HVAC systems come in different
types, sizes and forms. Some of them are capable of both
and cooling and some of them are specifically designed for either
heating or cooling. Last time, I talked about the heating systems. So, it’s
time for the cooling systems to get their fair share.
Before I talk about the different types of cooling systems,
let me start by saying that cooling systems do not work heating systems. While
heating systems use the energy to produce heat, these air conditioners use
energy to take the heat away. These air
conditioning units use the typical compressor cycle used in
Now that you know how these cooling systems or air conditioners
work, let’s talk about the different types of AC that people use in their
Central Air Conditioners or The Heat Pumps
Central AC unit and heat
pumps are very common in North American households. While a central air
conditioner is equipped to make the home cool centrally, the Heat Pumps can do
and air conditioning for your home.
In a central AC unit, you will find a large compressor and using
the refrigerants inside it, the central Air conditioner keeps the house cool. The
heat pumps are similar to the central AC units but the major difference is
while a central AC unit can just turn down the temperature, these heat pumps
can also work the other way around.
Also, the heat pumps are more versatile than central AC unit. These
heat pumps can be sourced from the air or from the ground, giving us the
Air-Source heat pump and Ground-Source or Geothermal heat pump.
Due to the versatility and efficiency of these heat pumps and central
AC units, the number of HVAC
companies increased. Now, Trane
systems, Carrier systems and GoodMan
systems are some of the most popular ones in the market. These units are rated
by SEER and EER. The higher the SEER and EER rating, the more efficient the
HVAC system is.
The best use of these central AC units is as commercial HVAC systems because
you get a bigger coverage for an average HVAC cost.
Room Air Conditioners
Room Air conditioners are most popular for single room use – as
you can guess from the name.
These are small air conditioning units and they are less efficient
than the central AC units. You can only condition one room or a small space
using a room AC.
They are mostly mounted on the walls. But other setups are available
too. The compressor of the room AC is kept outside while the unit that blows
the air in the room is mounted on the wall. Unlike the Central AC units and
Heat Pumps, these room air conditioners are only rated by EER, which is the
cooling output amount divided by the total power consumption. As usual, the
higher the ratings are, the higher efficiency you get from these air conditioners.
Besides, these are the more inexpensive options for small homes and single
rooms because these room AC units are a lot less than central AC units.
Evaporative Coolers pull the outside fresh air and put them through
a moisture pad. This moisture pad then makes the air cool by evaporation and
that’s how you get the cold breeze in your room.
These evaporative coolers are also called swamp coolers sometimes.
They are not as common as vapor compression AC units that use refrigerants to
cool the environment. However, using the moisture pad instead of refrigerants
has its own advantage. Due to the usage of moisture pads, people on the
southeast side of America, where the environment is much dry, these evaporative
coolers work better.
They also feel somewhat different from other air conditioners
because the air from these coolers feel like natural winter breeze and not like
traditional AC breeze. As for the efficiency in cost, these cut almost 75% of
the electricity bills in the summer. This is because the only mechanical component
of these coolers consume energy is the fan. Besides, compared to the central AC
units, they cost almost half. So, for the households in the Southeast part of North
America, these Evaporative coolers are a good option.
Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners
Mini-Split Air conditioners work like traditional air
conditioners. They have compressors that stays outside and the air flowing or
air handling unit stays inside either mounted or on any other setup in the
These mini-split ACs are used in households where there is no air ducts
or vents setup. This means no molds in duct, no mold
removals, no air duct
cleaning cost to bear. You only need to manage the AC repair cost and energy cost.
Another major advantage of these split cooling systems is the
zoning facility. With these split HVAC systems, you can control the temperature
and humidity of the different zones of your house. So, when you feel cold in
the living room, you can just increase the temperature of the living room without
violating the temperature balance in the guestrooms, bedrooms or the kitchen. Also,
having no air ducts for the HVAC system means you are saving from your energy
bills. That’s why I personally, would suggest these split systems if you have a
Let’s review what we have learned from here. Central AC units are
efficient and cover a lot of areas. But the heat pumps are much more flexible
because they can do both heating and cooling as you need. Then we have the room
air conditioners that are used in a single room or small space. They are
comparatively inexpensive and energy-saving. However, the most inexpensive
options are evaporative coolers. They are cheap and best suitable for dry areas
like the Southeast part. And lastly, we have the ductless mini-split systems. As
they are ductless, you don’t need to bear air duct cleaning costs or
maintenance for them. The only thing you need to manage is the AC maintenance & repair cost when
required. Most importantly, you can control the individual zones with these AC
units, which is a big advantage for medium to big houses. So, I would suggest
the Ductless Mini-Split AC setup for your house.