Is Central Air Conditioning More Efficient than Other Options?

Central AirIf you are tired of calling an air conditioner repair service and believe that a new air conditioner installation might be the best “move,” you will probably find that there are now many more models of air conditioner available than there were when you had your current unit installed. The industry has developed significantly since then and manufacturers are constantly looking to refine their products to offer maximum performance and maximum efficiency at the same time. However, before you can even begin to look at the different models available, you first have to decide what type of air conditioning system you are going to select; will you choose to have a central air conditioning unit installed or a decentralized system fitted. For those of you that aren’t entirely sure how these two options differ from one another, this should help to clear things up:

  • Central air conditioning systems are based in a single location and cool all areas of the home from that one location. These systems will typically feature extensive ductwork to distribute the cool air around the home.
  • Decentralized units on the other hand are designed to serve much smaller spaces (often single rooms) and are generally positioned either inside the “target area” or adjacent to it.

Many people who come to us for a new air conditioner installation say something like “I’ve done some research and I generally know the difference between the various systems available, but which is the most efficient?” Why do they want to know this? Because the more efficient your air conditioner is, the less it will cost you to run! During this article we are going to look at whether central air conditioning systems are more efficient than their decentralized counterparts, and then take a look at some of the different types of central air conditioning systems.

Central Air Conditioning: Better Than Decentralized?

If you’ve done some background reading on air conditioners you will probably be aware that all manufacturers are required to have their product tested and present an efficiency rating known as the EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio). This ratio is calculated based on how much energy the unit consumes over the course of an hour while cooling a set amount of 95 degree air. It’s interesting to see that central air conditioning units have to have an EER score of 12 or higher to be awarded Energy Star certification, while decentralized units only need to hit somewhere between 9.4 and 10.7 on the same scale. While there will be some models that are “exceptions” to this rule (central units that are rated lower than 12 and decentralized units that are rated higher than 10.7), generally speaking central air conditioning is more energy efficient than other options; at least that’s the simple answer! Why is this? Decentralized units usually have the disadvantage of being subject to spatial constraints, and less “technology” can be squashed into a smaller package, meaning they can’t typically compete in terms of performance and energy efficiency. Central units are able to process greater volumes of air, reducing the temperature of each “unit” by a small amount, whereas decentralized units typically work the opposite way; cooling smaller amounts of air by a large amount, expending more energy in the process.

The Types of Central Air Conditioning Systems Available

If you do opt to have a centralized air conditioning system installed as opposed to a decentralized system, that’s just the first decision. It’s then back to the drawing board to figure out which type of central air conditioning you would like, with the two main options being a split-system and a packaged-system. We’re going to differentiate these systems from one another below:

  • Split System – As the name suggests, the components with this type of central air conditioning are split; the condenser and the compressor are located outdoors while the evaporator remains indoors. Along with the evaporator there will also be a furnace (or heat pump) and an evaporator coil. This is an attractive option if your home already has a furnace installed as it reduces the cost of installation significantly.
  • Packaged System – The difference between this type of central air conditioner and the split system is that all of the components are bundled together in the same location, which is usually either on the roof or immediately outside your home. You will need to have air supply and return ducts installed that run throughout the house and lead back to the air conditioning unit for this to work, but the real advantage is that these units often contain either a furnace or a heating coil, meaning the system can also take care of your home’s heating requirements too.

If you live in Toronto, Pickering or Scarborough and you are interested in a central air conditioner, contact AirPlus for more information or a custom quote. In addition to air conditioner installation we also offer professional air conditioner repair and maintenance services.

Contact us for central air questions at AirPlus

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