What Type of AC Unit Do I Need?

Different Types of Air Conditioners: The Pros and (Air) Cons

Cincinnati starts heating up when summer comes to call. That means it’s time to flick on the AC and relax in comfort. But what do you do if you don’t have air conditioning, or your unit is worn out and ready to be replaced? Here’s our guide to the most common cooling options available in Cincinnati so you can pick the one that’s right for your lifestyle.

What Type of AC Unit Do I Need? What to Know Before You Get Started

Before diving into research, knowing what you need from your AC is essential. Ask yourself these questions before your search:

  • How big is the area I’m cooling? Are you cooling your whole home or just a room or two? Determine the space’s square footage to calculate the capacity you need from your air conditioner.

  • Is energy efficiency important to me? While it saves you more money in the long run, energy efficiency isn’t at the top of everyone’s priority list. Figure out how much you’ll spend on an energy-efficient unit and what credits are available for your installation (more on that later).

  • How much am I willing to spend? Some units have a higher up-front cost than others. If sticking to the budget is essential to your plan, figure out how much you’re willing to spend. Prices vary depending on your chosen brand, size, and features.

  • What space do I have for an AC unit? Central AC is famed for the big, boxy unit outside your home to draw in and cool air. However, not everyone has the space for exterior machinery. Other units offer alternative solutions.

  • Do I have air ducts, or am I willing to put them in? If you answered no to both, you’ll need to focus your research on ductless air conditioning systems.

  • How long is the cooling season? ACs designed to run most of the year win out in warmer climates. Somewhere like Cincinnati, where you’ll likely be cooling your home from May to September, you have a few more options available.


The Benefits of Central Air and Its Drawbacks

Central air is one of the most commonly available cooling options, installed in tandem with a furnace or other heater. Most homes are already set up for central air, and there are a variety of units to choose from on the market that can cool small and large homes.

While it’s excellent at cooling large spaces, central air isn’t the most efficient system. Some energy-efficient central air units are available, and you can get rebate assistance to cover some of the cost. However, energy-efficient models tend to cost more upfront, even if they save money in the long run. Central air also requires room for bulky equipment inside your home and outdoors. Finally, if you don’t have ductwork in your home, you’ll need to install ducts before you can hook up a central AC.

Using a Heat Pump for Cooling (and Heating!)

When it comes to AC energy efficiency, heat pumps take the cake. Not only do heat pumps save energy by relocating cool air from outside, but they can also heat your house come winter. The two-in-one system can run through existing ducts or as a ductless system, keeping your home cool and comfortable. Federal tax incentives offset some of the installation costs, and you can check with your utility company (likely Duke Energy) for current rebates.

Geothermal heat pumps are far more expensive than central air, though many air-source heat pumps run about the same price tag. You’ll need to find a heat pump rated for cold weather if you plan to use it for heat in the winter. A ductless heat pump requires installing multiple units throughout your home. Though sleeker than central AC equipment, some don’t like the look of them in their living spaces.

The Benefits of a Mini-Split AC

There’s a significant overlap between mini-split systems and heat pumps. Like heat pumps, you have options for ducted or ductless systems. They can heat or cool in different “zones” around your home and are highly efficient compared to central AC. Mini-split units can be placed around the house strategically to ensure you get an even cool throughout.

However, mini-splits require more regular maintenance than central air, especially in a ductless system, including cleaning their filters every few weeks. Some units may need a condensate pump to relocate collected water, making them noisier and requiring even more maintenance. Plus, geothermal mini-splits often have a higher initial cost than central AC, despite saving you money over time.

Window AC Benefits and Disadvantages

If you’re cooling one small space, a window AC is the way to go. Rather than cooling your entire home, it lets you control how much space you cool and when. You can also install a window unit yourself. They’re ideal for studio apartments, cooling one or two rooms in a larger building, or spaces you can’t have an extensive system installed, such as a dorm room or backyard workshop.

Window air conditioners can only cool up to a certain size, however. Standard units put out between 5,000 and 12,500 BTU per hour (BTUh), which means they can cool spaces up to 550 square feet. If your area is larger, you’ll need a more powerful air conditioner or multiple window units, which can quickly drive up the cost. Window ACs are less efficient than many more extensive systems, so their running costs can get expensive.

One Hour Cincinnati: The Pros for Installing All Air Conditioner Types

Once you’ve chosen the right unit for your home, contact One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer professional AC installation, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Our air conditioner experts will get everything set up so you can relax in cool comfort as soon as possible. Call us today at (513) 815-3460 or book an appointment online.