Types of Air Conditioning Systems Explained

types of air conditioning systems

With so many different types of air conditioners to choose from, it can be hard to determine which of the air conditioning systems types will best suit your residential air conditioning needs. To choose the right one for your home, you will have to consider your area's climate, how cool you wish your home to get, the number of square feet that needs to be covered, and how you want your system to operate.

To help you choose one of the air conditioning types for homes that will provide you with the comfort you are looking for, read on to learn about the types of air conditioning systems most often used for residential air conditioning. Or, if you are ready to choose the system to cool your home, contact Superior Home Supplies today to check out our available options.

The difference between forced and central air

One of the first things to understand when learning about the air conditioning types for homes is the difference between a forced air system and a central AC system. A forced air system is a type of HVAC system that will move air through ductwork and vents, such as a furnace or a heat pump. A central air conditioning system is only used for cooling and is a system that is a closed loop of refrigerated air. This cool air is delivered to the home through the same ductwork the furnace or heat pump uses.

What are the different types of air conditioning systems ?

There are various air conditioning systems types to choose from to meet your cooling needs. Most often, homeowners need to consider the size of the area being cooled, the energy efficiency they are looking for, and the type of climate they live in. These factors will all come into play when finding the perfect residential air conditioning system.

Central air conditioners

Central air conditioners are the most common type of residential air conditioning found in newer homes. These cooling systems are designed to provide cool air to the entire house through a series of ductwork and registers. Central air conditioning is one of the types of air conditioning systems that also helps cool the air by dehumidifying the incoming air, improving air comfort. When it comes to central air conditioners, there are two primary types: split systems and packaged systems.

  • Split-system: Split-system central air conditioners will contain an outdoor unit or condenser unit and an indoor unit that contains evaporator coils. These systems are the central AC type most often used in residential air conditioning and are ideal if you already have a furnace.
  • Packaged: A packaged unit will contain the compressor, condenser, and evaporator all in one cabinet that will often be located on a roof or a slab next to the foundation. These systems also include heating. They are most often found in commercial settings.

Ductless mini split air conditioners

Air conditioning systems types that are growing in popularity are ductless mini-split systems. These systems are ideal for home add-ons or new builds as they do not require any ductwork to deliver the cooled air in your home. These types of air conditioning systems will contain an outdoor unit connected via line sets to one or more indoor air handlers that deliver cooled air in the rooms in your home. They are easy to install, energy-efficient, and can improve indoor air quality.

Heat pumps

Another one of the air conditioning types for residential air conditioning is heat pumps. These systems are also growing in popularity due to their energy efficiency and ability to provide heating and cooling for your home. Heat pumps rely on a heat exchange principle, drawing warm air out of the outdoor air or ground and transferring it into your home in the winter. For cooling, this process is reversed, and the warm air in your home is transferred outside. Heat pumps can be air-source, water-source, or geothermal and work best in areas with a temperate climate.

The benefits of a connected HVAC system

While understanding the air conditioning types for homes is essential, so is knowing about the benefits of a connected HVAC system. Connected systems are by far one of the most common types of cooling systems found in homes. They provide significant advantages over portable air conditioners and window air conditioners. These types of air conditioning systems offer the convenience of being controlled by one thermostat, along with several other benefits, such as:

Energy bill savings

You can save money with a connected HVAC system. A connected system consumes less energy by maintaining a consistent temperature in the home. Less energy translates into lower utility bills and money savings each year.

Improved air quality

Air quality is also enhanced with a connected system. The system is not only designed to provide conditioned air, which will be filtered through the system, but also to improve indoor air quality and reduce common asthma and allergy triggers in the home.

Consistent temperatures

Another great thing with these air conditioning types for homes is that you will enjoy a more consistent temperature. There is no need to turn the system on and off when you need it, simply set the temperature, and the system will trigger on and off as needed to achieve that temperature.

air conditioning types for homes

The difference between a heat pump and a furnace

When researching types of air conditioning systems, you will want to consider the difference between a heat pump and a furnace if you don’t currently have a heat source. Heat pumps are a great form of residential air conditioning that also doubles as a heat source. It transfers heat from the inside and outside air through refrigerant lines depending on the season. These systems are extremely energy efficient but not as effective in areas with extreme temperatures. A furnace is only a heat source but can be more efficient than a heat pump in areas with extreme cold. Furnaces are most often the heating component of a split HVAC system when you are looking to provide both heating and cooling for your home.

Which units are recommended for residential air conditioning ?

When sorting through the various air conditioning systems types, it is essential to consider top brands and their models. If you are looking for a top-rated system for your residential air conditioning needs, below are two top models from the biggest brands in HVAC.

Goodman 16 SEER 3.5 TON Complete Split UPFLOW AC System With NEW 9 SPEED Furnace

If you are looking for an efficient system designed to cool your whole house, the Goodman 16 SEER Complete Split System is one of the best on the market. The system is designed to offer both heating and cooling, allowing you to maintain comfort throughout the entire year. The system uses tried and true technology of Goodman that has kept them a leader in the industry for decades. The system boasts 80,000 BTUs and 96% AFUE, making it highly efficient and ample for most size homes.

Carrier Infinity 26

Another excellent air conditioner from one of the leaders in HVAC is the Carrier 26. The system boasts a quiet operation, a variable speed compressor, and excellent humidity control, providing homeowners with a cool home when temperatures rise. The system is designed to work with a Wi-Fi thermostat and can be used for zoning.

When can you install residential AC on your own?

Most types of air conditioning systems can be installed DIY if you have some HVAC and electrical knowledge. While some, such as ductless systems, are easier than others, installing your air conditioning system yourself does come with some benefits, such as:

  • Lower overall costs
  • The ability to choose the product and components you want
  • The ability to set up your system to your specifications

When do you need professional AC installation?

