Why Do We Need A/C?We cool our houses for more than just our personal comfort. An overheated house can be deadly for the most vulnerable among us, but also contributes to conditions like dehydration, cramps, fainting, and heat exhaustion. Devices like computers and TVs can also contribute to the heat outdoors to create an uncomfortable environment for you and your family.
What’s The Most Efficient Way to Air Condition a Home?There are several ways to mitigate heat in the summer, but which is the most efficient means of air conditioning? At our fingertips we have:
- central air,
- mini split systems,
- A/C units, and
- natural cooling hacks,
A/C UnitsPerhaps the first thing you think of when you hear the term ‘air conditioning’, the traditional wall unit provides refrigerated air to the room where it’s installed. In addition to the wall unit, there are also portable models that can be set up wherever there is a convenient window to set up its ducts, or ductless versions that still require access to outside air for venting purposes.
These units are of manageable size and can be installed almost anywhere. While a larger central air system may pose a problem for someone living in a condo, traditional air conditioning units are always available and convenient for multiple unit buildings like apartments.
A/C Unit DrawbacksThe individual unit is extremely limited as far as efficiency goes. Air conditioning units can’t cool more than one room, and require some sort of access to outside air: this requires you to have a convenient window for a frequently unwieldy unit, or a permanent installation in the side of a wall. Neither are they ideal for aesthetic purposes, breaking up walls and taking up space in windows.
A/C units, whether ducted, wall mounted, or portable, are a fast fix for a hot room; however, as it is the first thing we think of when we think of air conditioning, it isn’t an efficient use of space nor useful for cooling more than the room that it’s installed in.
Natural Cooling HacksCooling yourself down naturally by opening windows, keeping a cold drink on hand, or freezing your sheets at night is probably the most cost effective means of cooling down. Many tips available online are simple tricks and hacks for the appliances and features of your home that already exist, thus eliminating the need to invest in a brand new system.
This is also one of the more eco-friendly options, as there’s minimal additional strain on your electric bill; some tips even help you reduce it through household investments such as insulated windows and the removal of incandescent bulbs.
Natural DrawbacksThis method of cooling off isn’t without its drawbacks, however. Some considerations to make before you decide to go without air conditioning are:
- How cool do you need your home to be?
- How much time can you invest in cooling off?
- What features does your house already have?
Choosing to invest in blackout curtains instead of an A/C unit is a cost-efficient and eco-friendly way to cool down, but there are drawbacks. For larger houses or situations where a cooler house is necessary for health reasons, however, you may not want to rule out mechanical means of air conditioning.
Central Air ConditioningFor a larger house with an existing duct system, central air conditioning is the most efficient way of cooling down during the summer. Through the ductwork, central air is connected to every room from an outdoor until that filters the warm air in your home through its refrigeration-like internal system. This will by far keep your house the coolest, as it uses the vents in your home to get air to every single room.
Central air conditioning can also work to dehumidify, which provides an even more comfortable environment for your home. It’s method of constantly cycling air can also help with:
- reducing airborne allergens, and easing summer asthma
- filtering common lingering odours in the home
- reducing the risk of mold and mildew
Central DrawbacksBut as with most systems, central air conditioning isn’t a perfect solution. There are several common disadvantages with such an all-encompassing system, including:
- the expense of ductwork
- lack of control over individual rooms
- high energy demands
- aesthetic considerations
Another disruption to the environment of your home from central air would be the noise that the unit creates when actively running. There are certain steps that you can take to reduce the noise pollution from your central air unit, but all involve additional effort and potential financial investment.
Central air is the most extensive option, offering clean and cycled air to every room of your home with little to nothing for you to keep track of besides what temperature you’d like it. When handled responsibly, it could be the most efficient way to cool down your home: however, consider issues of pricing, aesthetic, and electrical demands before deciding on central air conditioning.
Mini Split Air ConditioningPerhaps the perfect middle between wall-mounted units and central air systems, mini splits contain the benefits of both. A mini split air conditioning system is ductless, removing the need for expensive renovations or noisy ductwork. Lines attach multiple interior units to a single outdoor unit, allowing for temperature control in individual rooms and reducing energy loss when compared to a central air conditioning system.
Their indoor units are also much smaller than wall mounted air conditioning systems while keeping the same air cycling method that keeps indoor air cleaner and free of allergens.
Mini Split DrawbacksNo system is perfect, and unfortunately there are significant issues associated with the installation and function of mini split systems:
- installation problems
- upfront cost
- aesthetic considerations
With a flexible budget and a mind for future savings, mini split systems are an efficient, energy-saving air conditioning system that combines the benefits and occasionally the drawbacks of other more widely known systems.
Which Air Conditioning System is Best?Ultimately, there isn’t a clear and objective winner when comparing different air conditioning systems. To get the best value out of whatever system you use, research is required to decide which is the most cost efficient, useful, and valuable system for your home and family.
Categorised in: cooling