If your home needs a new air conditioner, you may have more options for A/C systems and units than you realize. While a central air conditioner, meaning one that is connected to all the ductwork of the home, is very popular, other types of systems may be a better fit for your cooling needs in particular. Note a few pros and cons of various air conditioning systems so you know which one would be the right investment for you.
Reverse cycle ducted air conditioning
A reverse cycle ducted air conditioner, often called a heat pump, works to both cool and heat your home; this can be a great choice for areas with temperatures that get very cold and very hot! Ducted reverse style air conditioning is usually more energy-efficient than a standard furnace, as this pump removes air from the home's interior rather than just blowing hot or cold air into the space. Having a reverse cycle ducted air conditioner also means less space needed for both a furnace and air conditioning system. The disadvantage to this system is that it may offer more heating and cooling than what is needed for smaller homes, so you wind up wasting energy and money on both heating and cooling for your space.
Ductless air conditioning
A ductless air conditioner, or split system, isn't connected to a home's ductwork. The system blows cool air from a front panel, which is installed in a wall or ceiling of a room.
Ductless air conditioners are very energy-efficient since they're not large enough to cool an entire home. This also allows you maximum flexibility when it comes to cooling certain areas of the home; for example, if you don't like running an air conditioner while sleeping, you might install a split system in the home's living area only. In turn, you won't be cooling the home's bedrooms when you turn on the air conditioner.
Portable systems aren't appropriate for every area of the home, as these units need to be vented out a window; a basement, for example, might not have working windows, and you may not want to keep a window unlocked in a child's room or bedroom just for the A/C vent. Portable units are also somewhat weak and good for cooling only a small space. However, if you need cooling in one space only on occasion, such as when you're working in the garage or if a laundry room gets overly warm while running the clothes dryer, a portable air conditioner can be a good solution.