in selecting the right AC system for your home. HVAC professionals can assess your specific needs, recommend suitable options, and provide valuable insights into installation, maintenance, and energy efficiency. When you search for HVAC professionals, look for those with a strong reputation backed up with positive reviews.

During consultations, be sure to discuss your cooling requirements, budget constraints, and any concerns or preferences you may have. Ask questions about system performance, warranty coverage, and available incentives or rebates to make an informed decision.

If you’re ready to begin exploring AC options, our Comfort Heating and Cooling experts are prepared to help you find the perfect solution for your home or business. Give us a call at 503-679-9276 or contact us today for a free consultation.