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With temperatures increasing, it’s hard to imagine life without a good cooling system in your home, office or business space. If you don’t have an ac unit, or are seeking to upgrade your current one, the first thing you need to look at is the various types of air conditioning systems to determine the right one for your needs and budget.

Some sources claim that heating and cooling make up to 50% of a household’s expenses, so choosing your unit carefully and keeping it in good shape are crucial for protecting your home or business bottom line. The most popular types of hvac systems are central air conditioning and window air conditioning, let’s go over some pros and cons and general characteristics.

Window Air Conditioner

A window air conditioning unit does exactly what it says on the box: it sits by a window, attached to an exterior wall, and it cools one room. The box contains all the parts of the ac: the condensing unit, the evaporator, the thermostat, and the fans. 

Installation of a window ac unit is simple enough for most people to do on their own, although if it is quite high off the ground you might want to hire a professional to take care of your air conditioning installation.  

 Let’s talk energy: a window AC unit can use anywhere from 500 to 1440 watts of electricity, which is significantly less than a central AC. However, a window unit can cool only one room, so you should do the maths and determine whether you need only one or two rooms cooled, or an entire house or large space.

Central Air Conditioner

What’s in a name? In this case, everything: a central air conditioner has – as you would expect – one central unit that blows cool air into ducts that distribute it all over the house. The main unit is either housed in the attic or out of doors, and depending on its design it can be called a packaged or a split AC unit. We’ll talk more about this later.

Central air conditioners must be installed by an experienced hvac contractor, since it requires advanced AC installation skills and equipment. For example: if your unit goes on the roof you may even require a bespoke welded support – definitely not an easy DIY project.

Energy efficiency is a big consideration when choosing a central air conditioner. As a reference, standard home HVAC systems use about 3500 watts, which seems a lot more than window AC units until you remember that the central AC cools the entire house. If you need more than 3-4 rooms cooled, then central might be a more economical option, both in terms of the initial investment in purchase and installation, and in terms of energy bills.  

Air conditioning maintenance and repair

A high quality air conditioning system can be a pretty hefty investment for your home or business, and you should treat it as such. Give your AC unit periodic maintenance: check the coils, fins, drains and filters to make sure everything is working well. Periodical checks will also help you detect and fix small issues before they become bigger ones. 

The US Department of Energy recommends servicing your AC at least once a year, and in their words “Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.” 

Our expert team in Oklahoma City is highly trained and experienced in AC installation, maintenance and repair. Let us help you stay cool during the hottest days of summer.

Split systems vs. Packaged units

There are two main types of central AC units, and they operate similarly but are organized differently. Again, the names say it all: packaged units come in one piece, while split systems have two parts, one that lives inside and one that lives outside your house.

In a split system, the indoor unit cools the air inside the house, while the outdoor part removes the heat from your rooms and disperses it outside. The indoor unit is also known as air handler, since it effectively moves the air around, blowing the cooled air back into the rooms. Split systems tend to be more energy efficient than packaged units, but they take up more space.