No matter what air conditioning systems types you choose, in some cases, it can be more cost-effective and prudent to have your system professionally installed. Some of the benefits of choosing an HVAC pro to install your residential air conditioning include:

  • It can save you money: Even though the cost of installation can be expensive, your HVAC professional can ensure that the system is installed to optimize efficiency.
  • It may protect your warranty: Most residential air conditioning systems will have some kind of warranty. When you choose a professional to install it, they can ensure that it is installed correctly so that the warranty is not negated.
  • You will have the right system: An HVAC professional will help you find the right size system for your home. The wrong-sized system can reduce efficiency and make your energy bills higher.

Advantages of adding residential air conditioning to your home

No matter what types of air conditioning systems you are considering, adding residential air conditioning to your home can have many benefits. With residential air conditioning, you will:

  • Enjoy greater comfort: Residential air conditioning allows you to enjoy more comfortable temperatures and humidity levels during summer.
  • Benefit from improved IAQ: An air conditioning system can filter out contaminants, improving your home's air quality.
  • Have better energy use: You may actually save on your energy use by choosing a residential air conditioning system instead of running fans and window ac units throughout the day.
  • Have a better resale value: Adding an air conditioning system to your home can help to improve its resale value.
Residential Air Conditioning

Disadvantages of Installing Residential Air Conditioning

There are some drawbacks to the different types of air conditioning systems, especially if they are not well maintained. Some of the cons of installing residential air conditioning include the following:

  • It can be a potential health hazard: If your system is not properly maintained, it can lead to bacteria and dust contaminating the air, weakening the immune system, and increasing asthma and allergy symptoms.
  • It may cause dizziness: For some people, dizziness can occur when exposed to air conditioning as they may be sensitive to the altered air it produces.
  • It may increase energy consumption: If you don’t run fans or portable air conditioning regularly, adding it to your home will increase your overall energy use and costs.
  • It can cause dry skin: Air conditioning systems that constantly run can lead to dry and irritated skin in sensitive people.
  • It may increase global warming: Since air conditioners use a lot of energy to work, they can contribute to global warming as most of our electricity is produced using fossil fuels.
  • It requires regular maintenance: An air conditioning system will require regular maintenance to ensure efficient operation.

Air conditioning and your health

While the various types of air conditioning systems can provide comfort in your home, they can also have effects on your health, both positive and negative. When deciding on the air conditioning types for your home, you will want to consider both the pros and cons to your health that air conditioning can bring.

Health pros

  • A reduction in problems associated with heat stroke: When you are cooler, you avoid heat-related issues, such as heat stroke.
  • Improved heart function: Staying cool when the temperatures rise can help you maintain a steady heart rate which can lead to overall improved function of the heart,
  • Reduced asthma and allergy symptoms: Air conditioning systems are designed to filter out contaminants and allergens from the air. They also lower humidity levels, making the air easier to breathe.
  • Decreased agitation and aggression: When you’re hot, it is easy to become aggravated and distressed. Staying cool can help you avoid emotional states associated with overheating.

Health cons

  • Bacteria spread: If the filter on your system is not regularly changed and your system is not maintained, bacteria can get into the ductwork and spread through the home.
  • Mold growth: If your system is not kept clean and the drain becomes clogged, water can build up, leading to mold growth.
  • Air conditioning sickness: Some people are sensitive to the changes in the air that comes with air conditioning and can develop air conditioning sickness, which can lead to dizziness and nausea.

Replacing your AC without replacing the furnace

An air conditioning unit is often replaced or installed at the same time as a new furnace, but that is not always the case. If your systems were installed years apart, or you have decided to add air conditioning to your HVAC system, you likely will be replacing that alone. Determining whether or not it is in your best interest to replace your furnace when you replace your air conditioner will depend on the condition of your system, its age, and what type of model it is. In general, you may want to consider replacing your furnace along with your air conditioner if:

Your furnace is more than ten years old:

Furnaces are designed to last around 15 years but can start losing their efficiency around the 10 to 12-year mark. If you pair a newer, more efficient AC unit with an older, less efficient furnace, the mismatch could lead to a reduced lifespan for the new air conditioning unit and lower overall efficiency of your HVAC system.

The new system is not compatible with your current furnace

Your furnace and air conditioner will share an air handler and other components to help them work together. When two systems are incompatible, they will have to work harder and become less efficient. Ideally, both systems should be from the same manufacturing company.

Your furnace requires frequent repairs

Furnace repairs can be expensive, and the older your system gets, the more frequent and costly those repairs usually become. If you have been having your furnace repaired more and more frequently and are investing money in a new air conditioning system, it may be an excellent time to purchase a new one. Both systems will then be under warranty and designed to last about the same length of time. You also may find situations when it is not ideal to replace your furnace at the same time you are replacing your air conditioning system. It may be wise to wait on the purchase of a new furnace if:

Your furnace is only a few years old

Your furnace may still be under warranty if it is less than a few years old. Even if it is not still covered, it is unlikely to need any major replacements or repairs in the near future as long as it is well-maintained.

The cost would negatively affect your budget

Another reason it may be beneficial to wait to buy a new furnace is if your budget is already stretched. Installing a new furnace will likely help lower your overall energy bills, but if paying for it might strain your budget, it may be wise to wait until you have the money to invest in a new system.

Find the perfect air conditioning systems types for your home at Superior Home Supplies

Still not sure which types of air conditioning systems will best suit your home’s needs? The professionals at Superior Home Supplies are here to help you find the right system at the right price for your budget. We offer a wide variety of air conditioning types for homes from the top brands in the industry. Enjoy a comfortable home all year round. Contact us today to find your new air conditioning system.

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