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3 Types of Home A/C Systems: Which One Do You Need?

27C thermostat

For many people, choosing a new air conditioning system can feel overwhelming.

You want to pick out a system that is sized properly for your space so you get maximum value for minimal energy cost, and that doesn’t require you to make expensive modifications to your space.

In this post, learn about the three main types of home air conditioning systems and how to determine which system is best for your space.

Meet the Three Types of Air Conditioners

There are three main types of air conditioning systems in use today, and each one can work well in certain types of spaces.

1. Split Air Conditioning System

The split air conditioner is the type most homeowners are already familiar with. This system houses half of its components indoors and the other half remains outside. Inside, you will find the blower fan and evaporator coil, while the compressor and condenser coil remains outside.

This type of A/C unit, often called a “central air conditioner,” uses a system of air ducts to conduct cooled air to different parts of the home. It also has an air filter to help trap airborne particles and remove them from the air.

Split A/C systems can be as simple or complex as a space demands, serving single or multi-story homes and integrating with third-party appliances such as air filtration systems, ultraviolet purifiers, heat recovery ventilators and more.

2. Packaged Air Conditioning System

Packaged A/C systems also rely on a system of indoor air ducts to transport cooled air throughout your home or office.

These systems get their name from the single unit design – instead of splitting off the condenser and compressor from the blower and evaporator, all are housed together inside the home or on the roof.

These systems are particularly popular where space is at a premium, in hotter climates and when a rooftop installation is preferred.

3. Ductless Air Conditioning Systems

Ductless A/C systems have been popular in Asia and Europe for many years but are just now starting to make an appearance in North America. Their rising popularity is well-justified.

Ductless air conditioners take up far less space than ducted A/Cs and free up valuable floor space in cramped quarters. Since only a small hole is necessary for mounting on a wall, they are also far less invasive than many ducted systems.

Ductless air conditioners, as their name suggests, do not require installation of an air duct system to work. And they can be set up to work in zones to adjust temperature differently in different parts of the home or office, making for more affordable, efficient cooling.

Sizing Your New Air Conditioning System

The next step is to determine what size and capacity of air conditioner is the right fit for the size and configuration of your space.

In past decades, it was popular to take a “the bigger the better” approach to sizing air conditioners. We now know this is a mistake, and a costly one at that. Installing an A/C unit too big for your house can drive up your utility bills, create indoor humidity and generate extra repairs.

There are several measures that can help determine which air conditioner is sized properly for your space and cooling needs.

Cooling capacity

Cooling capacity is a term that measures how quickly and effectively an A/C unit can cool your space in 60 minutes.

Two different measurements are used to calculate cooling capacity: BTUs, or British Thermal Units, and tonnage. It doesn’t matter which unit of measurement is used. What is important to know is that 12,000 BTUs is equal to 1 ton of cooling capacity.

SEER ratings

SEER is a term that stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. You can think of this like the mpg (miles per gallon) ratings for various cars. Some cars just get more miles per gallon of gas.

In the same way, some air conditioners just get more cooling capacity per unit of energy. SEER is not tied to the size of the unit, however, but to the local climate where you live. Two identically sized units can and often do have very different SEER ratings.

The best option here is to look for an air conditioner that is Energy Star-certified. This basically means the A/C unit uses less energy to do the same work as other similar units.

Load calculation

As you might imagine, it can take some number crunching to match the right cooling capacity and SEER rating to the size and configuration of your space.

This is called the load calculation, and it factors in more than 10 different variables to arrive at the right unit for you.

Get a FREE, No Obligation A/C Quote

Is your existing A/C unit starting to show signs of old age? Are you in the market for a new unit but are not sure what size, configuration or options to choose?

Let us help you! One of our prompt, professional and highly trained service technicians will meet you at your home to analyze your cooling needs and generate a free, no-obligation quote for a properly sized, highly efficient and affordable air conditioner.

Complete this online form to schedule your quote.

Get in Touch

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Is Your A/C Ready for Spring? How to Know For Sure!

air conditioner maintenance

The first day of spring has come and gone. Even though it may not feel like it yet, warmer weather is just around the corner!

It nearly goes without saying that your furnace is looking forward to a well-earned rest. Your air conditioner, on the other hand, is looking ahead into the busiest season of its whole year.

Are you feeling confident your A/C is up to the challenge?

