Staying cool is essential when it gets hot out, but it can be tough to do when you don’t have much window space to work with.
To stay cool without monopolizing your window space, you need an air conditioner that won’t block your window. The best options include central air, portable air conditioning units, or ductless mini-split systems.
Read below to find out a little bit more about each of these great options!
Central Air Conditioning
Central Air Conditioning is becoming increasingly common in homes due to its ability to efficiently cool larger areas. According to Lennox, a popular HVAC equipment manufacturer, “Central Air Conditioning is a system in which air is cooled at a central location and distributed to and from rooms by one or more fans and ductwork.”
As you can imagine, installing central air conditioning is the most expensive option when considering how to cool your home without using a window air conditioning unit. However, it might just be more affordable than you think!
The average cost of installing a central air system is approximately $3,500 to $4,000 if connecting to a pre-existing forced air heating system. If you have an alternative heating system in your home, like a boiler, gas-fired space heater, or wood-burning stove, the initial investment will be a bit more costly, about double the price. (If you’re unsure of what type of heating system you have, you can read a bit more on the different types here.)
The installation time frame depends on the specifics of your home, such as the square footage, the condition of your duct system, and more. This is something you’ll definitely want to have done by a professional. If you are interested in obtaining more information about a central air conditioning unit, contact your local HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) specialist to learn more. You can find local specialists in your area by clicking here!
Overall, central A/C units are a great choice for cooling your home. Although the upfront costs are expensive compared to the alternative options, it is a great investment that will keep you cool for many years to come.
Portable Air Conditioning Units
A portable air conditioning unit (PAC) is an air conditioner that does not require permanent installation, like a split duct or central air conditioning system. These units are generally on wheels and allow you the ability to move them throughout your home, depending on where you need the cooler air. They are generally lightweight and can be moved easily.
Another benefit that portable air conditioning units have to offer is that they are energy efficient, due to their smaller size. Also, because they can be moved about to whichever room you’d like, the cooling effect is localized to a more central area, preventing you from cooling parts of your house that you and your family may not be occupying.
Portable air conditioning units are a great alternative to home cooling if you have an older home that may not be able to accommodate a traditional window unit, or if you are in a neighborhood or building that bans the use of window units for safety reasons.
There are two types of portable air conditioning units available for residential use – condenser-based portable air conditioners and evaporative portable air conditioners. Keep reading for additional information about both types.
Condenser-Based Portable Air Conditioners
This type of portable air conditioner functions much like a window air conditioning unit, cooling the air inside with a refrigeration unit and exhausting the hot air outside. Also, like a window unit, these require some type of ventilation in order to expel the hot air out of your home, so venting out of a window, drop ceiling, or even outside of a door.
They also act as a dehumidifier, pulling moisture from the air as it exhausts the hot air. This is a fantastic benefit during the summer months, as dry air tends to feel cooler and more refreshing than humid air. Because of their dehumidifying effects, this type of air conditioning unit is best for climates that experience damp, muggy heat in the summer months.
Venting a portable air conditioner is a fairly easy process that usually won’t require the assistance of a professional in order to complete. For a step by step video guide on how to vent your portable A/C, click here.
These units can cost anywhere from $234 to $700, depending on the size, make, and model of the A/C.
Evaporative Portable Air Conditioners
This type of portable air conditioning unit is more efficient than its condenser-based counterparts, using evaporation to cool the air. These units draw in the air over water, causing some of that air to evaporate, eliciting a cooling effect.
Evaporative portable air conditioning units are better suited for drier climates, like the Southwestern United States, where the air tends to be more dry than humid. These units will also require you to vent the expelled air somewhere, much like the condenser-based options.
These units tend to be less expensive than condenser-based ones because they don’t require refrigerant or a condenser pump. You can expect to pay between $160 and $450 on average.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems
The last option we’ll cover today is the Ductless Mini-split Air Conditioning System. Ductless systems combine some of the features of central A/C with the benefits of a portable air conditioning unit. They don’t require ducts to operate, and they can be installed in different areas of your home to concentrate the cooling power to those rooms you need it most.
Ductless air conditioning systems operate much like a central A/C system; they just don’t rely on the ducting system to distribute the cool air. Essentially, a mini-split system pulls out the hot air from your home, conditions it with refrigerant, and expels the heat and moisture outside via a condenser unit.
This is a great alternative for those that want a more permanent solution than portable A/Cs but don’t have the ducting to support central air. Because the units themselves are installed in individual rooms, you can create a “zoning” effect with your cool air, allowing you to only cool where you need, when you need it!
These types of units can vary in cost, depending on the number of “zones” you want to get installed. Typically, a multi-zone system consisting of two indoor evaporator units costs between $8,500 and $10,000. A professional HVAC technician will be required to install this type of solution.
As we now know, you don’t necessarily need to use a window to use an air conditioner. There are many options available to you, dependent upon your preferences regarding cost, location, and installation time.
Installing a Central Air Conditioning system is likely the most expensive and time-consuming option but is a worthwhile investment if you plan on staying in your current home for years to come.
Portable Air Conditioners are the most cost energy efficient but require you to vent the exhaust to the outside, somehow.
Ductless mini-split systems offer you the ability to “zone” multiple areas of your home with different evaporator units and do not require the use of a window to vent the exhaust. However, these units are almost as expensive as central air.
No matter your decision, you’ll be cool, calm, and collected in your newly air-conditioned space in no time!