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How to Choose Your Air Conditioning System

How to Choose Your Air Conditioning System

Interior renovationsHow to Choose Your Air Conditioning System

Summer has just started and you’re already thinking about moving to the far North to escape the heat and humidity? Don't fret, we're here to help you figure out which air conditioning system is best adapted to your needs and to your budget.

Many different home cooling solutions are available out there; the only thing left to do is to find the right one. Air conditioning is an excellent way to make your home's resting temperature more bearable in the summer.

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Choosing your air conditioning system: what you need to know

When shopping for an air conditioning system, the main criteria should be the size of the room or the space which needs to be covered. When we think of air conditioning, we can think of any system that’s been designed to control and regulate the temperature inside an interior space. More generally, air conditioners can be grouped into 2 different categories: ducted or ductless.

Ductless systems use small units that are scattered throughout the home or interior you’re hoping to cool, whereas ducted systems consist of a large unit that distributes cool air from one single location.

An air conditioner’s cooling capacity is measured using BTU (British Thermal Units). 20 BTU is equivalent to cooling one square foot. Choosing the right strength is crucial because a system that's too weak will work non-stop and cause your electricity bill to skyrocket.

However, buying an air conditioner that's too strong isn’t the proper solution either. If it works too well for the interior, it'll cause another problem: humidity. This is because an air conditioner absorbs humidity very slowly. 

If the room cools down too fast, the machine won’t be able to process the extra humidity, thus leaving it hanging in the air. Air conditioning systems aim to transfer heat from one place to another.

Normally, they absorb cool air from the outside, bring it inside, absorb the hot air from inside and send it outside. The difference between a window air conditioner and a central air conditioning system is the fact that the main goal of a central air conditioning system is to control room temperature throughout the whole house.

The zoning system allows temperature control in eight different areas inside the house. When you are at the stage of buying an air conditioner, we also recommend that you take a look at the energy efficiency rate (SEER, TRES or RES). The higher it is, the more your air conditioning expenses will be reduced.

Fans and compressors tend to be very noisy. In the case of an air conditioner, which has both, it is also highly recommended to test the noise level of your future air conditioner, simply to ensure your comfort.

What should you avoid doing when it's time to take care of your air conditioning system? To know it, check out our article Using your air conditioner: what to do and not to do.

Ducted VS Ductless

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A ducted system is also often referred to as central air and what most people are familiar with when it comes to air conditioning systems. A ducted system will cool the entire home. If you’re dealing with an interior that traps warm or cool air in certain spots, it may benefit you to go with a system that targets specific rooms. 

Central air can be complicated and difficult to install, so if you do decide on this choice, we’d recommend having a professional do the job. In most cases, central air units need to be charged with refrigerant, and only certified professionals have the right to work with this. 

Heat pumps are another form of ducted air conditioning system. The name alone may confuse you, but these are air conditioners with the ability to operate in reverse. A heat pump moves warm air from your interior outdoors, but can also move the heat from outdoors into your interior. 

Lastly, not widely used but geothermal heat pumps are another ducted system that taps into the Earth to regulate your home's interior temperatures. How? A geothermal system uses underground pipes to move heat to and from the soil below one’s home. This environmentally-friendly method is a costly venture but may be worth its low maintenance costs.

Would you like to learn more about air conditioner maintenance? Read our article All about air conditioner maintenance.


As mentioned, a ductless system relies on multiple points of contact to cool an entire area. Window units are a common ductless air conditioner. This is an excellent choice for those working with a smaller budget or even smaller space.

As you may already know, these units sit on the edge of a window sill and hang out the window. These units are an excellent option for apartments or multi-family homes but do bear in mind that they drip water and so be careful where they’re placed. They also require plenty of electricity, something to remember when your end-of-season bill comes in. 

Mini-split systems are made up of units strategically placed throughout the home to heat or cool specific spots. Each unit contains a small heat pump that employs a mounted fan to cool the area. These units are highly efficient and as a result, have begun to grow in popularity.

Portable air conditioner

If your room doesn’t have a window or if your windows are not adapted for a window air conditioner, portable air conditioners are one of the best options on the market. As the name of the product implies, this machine is portable and can be moved around everywhere inside the house. 

Fan Coils

If your air conditioning system lacks strength or if it’s having trouble projecting the cold air inside the room, you can buy a fan coil to help bring it to another level. An air conditioner can be strengthened to the tune of 2 SEER, for an added energy consumption level of only 40 watts. Fan coils also help dehumidify your home.

Do you wish to have an estimation of the cost of your next air conditioning system? Check out our article The Cost of Air Conditioning Systems.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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