Bo Rogers has been in the heating and cooling industry for 21 years, starting in 2001 as a residential HVAC installer for Peachtree Service Experts in Atlanta, GA. Bo caught on quickly and after being promoted as a residential service technician he found his true calling as a residential comfort advisor, earning hundreds of satisfied customers and winning several Lennox & Amana Sales Awards. In 2016 Bo and his family moved to the Ashland area to be closer to family and he has spent the last 4 years as the area’s leading Comfort Advisor with Comfort Control. Bo’s personal mantra is to treat every customer like he would expect his family to be treated and he only recommends products and services a customer actually needs.
One of the things I love about living in Ohio is having four seasons. We get a taste of all possible weather patterns, from cool, dry autumns to crisp winters that turn over to bright green springs, which ultimately lead to hot and humid summers. The cycle of the seasons keeps us all on our toes as we try to stay cool when it’s hot and get warm when it’s cold.
The cycle of seasons in Ohio presents challenges and choices for your home’s comfort, especially in the summer. The muggy season is short, some may say, so perhaps it’s enough to plug in a window A/C unit and use it just when the heat becomes unbearable. Others watch the thermometer tick upward into the 80s and immediately flip the whole-house A/C unit on.
But what’s the most efficient cooling method for your home? If you’re in the middle of making some home comfort changes, here are some pros and cons to consider about your A/C options to help you determine which is the most efficient and effective way to keep your home comfortable.
Window Air Conditioning Units
Window A/C units are a great option for apartments without central air or managing the temperature in a single room in a larger home. They are by far the cheapest options, and because they are portable, they are a great choice for someone who is renting or someone who expects to move about a lot in the near future. Window A/C units have an average BTU range of 5,000-25,000 (a room needs approximately 20 BTUs per square foot for your A/C unit to operate efficiently).
New window A/C units are far more efficient than those that were manufactured just a decade ago and often come with a five-year warranty. If you’re still running an old window A/C unit, it could be costing you quite a bit more in electricity than if you replaced it with a newer, more efficient model.
Window A/C units need to be installed in single- or double-hung windows. Keep in mind that they are intended to cool single rooms, not entire houses, so if you want to control the temperature throughout your home, you will need to use multiple window A/C units. High ceilings, lots of windows and doors, and rooms with a lot of sun exposure can affect the efficiency of your window A/C unit. Each A/C unit you install takes up a window for the summer and brings with it the constant on and off hum of its compressors in every room.
Portable Air Conditioning Units
Similar to window A/C units, portable units provide the flexibility to cool individual rooms when central A/C options are unavailable. Because portable A/C units are freestanding, they are a good alternative if your home’s windows aren’t amenable to window A/C units. Portable units average 7,000-14,000 BTUs, which allows you to keep anywhere from 350-700 square feet of space cool and comfortable per unit.
These units are even easier to install than window units, and because they are on casters, you can easily move them from room to room or window to window with very little hassle.
On the downside, portable A/C units are the least efficient of the A/C units on the market. They tend to be far more expensive and deliver just half the cooling capacity they claim, according to Consumer Reports, so you get far less bang for your buck. Because of the portable A/C unit’s method of removing humidity from the air, they often have a reservoir that needs to be drained manually (like a dehumidifier). And just like window A/C units, these babies tend to be noisy.
Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioning Units
I’ve got to be honest, we’re a big fan of the ductless mini-split at Comfort Control. We took a close look at the mini-split option to help individuals decide whether this style of air conditioning unit is a good choice for their homes. Here’s a little more info to help you decide between these and other options.
First off, ductless mini-splits provide efficient and personalized cooling options for different areas of your home (or garage). Units average between 9,000 and 36,000 BTUs, providing comfort for spaces between 450 and 1,800 square feet. Because they are ductless, they allow you to cool spaces that are otherwise inaccessible to central cooling, either because your home is older or because of an addition that doesn’t have ductwork.
The units require an interior wall or ceiling mount and an exterior compressor. Because the compressor is outside, these units are far quieter than the window and portable A/C units described above. Some units are even more energy efficient than central air, and because they operate as a heat pump, many mini-splits can also be used to heat your space during Ohio’s cooler seasons.
Unlike the portable and window A/C units above, you’ll need a qualified professional to install ductless mini-split units, and because they require installation, they are not a logical option for those who are looking for temporary cooling. They do, however, add value to your home, so even if you’re unsure how long you’ll be staying in your residence, these may be a better investment in the long run.
Central Air Conditioning Units
Provided you already have ductwork in your home, central A/C units are the best and most efficient way to keep your entire house cool. They rely on the ductwork system shared by your home’s furnace to circulate cooled air to all of the rooms in your house with return and supply registers in every room.
With nearly all of its components installed outside of your home, central air is nearly silent and basically invisible indoors. They have the greatest BTU capacity of all of the options, ranging from 18,000 to 60,000 BTUs. Like the mini-splits, installing central air needs to be done by a trained professional, and its installation increases the value of your home.
On the downside, central air conditioning units require annual maintenance to make sure that they continue to operate well for many years. Comfort Control offers a preventative maintenance plan to make sure your A/C unit (and all other HVAC in your home) is working to its fullest potential. Central A/C units are often the most expensive upfront option, but replacing a central A/C unit is often cheaper than installing a new ductless mini-split.
What Size Air Conditioning Unit Is Right for My Home?
A lot comes down to BTUs and the square footage of your space. If you buy a system that is too small, it won’t keep up during the hot summer days. If you invest in a system that is too large, you risk running it on and off all of the time, which wears out its parts and decreases its efficiency, shortening its lifespan. Knowing the right sized unit for your home is half of the battle. The trained professionals here at Comfort Control can help you choose the right A/C unit for your home. Give us a call at (877) 650-4328 or schedule a visit online. Our aim is to help you choose the most efficient and effective cooling system that will also save you money in the long run.