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When the heat of the summer months hit, cool, comfortable home is one of the best ways to beat the heat. The level of comfort depends on the air conditioner you choose to install in your home. The type and size of the air conditioner will depend on the size of your home. Some air conditioners work more efficiently in smaller spaces. Others struggled to cool larger areas.

Despite the differences in set up and design, most air conditioners share common elements. Each unit will have an evaporator coil, condenser, compressor, expansion valve, and refrigerant. Swamp coolers are an exception.

Central Air

The most common cooling system is a central air system. An exterior unit contains the compressor and coils. Inside the home, you will find a unit housing evaporator coils. A system of ducts connected to rooms throughout the house distributes the air.

Central air conditioning units may not be the most efficient, but they distribute the cool air evenly throughout the home. The number of indoor units depends upon the size of the area to be cooled.

As mentioned at the air conditioning company website, Central air conditioners allow for air to be cleaned before it is distributed inside. The air is forced through a filter that removes pollen, pollutants, and other air particles. Using a programmable thermostat can increase the efficiency of the unit.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump works to remove the warmer air from the interior of the home and to pump it outside. The result is a cooler interior of the house. Heat pumps can reverse their function in the colder months. In winter, the heat pump draws warmer air from the inside and transfers it outside.

A heat pump provides both heating and air conditioning in the same unit. The main drawback of a heat pump is found in winter. Heat pumps are less effective in colder climates.

Ductless Mini-split Systems

As the name indicates, a mini-split system cools the home without the ductwork traditional central air systems require. Inside, the air handling unit distributes air throughout a zone in the house. The indoor unit is often mounted to a wall or hung from the ceiling. Air is distributed to the outdoor unit through a refrigerant line instead of a duct.

Outside, the condenser works similarly to a heat pump. Warmer air is transferred outside. A single indoor unit or multiple units are connected to the same outdoor unit.

Mini-split systems are faster to install and take up less room than traditional air conditioners. Multiple indoor units are energy efficient because you can turn off a unit in unused areas of the home. Individuals are also able to personalize the temperature to their liking.

Window Units

Window unit air conditioners are placed inside an existing window. These units are self-contained. No outside unit is required.

A window unit works to draw warm air out and force cooled air inside. Window units are manufactured in different sizes to accommodate a variety of spaces.

Newer window air conditioners are made to be very efficient. They work well for single-room use or open areas. It is vital to install a window unit properly so that the unit drains moisture outside.

Portable Units

Like window units, portable air conditioners are self-contained units. A portable unit requires no installation. These appliances sit in the middle of the room on the floor. They can be moved easily to different areas of the house. They work much like a window unit. Hot interior air escapes through a host that must be run through a wall duct or out a window vent.

Portable air conditioners use little energy and are inexpensive to operate. One drawback is the fact that portable units are not designed to cool large areas. Portable units are not a practical solution for whole-house cooling.

Swamp Coolers

These units are also known as evaporation coolers. Less common than other air conditioners, swamp coolers are used mostly in the southwest region of the United States.

A swamp cooler draws outside air in with a fan and passes it through moist pads. The air is then distributed through the house. The benefit is a low-cost and efficient air cooling process that renders the air twenty to thirty percent cooler. Swamp coolers do not require ducts to distribute the air.

Swamp coolers do not use refrigerants and are therefore environmentally friendly. Also, swamp coolers require less energy to run than traditional air conditioners.

Each of these air conditioners removes the warm air inside the house and cool the interior air. The right choice for you depends on your budget, the construction of your home, and the area you want to cool.