While a central air conditioning system is usually the most efficient way to cool and dehumidify homes in the Largo area, sometimes they’re not an option, for either space or financial reasons. If you find yourself shying away from a central system, you do have other options.
Ductless Mini Splits
A ductless mini-split is a relatively new way to cool whole homes or portions of them that don’t require ductwork to deliver the conditioned air. They offer a number of benefits over central AC systems because they’re easy to install and offer both energy efficiency and flexibility.
A mini-split has two primary components that include the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser. A conduit connects the two and contains the refrigerant, power, and drainpipe for the condensation. The refrigerant is preinstalled at the factory, eliminating this critical step in the field. The HVAC contractor will drill a small hole through the exterior wall for the conduit and then connect the air handler to the condenser. The air handler can be placed on the floor, the ceiling or on a wall. Most ductless mini spits come with remote controls, which simplify their operation.
A ductless mini-split heat pump or air conditioner must meet the same energy efficiency ratings that central cooling systems do. The minimum stands at 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), and many systems are available with higher ratings, cutting the cost of cooling.
Mini-splits have a higher efficiency than central systems because they don’t use ducts. Air leaks in the ducts and thermal losses are not uncommon with central systems that are not issues with the ductless system.
Some condensers can support up to four air handlers, making system expansion possible in the future. The air handler can be placed conveniently in a room without any limitations due to ductwork. Each air-handling unit has its own controls, ensuring individual comfort.
Window Air Conditioners
If your community allows them, window or wall air conditioners offer an affordable and effective way to cool smaller areas in the home or garage. If you opt for this type of cooling system, choosing an Energy Star or Most Efficient model will save energy. These A/Cs can be noisy.
Portable Air Conditioners
According to Consumer Reports, these units generally use more electricity than window units but offer the convenience of cooling a room if a wall or window unit isn’t possible. These systems use one or two hoses that must be vented outdoors where they deposit the heat from the space and the condensation.