There’s no question that living in South Florida would be impossible without air conditioning, so every little bit helps. But if you’ve invested time and money into your home, you want it to look nice. So, perhaps it’s time to ditch the window AC unit?
Window units are a quick way to cool small spaces, but they have a lot of downsides. They’re not very energy efficient, and they become even less efficient over time. And while they’re usually pretty cheap, they can also be pretty cheap looking, especially once they begin to suffer from exposure to rain and sun.
What Are the Options?
You may be wondering what your options are for replacing an old window AC unit. Your best choice depends on the footprint and construction of your home and how much space you need to cover.
Central Air Conditioning
A central air conditioning system heats and cools your entire home. If you want to add real value to a home with multiple window units, central AC may be your best choice.
In this system, an outdoor condenser or heat pump creates cold air, and a central air handler distributes it throughout the building via ductwork.
Many older Florida homes don’t have ductwork or the space to install them. If this is the case for you, consider a ductless split system air conditioner.
In this system, a heat pump or condenser unit is placed outside the home and air handlers are installed in different rooms in the home. The heat pump removes (or introduces) hot air, and the conditioned air is distributed to the air handling units.
The upside of this system is that it doesn’t require ductwork and vents. It’s also a good solution for add-on rooms in homes that currently have central AC. If you’ve decided to enclose a Florida room, a ductless mini-split is an excellent choice over a window AC unit.
It can even be a good choice for those who do have room for ductwork. Efficiency drops when the air moves through the ductwork. Cold air becomes warmer and hot air cools. Removing the ducts can increase HVAC efficiency by 25 percent.
Pros and Cons of a Ductless Mini Split
Mini-splits offer several advantages
More attractive than window units
Separate controls for each room
No need for ductwork
They do offer some downsides though:
Filters need to be changed separately
More expensive than a window unit
Air handlers may not fit your interior design
In this case, you may want to consider central air conditioning with a central air handler and ductwork.