If you are building a new home or replacing the air conditioner in your current home, you may be trying to choose between several different types of air conditioners. Each type of air conditioner is designed for a specific use case. Here is a comparison of four of the most common types of residential air conditioners to help you choose the best option for your home.

Window and Wall-Mounted Air Conditioners

The first two options that most people will consider for cooling single rooms, apartments, and very small homes are window air conditioners and wall-mounted air conditioners. Window air conditioners are the most common type of small air conditioner because they offer an excellent balance of affordability, efficiency, and easy installation.

Wall-mounted air conditioners are typically much more complicated to install than window units. You must avoid wiring and pipes in the wall where you are installing the unit, while also taking care not to damage any studs that could compromise the structural integrity of your home.

With the additional installation complications, wall-mounted air conditioners may not seem to have any advantages over window units. However, wall-mounted air conditioners are more energy-efficient than window air conditioners because there is a much tighter seal around their edges. You can also find wall-mounted air conditioners in larger sizes than windows units.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are the simplest and most versatile air conditioners you can buy. Like window and wall units, they consist of a single box that houses all of the components of the air conditioner. However, they also have one or two hoses that run out of a nearby window to cycle hot air outside and return cool air to the room.

Because they are less efficient than window or wall air conditioners, portable units should be considered a last resort for whole-home cooling. However, they are a good option for cooling rooms where a window or wall unit cannot be installed. You can also move them from room to cool only the room you are occupying without spending energy to cool the rest of your home.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioners are made up of two parts: indoor evaporator coils that are located above the furnace and an outdoor condenser unit. When you use your central air conditioner, cooled refrigerant is delivered through tubing from the outdoor condenser to the evaporator coils above your furnace. The blower motor in your furnace blows air across the coils and into your home's ductwork. This heats up the refrigerant in the evaporator coils, which is then cycled back to the condenser and re-cooled.

Central air conditioners are the most economical choice for larger homes with existing ductwork. Central air conditioners can last 15 to 20 years if they are properly maintained. They are also increasing in efficiency every year, with modern central air conditioners being 30 percent or more efficient than systems manufactured before 2006.

Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioners

Like central air conditioners, mini-split ductless air conditioners consist of an outdoor condenser and indoor air handlers and evaporator coils. However, ductless systems may have multiple indoor units with one installed in each room that needs to be cooled. Hoses are run directly from each indoor unit to the outdoor condenser, meaning that these systems can be installed in homes without existing ductwork.

Ductless air conditioners are highly efficient because each indoor unit can be turned on or off individually, allowing you to cool your entire home, a few rooms, or only the room you are currently in.

The right air conditioning system for you will depend on the size of your home and your specific cooling needs. Use these tips when you are shopping for your next air conditioner so you can find the best one to suit your needs. Click here for more information about air conditioning services in your area.