If you are thinking about installing an air conditioner, you may think that your only option is a window unit if you don't have the existing ductwork for a central AC. The truth is that you actually have a choice – you can go with the traditional window units, or you can opt for a mini-split, or ductless, system. The following guide can help you make an educated decision.
How many rooms do you need to cool?
Generally, if you have more than one or two rooms to cool, a mini-split system is a better choice. This is because window units only work well when it comes to cooling a single room unless the floor plan is very open. Mini-split systems can have multiple cooling units attached to a single outdoor condenser, which allows you to cool several rooms from one main condenser unit.
Is security a concern?
Window units can pose a security risk for your home unless you take extra steps to protect your property. If you are willing to install window bolts so the sash can't be lifted and the AC removed, or if you take the time to have alarm sensors attached to the AC window, then you can mitigate most of the security concerns. Mini-split units don't require a large opening for installation, so they don't have the security risk.
Are you able to make permanent changes to your home?
Mini-split units aren't a suitable choice if you are renting or if you own a condo with an association that won't allow permanent installations. This is because a hole has to be drilled in the ceiling for the air hose to pass through from the indoor cooling unit to the outdoor condenser, which is then affixed to an exterior wall. In this case, a window unit is the best choice, since it doesn't require a permanent installation.
Does noise or lack of light bother you?
One of the biggest concerns with a window AC is that it can be noisy, although newer units are much quieter than they used to be. If you don't like the noise of the fan running, window units may not be for you. The same goes for light. If your home is low on windows and you crave natural light, opt for a mini-split unit instead.
For more help in determining the best options for your home cooling needs, contact an AC installation professional in your area.