If you live in a part of the country that gets even remotely hot, you know the value of having a good air conditioner. Yet which one is right for your home? There are several different options to choose from — portable, central, window, ductless, etc — so how do you know which one you need? 

Fortunately, the decision comes down to a few major variables: How old is your home, what's your budget, and what are your needs? For some, a central air unit just doesn't make sense, as the cost of retrofitting an older home is both impractical and virtually impossible. For others, a window unit makes zero sense because the room that it is cooling is much too large for that kind of output. Understanding your particular situation is vital to making the right choice when it comes to your air conditioning installation, which can save you hundreds of dollars in energy bills.

How Big Is the Room?

It may be tempting to just install the biggest air conditioner you can find in the hopes of making your room as cold as possible, but an A/C installation that doesn't match the size of the room can waste electricity and increase the humidity, actually making it worse. If you're only needing to cool a room, a window or ductless air conditioner is the right choice. If you're wanting to do a new air conditioning installation for your entire house, then you'll need to install a central A/C system. It's more expensive, but it'll do a much better job of cycling the air throughout the entire house.

What's Your Budget?

Window A/C units will run between $150-300, while a whole new central air conditioning installation will cost upwards of $3,000, so it's important to know beforehand what you're willing to spend. You may choose to do the rooms individually, installing a ductless system in every room at a cost of at least $700, but that could end up costing more than you're willing to spend and be only a short-term solution. It's better to have a realistic expectation going into the process.

Any Personal Preferences?

Ductless units are great, but many people don't like the look of a white box sitting on the wall. Others may prefer the convenience of having a portable air conditioner unit that they can move from room to room, depending on their needs. For some homeowners, noise is a big issue, so window units are out. Whatever your personal preferences are for your next air conditioning installation, make sure you voice them with your contractor.

Talk to a contractor to learn more about air conditioning installation.