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Do you know how many types of air conditioners exist for cooling your home? There is quite a variety on the market, but the Blue Dot team doesn’t expect homeowners to know all the types of A/C units, differences in technology and price, or which system is best for their home. That’s our job! We have years of experience recommending, planning, repairing, and installing energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems for all sizes and shapes of properties.

Because of our expertise, our customers often ask us to explain the basic types of air conditioning systems they hear about, so we’ve created this basic introductory guide to clear up any confusion about the different types of air conditioners that you might find:

Central air conditioning

Central air conditioning is also known as ducted air conditioning because of its internal design. Central A/C starts with a large air compressor outside of the house that pumps air into ducts, which run throughout the house internally.

What to consider

  • Many new homes are built with central air conditioning already installed behind the walls, which makes it an obvious choice for many.
  • Adding ductwork to put into place your air conditioning system in a home requires a significant investment of time and money to modify the internal structure of your property.
  • The high upfront cost deters some homeowners, but the reason central air conditioning is a popular feature in newer homes is its energy-efficiency, which saves money on monthly utility bills for years to come.
  • Another aesthetic benefit to central A/C is that it’s almost invisible. Because the air ducts run behind the walls and out of the house, the only visible parts of the system are the low-profile vents high in the walls or ceiling. Unlike a portable plug-in unit, central A/C doesn’t take up space in a room, making it ideal for large homes in which smaller systems wouldn’t effectively control the temperature, and for families who don’t want a lot of clunky individual units on the floor or walls in each room.
Split air conditioning systems

Split air conditioning systems are a common ductless solution to cooling your home without lots of small floor units and fans. The term “split air conditioning” is used because each unit includes one internal air conditioning fan that can be adjusted for fan strength, timing, temperature, and other controls; the other part of the “split” system is an exterior unit mounted on an external wall—for example, with a compressor.

What to consider

  • The outdoor units can power a few internal units in different rooms in the house, controlling single areas or even a more complex multi-zone system for larger homes.
  • The internal units are connected by piping instead of air ducts (as in a central air conditioning system). These units are a little larger and more obvious than a vent, but since they are usually mounted high on the wall, the air conditioning system doesn’t take up a lot of visual or physical space in a room.
  • Using units and piping instead of a duct system is cheaper to install in an older home without existing duct work.
Heat pumps

A heat pump is an energy efficient air conditioner type that moves heat from one location to another and thereby can be used to both heat up a room, or cool it. Heat pumps are another variation of a split system with several similarities. They also consist of internal and external units, with a condenser coil outside to release heat and warm the air in the winter.

What to consider

  • The compressor system of a heat pump can also cool air in the summer, so it’s a great year-round system in mild climates that experience all four seasons.

Ready to move closer to purchasing a new AC system, and have more questions? You can ask our team what we can do for you so we can provide you the best option based on your situation. Blue Dot can help you choose and install the right system to keep you comfortable all year long.

Call 410-879-9696 for an on-site home evaluation.

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