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Many Sarasota homeowners assume that central air conditioning is the only viable option for keeping their homes cool in the sweltering Florida summers. While central air is certainly one of the most common choices, it’s not your only one. Make sure you understand all the air conditioning options available so you can choose the most efficient installation for your home.

How Central Air Works

Central air conditioners are something many Floridians take for granted without really considering how these systems work. Central air conditioners feature a condenser, evaporator, and compressor. The condenser and compressor are in your outdoor unit. If you have a split system, the evaporator is inside the house. If yours is a packaged system, the evaporator is outside as well.

Refrigerant cycles through a closed system in your air conditioner. Passing through the evaporator coil, it absorbs heat from the home. The refrigerant then moves to the compressor and releases the heat. The fan in your outdoor unit helps dissipate this heat. The refrigerant then resumes its chilled state and returns to the indoor coil. Air is blown over the chilled tubes to cool it before it’s blown back into the house as the cycle continues.

Options in Central Air

Central air conditioners come in several different forms. The most important consideration when you’re selecting a central AC unit is the size. If your air conditioner is too large, it will cycle on and off more than necessary, resulting in high utility bills and uneven cooling. If it’s too small, it will run continuously, experiencing more wear and tear than it’s built for as it struggles to cool a home that it can’t handle. Your HVAC technician should perform a load calculation for your home to determine the appropriate-sized air conditioner for your square footage.

Air conditioners also come with different SEER ratings, which determine the unit’s efficiency. A higher SEER rating now will translate to lower energy expenses throughout the life of the system.

Ductless Alternatives

If your home doesn’t have ductwork throughout, you may want to consider a ductless alternative for air conditioning. A ductless heat pump can both heat and cool your home. This system features a small outdoor condenser and indoor evaporator. These are connected via a small three-inch hole in the wall between the two units. You can connect a single condenser to multiple evaporators.

Ductless systems are ideal for historic homes that don’t have ductwork, as installing ductwork is expensive and time-consuming for these buildings. A ductless heat pump is also an efficient choice if you want to supplement cooling in a sunroom, converted garage, or other part of the house that isn’t connected to your ductwork.

Portable and Window Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are, as the name suggests, highly portable so you can move them around the house easily for targeted cooling if you’re troubleshooting high temperatures in a particular area. You might keep a portable air conditioner in the living room during the day, but move it to the bedroom with you at night. Window air conditioners offer a similarly small scope for cooling, working in just one room at a time. While you can move a window unit, this is a cumbersome process and not something you would want to do often.

Neither option is as effective as a central air conditioner. A window unit can improve your efficiency if you want cooling in only a small area of the home. There are Energy Star rated units that will help you take an eco-friendly approach with your window unit. Portable air conditioners are not Energy Star certified, making them a more expensive option. These units can offer cooling for a small part of the home, but you’ll need several to get the coverage that a central unit offers.

Are you considering a new air conditioner for whole-home cooling or supplemental cooling in a perpetually warm part of the home? Aqua Plumbing & Air will help you choose the best air conditioner installation for your home. Just give us a call at (941) 306-3715 to learn more.

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