Raise your hand if you are ready for the blazing heat of Southern California! Summer is here, which means heat is in the air and people are looking for optimum ways to enjoy the summer without breaking a sweat. Did you know that there are different types of air conditioners that may or may not suit your living space?
The air conditioner you have could ultimately determine how enjoyable you find life during the summer. So, what are the different types of air conditioners and how can you determine which air conditioner is ideal for you based on circumstances, budget, and needs? NIR Air Conditioning is all about bringing the heat while keeping things cool, and in this two-part blog, we are doing just that…just for you.
First, let us consider the different types of air conditioners, regardless of how cool they rank on the cool-kid spectrum. Then, in part two of this blog, we will consider which type of air conditioner is best for you, your family, and this summer heat. We will then also help you determine an affordable air conditioner service in the Inland Empire that can assist with your heating & air.
Like everything else in the world, there are different types of air conditioners for different preferences and necessities!
If you maintain an office space, this type of air conditioner is probably most appropriate. The air conditioner is installed within the ceiling (and sometimes even suspended from it) and is attached to the air pipes that run throughout the building. The main advantage of ceiling air conditioners is aesthetics and power. They are usually modern in design because they don’t protrude from a wall or floor the way many other types of air conditioners unavoidably and obviously do. The only things that protrude from the ceiling air conditioner are the 4 outlet louvers. These units have a more expensive appearance as a result of the inconspicuous design (and are therefore more expensive, but that is the price that is paid to have a sleek office space, right).
Of all the different types of air conditioners, central air conditioning is the most common type of cooling system for a residential property as a result of its efficient cooling abilities. Installing a central air conditioning system requires a lot of planning and preparation because sizing is crucial to the functionality of the system, but we will discuss the sizing in more detail in the second part of this blog.
A central air conditioner combines the evaporator, condenser, and compressor in a single unit that is placed on a roof or a concrete slab near the home’s foundation. From the unit, ducts running through the exterior wall or roof draw air from inside the house and return cooled air indoors. This type of air conditioner can also be combined with a set of heating coils or a natural gas furnace inside the building.
DUCTLESS SPLIT-WALL OR DUCTLESS MINI-SPLIT
Designed for spaces lacking ducts, these energy-efficient air conditioning units attach to the wall and connect to an outdoor compressor through a hole in the wall. First things first: What are ducts? Air ducts are conduits used in HVAC systems to deliver or remove heated or cooled air to different rooms and return the same amount of air back to the HVAC system. For this reason, ductless split-wall air conditioning systems can consist of multiple air cooling units connected to the same compressor, so they can cool multiple rooms in your home at once. This type of air conditioner is affordable in comparison to other cooling systems and offers a variety of advantages…but we will discuss pricing and potential benefits in more detail in the second part of this blog.
EVAPORATIVE COOLER OR “SWAMP” COOLER
Evaporative coolers utilize water evaporation to lower room temperatures. Because these types of air conditioners expel moisture into a room, they’re better suited for more humid environments. One thing to keep in mind is that these units consume quite a bit of water — we are talking between 4 and 10 gallons of water each hour. This makes them not-so-ideal for all households. Like portable air conditioners, evaporative coolers must have access to fresh air through a window and their water reservoirs will need to be manually refilled when empty…let us hope you are up for some manual labor if you opt for this unit.
Floor mounted air conditioner units are quite similar to wall-mounted air conditioners (which we will consider further into this article) with the primary difference being that these units are mounted on the floor instead of to the wall…go figure! This type of air conditioner is energy efficient, yet we see their use decreasing. This might be a result of their bulky size and obtrusive appearance.
