Which Air Conditioner should I choose for my home?
What exactly is an Air Conditioner?
In its simplest form, an air conditioner transfers heat and humidity from the home outside, while cooling and circulating the inside air to provide a comfortable environment.
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Types of Air Conditioners
There are three basic types of home air conditioners that are typically used in Canada. There are “central” or “split” air conditioning systems that are built into the home, combined with a “forced air” heating system. There are ductless or “mini-split” air conditioners typically used in homes that do not have furnace ductwork, such as those equipped with a boiler or baseboard electric heat. And then there are “room air conditioners” that typically fit into a window opening. These are inexpensive, but they can be noisy, inefficient and provide uneven cooling.
If you are having air conditioning installed in a home that doesn’t currently have it, it is important to know the alternatives.
- Split system - The actual air conditioner, or “condensing unit,” is located outside the home, typically on a concrete pad/patio stone, or mounted on brackets to the wall of the house. Temperature is typically controlled by a dual-purpose heating/cooling thermostat. Programmable thermostats that allow the homeowner to pre-set the air conditioning to cool the home when people are active in the home and let it warm when the house is vacant can help reduce cooling costs.
- Mini-Split Systems - Like the split system, the mini-split has an outdoor condensing unit that removes heat from refrigerant coming back through refrigerant lines and sends cooled refrigerant back into the home. However, the indoor unit is self-contained with its own fan to distribute the cooled air. The indoor unit is typically attached to the ceiling or high on a wall and is often controlled with a remote.
- Hi-Velocity Systems - These compact units, which often combine heating and air conditioning, fit into a small space like a closet or an attic and use small diameter pressurized ducts that can easily fit within conventional wall framing to circulate cooled air throughout the home.
- Packaged Units - These “single-packaged units” consist of all the components of a split air conditioning system in one unit. They generally mount through the wall or roof and, like the split system, move the cooled air through the home via sheet metal ducts.
Learn more and locate a qualified contractor to service your air conditioners by going to the Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Contractor Locator page, or calling 1-877-467-HRAI (4724). All HRAI member contractors have been pre-screened and have the required trade licences, technical certifications and insurance coverage to service on your system.
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