If you live in a warm climate, then having an air conditioning system installed at home or work can keep heat and humidity levels in check, creating a more comfortable environment to be in.
Choosing the most appropriate air conditioning unit for your needs requires a lot of consideration. There are various types available and each one works better in different situations. One of the biggest factors to think about is the size of the area that you want to cool. Whether you want a unit to cool a small room, or an entire building, it is important to realise that different units serve different sizes of room. Buying a unit that is too small for the room size is not economical, as it will need to work harder to keep up with the demands of the room size. On the other hand, buying a unit that is surplus to requirements will not improve efficiency and the unit will not provide the optimum levels of cooling and humidity levels.
For cooling a single room area, the most widely used air conditioning unit is known as a window air conditioner. This type of air conditioning system is self-contained, so that all the components – the compressor, condenser, expansion coil, evaporator and cooling coil – are all housed in a single box. The unit is fitted either in a slot in the wall of a room, or most commonly, in a windowsill. It is used to cool a single room, so can be suitable for homes, small offices, workshops or a reception area of a building. It is easy to install, low maintenance, costs less than other systems and because it is portable, it can be removed if someone moves house or wants to put it away at the end of the season. On the other hand, a window air conditioner tends to be noisy and is not energy efficient. Many people do not like the idea of making holes in their walls so the most common option is having the unit placed in the window. This can, however, mean that the window is not usable and may even pose a security risk, if the window is not properly secured.
The second most common type of air conditioning system is known as a split air conditioner. This comprises an indoor and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is made up of the evaporator and cooling fan, and the outdoor unit contains the compressor, condenser and expansion valve. This system is used to cool bigger areas than the window air conditioner, usually one or two rooms. Unlike the window system, the split system requires significant installation and modification to a room. It does not need the use of a window, however, so is suitable for window-less areas. The system is not portable, so will suit homeowners rather than renters. You will need to ensure you have sufficient outside wall to house the external units. Fortunately, the inside units are fairly discrete and there is a good deal of flexibility in where they can be located, giving them wider aesthetic appeal in comparison to window units. Split systems require more initial investment, but are more efficient to operate than window units and do not make any noise.
Another type of air conditioning unit, albeit less common, is the evaporative unit or cooler. This type of unit uses water instead of a refrigerant to cool the air temperature and is a portable system that can be used in a single room. It is a good choice for anyone on a budget as it is cost and energy efficient, and can be moved or put away at the end of the summer season. Since it can be placed anywhere, it is also an option for those who do not have a windowsill and so are not in the position to get a window air conditioning system. The evaporative unit is easy to maintain but requires regular filling up of water to function. It works best in low humidity environments.
For those looking to control the climate throughout the whole home or building, then a central air conditioning unit is the best option. This comprises of a single large cooler and vents to distribute cool air to each room, or several coolers that connect to a single compressor unit. The main cooler needs to be placed in a large area, such as a basement, and there needs to be sufficient outdoor space for the compressor, so this unit is only ideal for big buildings. Installation is costly and requires significant modification to the building, so weigh up your options carefully before choosing this type of system.