HEAT PUMPS – GEOTHERMAL, AIR SOURCE, & HYBRIDS
A heat pump is a type of split system that utilizes the functions of both heating and cooling in the home. Geothermal air conditioning is part of this category. As a newer method of heating and cooling, geothermal air conditioning is sustainable, energy-efficient, and has a long lifespan. Falling under the category of heat pumps, geothermal heat pulls the heat from or puts the heat back into the earth in order to cool and heat your home. Since the ground temperature below us remains a fairly consistent 55 degrees no matter how hot or cold it is in the atmosphere, this method of heating & cooling is able to extract the heat from below and transfer it into your home. A geothermal coil (also referred to as geothermal loops or wells) is installed deep below the ground so heat is extracted from the earth during the winter and heat is extracted from your home and distributed back into the ground during the summer.
Outside of geothermal technology, the other type of heat pump is an air source heat pump where the heat is pulled from the outdoors and into your home or released from your home into the outdoors. Air source heat pumps achieve the goal of heat and cool no matter what the weather is.
When it comes to hybrid heat pump systems, the pump systems alternate between burning fossil fuels and using electricity to run. The system intelligently chooses between the two energy sources in order to save money and energy. In the summer, your heat pump works as it normally does, pulling heat from your home and distributing it outdoors. In the winter, your hybrid heat pump system works in reverse, pulling heat from the outside environment and distributing it into your home.
PACKAGE TERMINAL OR PTACS
A Package Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs) is the type of air conditioning system that is generally used to heat or cool a single room. This is why they are commonly found in commercial spaces such as hotels, hospitals, apartment buildings, and senior or assisted living facilities. Regarding hotels, these units are often installed just above the floor and usually just below a window. The part you don’t see is that on the other side of the wall where the exhaust system is sending warm air outside of the building. Although they are often used in commercial settings, PTACs are also a viable option as a home air conditioning system. PTAC systems are ductless, which also makes installation significantly less expensive than some other air systems. Of course, more benefits to installing a PTAC air conditioning system will be highlighted in part two of this super cool discussion.
These units are self-contained and freestanding on the floor so they are designed to cool a single space and can be moved from room to room. However, these must vent through an exhaust hose out a window. Portable air conditioners come with exhaust systems and only use an outlet to power on so they are easy to install or remove and won’t damage your home. These units are ideal for windows of a nonstandard size or for buildings where window units are prohibited. This type of air conditioning unit takes in air from the room and cools it, then directs it back into the room. The unit then vents any warm air outside by means of an exhaust hose that is installed in a window. These are easy to install, versatile, and affordable. You’ll find that the portability of your air conditioner makes staying cool on a hot summer day that much easier.
THROUGH-THE-WALL OR WALL-MOUNTED
Designed for use in rooms without windows, these units are installed permanently in an exterior wall and cool a single room with a cool-air fan facing in. While they tend to be more expensive than other air conditioners, they have higher cooling capacities than typical window units. Because of their permanence, some of these appliances can double as heating units in the colder months.
Think of a window air conditioner as a compact unit, cooling only one particular room. This style mounts in a standard window frame with a cool-air fan facing inward. Designed to cool a single room, window units are ideal for bedrooms and small living spaces. All of the components are enclosed in a single box with a single thermostat gauge that is fitted in a slot made in the wall or window sill where the unit sits. They cool a room by emitting the warm air out the back of it and blowing cool air into it. Installation is temporary and won’t damage your window, but because these units are meant to fit snug in the window, they do obstruct that window’s view. This air conditioner type is easy to install, as most plug into standard wall outlets.
Now that we are aware of the different types of air conditioner units that are cooling down Southern California and the rest of the world, we can say that some of these air systems require complicated, technical installation and that hiring a professional is recommended. If you are unsure about which type of air conditioner is best for you and what are the most affordable air conditioner options in the market, our next blog will discuss those points.
In the meantime, if you are in Southern California and need an air conditioner unit installed, or have general A/C questions for your living space or room, contact NIR today. We offer air conditioning and heating services in the Inland Empire and Redlands and our services include air conditioning, heating, ventilation, tune-ups and repairs, free estimates, and more!