A Guide to Your Central Air Conditioning Options

April 12, 2023
HVAC services in Olathe, KS

Here in Olathe, KS, having reliable air conditioning is a must if you want to stay comfortable in the summer. For homeowners, this generally means selecting and installing a central air conditioning system. However, not every homeowner realizes that there’s more than one option to choose from. That’s due, in part, to the longevity of modern air conditioners. Since you can install one in a home and keep it for a decade or more, there’s little reason for a homeowner to keep up with the latest advancements in residential air conditioning technology. To help, here’s a guide to the major types of central air conditioning systems available today.

Split Air Conditioning Systems

The first (and most common) type of central air conditioning system installed in homes today is the split air conditioning system. It’s so common that it’s the type of system most people think of when they hear the term ‘central air conditioning.’ It consists of an outdoor unit with a compressor and condenser coil and an indoor unit with an air handler and evaporator coil.

A split air conditioner uses a blower fan to circulate air throughout a home via a network of in-wall ductwork. It draws air through a return duct, then blows it through an evaporator coil with cold refrigerant flowing through it to remove heat from the air. Then, the cooled air gets distributed to each room through another set of ducts and vents. To complete the cooling cycle, the refrigerant carries the collected heat outside, where the compressor and condenser vent it into the outside air.

For years, split air conditioners were virtually the only option when it came to efficient central air conditioning. Today, though, that’s no longer the case, and homeowners have a few more viable options.

Air-source Heat Pumps

Like traditional split air conditioning systems, air-source heat pumps use a refrigeration cycle to collect heat from inside your home and vent it outdoors. However, heat pumps have another feature that ordinary split air conditioners don’t have: they can operate in reverse.

This means that a heat pump can collect heat energy from the outside air and use it to heat your home rather than cool it. This makes them an all-in-one replacement for both central air conditioning and central heating systems. Except in very cold climates, a heat pump offers added energy efficiency while operating in heating mode compared to traditional heating systems. Plus, they also provide cooling capacity that’s on par with the most efficient split air conditioners on the market today.

Ductless Mini-split Air Conditioners

Although split and heat pump HVAC systems are the major central air conditioning options, there’s another type of heating/cooling technology that you may see discussed: ductless mini-splits. They’re a more flexible and efficient option than a traditional split air conditioner that offers a few advantages over them. One advantage is that they rely on an outdoor unit that’s typically smaller and lighter than the ones used by traditional split systems. Therefore, they’re a bit easier to install and take up less room outside your home.

The second advantage is that they don’t require pre-installed ductwork inside your walls. Instead, they use individual air handlers installed in each room you wish to cool. This makes ductless mini-splits an excellent option for homes that weren’t built with ductwork or for adding air conditioning to parts of your home that didn’t already have it.

They’re also more efficient than traditional split systems. They achieve that by eliminating the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork and allowing you to control the temperature in each room individually. They also eliminate hot and cold spots in your home that come from uneven airflow through ductwork.

All of that’s possible because each indoor air handler has its own thermostat and controls. With a ductless mini-split system, you never have to spend money cooling the parts of your home you’re not using. Plus, each air handler delivers exactly as much cold air as each room needs to reach your desired temperature.

Consult the Air Conditioning Experts

Now that you know more about the available central air conditioning options for your Olathe home, you should also know that Mike Bryant Heating & Cooling is the best place to call for all of them. We’ve served the area since 2004, offering comprehensive HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance services. We also handle boilers, indoor air quality issues, and geothermal services, too. If your home needs a new central air conditioning system or repairs done on the one you already have, contact Mike Bryant Heating & Cooling right away!

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