While it may feel tempting to believe your air conditioner’s lengthy winter rest was sufficient to shake off any performance issues from last summer, unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

A better strategy is to learn the warning signs that indicate your air conditioner needs maintenance or repairs and take care of these minor issues before they become major.

A/C Maintenance Can Control Rising Cooling Costs

While spending money on utilities is not typically on anyone’s list of favorite things to do, at the same time, it sure can feel nice to stay comfy and cool inside as temperatures heat up.

But you don’t want to pay a premium to do so, either.

According to Natural Resources Canada, approximately three percent of the energy bill you pay each year is devoted to cooling your space. Knowing this can help you track cooling expenses over time. Increases can be a warning sign that all is not well with your air conditioner.

In fact, according to the Department of Energy, simply changing out the A/C filter monthly can reduce what you spend to run your air conditioner by up to 15 percent.

So imagine how much more efficient your air conditioner will be after being cleaned, tuned-up, lubricated and serviced!

7 Reasons You Are Paying More for Cooling

While air conditioning technology has delivered skyrocketing energy efficiency in recent years, the actual mechanics of how A/C systems work to deliver cool air has stayed consistent over time.

This means that if your cooling bills are increasing, chances are good one of these seven common problems may be to blame!

Leaking refrigerant

Refrigerant is that “magic ingredient” that keeps your air conditioner blowing cool air. When levels get low due to leaks or other causes, you may notice yourself cranking the A/C to stay cool.

Improper sensor position

This is particularly important for window unit and zoned A/C systems, which rely on sensors to adjust temperature cycles accordingly. If the sensor is pointing in the wrong direction, dirty or in the path of direct sunlight, the A/C unit may cycle more than is needed.

Thermostat calibration

An improperly calibrated thermostat can cause your air conditioner to think it needs to run more than it really does to meet your cooling needs.

Drain blockage

As your air conditioner cycles, it creates moisture (condensate) that then needs to be drained away from the unit. When the drain gets blocked, this often triggers a float switch that sends a warning signal to the unit itself to power down.

If your A/C unit frequently short-cycles (turns itself off prematurely) and you feel like you are always fighting to stay cool enough, a clogged drain may be the culprit.

Clogged air filter

The air filter operates much like your air conditioner’s “lungs.” Its job is to keep dirt, dust, debris and detritus from blowing into the interior components of the A/C unit and causing damage or blockage.

But over time, as the air filter traps more and more debris, it becomes clogged. At this point, it has to work harder and harder to push air through the filter and out into your home. This will run up your energy bill and lower cooling efficiency at the same time.

Control failure

A series of breakers, fuses and electrical contacts keep critical components of the A/C unit from wearing out or overheating. If the electrical controls are not functioning properly, the blower motor or condenser fan motor can overheat and stop working, causing major repair needs.

Duct problems

All kinds of things can happen as ductwork ages. Ducts can begin to sag or even tear away from the connection points. Leaks and tears may occur as material degrades or unwelcome winter visitors like insects or small animals make their way inside.

Ducts can also fill up with debris over the years, acting like a clogged filter to slow down air flow. When debris backs up into the A/C unit, a major outage or fire hazard is possible.

A/C Maintenance Ensures You Pay Only for Cooling You Really Need

If your A/C unit is still new and under warranty, scheduling annual preventative maintenance can be a requirement for keeping your warranty active.

For an older unit, preventative maintenance can make the difference between controlling cooling costs and watching them skyrocket.

For a late-life A/C unit, maintenance can extend its useful life and delay the need for costly upgrades.

Here at Bi-Temp, our recommended safety inspection and preventative maintenance A/C service includes each of the following:

  • Refrigerant leak test, level check and refill (if necessary)

  • Inspection of all connections, fuses, breakers, thermostat, sensors, components

  • Inspection and cleaning of drainage pan and hose

  • Lubrication of all moving parts, fans, motors

  • Replacement or cleaning of filter (depending on filter type)

  • Thorough interior and exterior cleaning, including evaporator and condenser coils

  • Thermostat calibration and blower motor/cooling cycle efficiency test

  • Inspection of ductwork and repair recommendations as needed

  • Recommendation of minor repairs

  • Overall safety inspection of the unit, components and A/C operation

Get in Touch

Take advantage of our nifty spring offer: schedule your air conditioner inspection and tune-up service and we will install a 1-inch air filter at the time of service, absolutely FREE!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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