Summer is almost upon us, and the temperatures are creeping higher and staying there longer. A nation of sweaty people are beginning to make sure their home cooling systems are up to par. If you’re looking to improve your efficiency, effectiveness, or environmental impact, you might want to stay up-to-date on the trends in home cooling. We’ll start with the two most popular, window units and central air.
The Window Unit. For many, many people, the hum of a window-mounted AC unit is the sound of summer. The units are attached to a window sill, sealed around (usually with an extendable grate and insulation strips), and blow cool air in while pumping warm air out.
- Pros: These units are far and away the most affordable, starting at around $100 for a small unit, which will usually keep a smallish room comfortably cool. Larger units can, of course, be used for larger rooms.
- Cons: These units are generally only good for one room, not an entire house. There’s also usually considerable noise involved wherever the unit is located.
Central Air. Central air provides cool air that’s delivered to each room by the ductwork in your home (the same ductwork used by your heating system). An outside unit brings cool air into the home and distributes it through the existing ducts to cool each room.
- Pros: Central air can provide an entire home with cool, conditioned air. It is also incredibly quite inside the home, as the main unit (where all the actual cooling takes place) is outside.
- Cons: These complete home cooling systems are on the most expensive end of the price spectrum, especially if you need to install the ducts necessary to make the system work.
In between these two extremes there are many choices — such as ductless systems, split systems, and heat pumps. These other home cooling systems vary by price, efficiency, and methodology, but are all designed to keep your home cool and calm throughout the blazing summer heat.
Talk to your HVAC specialist about your options for cooling solutions. Don’t forget to ask about renewable energy systems such as solar electric panels or geothermal heating systems, which can either be used to augment your existing cooling system or serve as a standalone system itself. But whatever you do, do it soon: those sweltering, sticky days are just around the corner. Refernce materials.