Types of Cooling Systems in Minnesota

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All home cooling systems are the same, right? Not exactly. While every air conditioning system can create a pleasant indoor environment as the outdoor weather soars, each system produces conditioned air in a different way. With over 35 years of experience, Bloomington Heating & Air has helped many customers choose — and perform air conditioning installations for — their home’s ideal air conditioning system, including these common residential cooling systems.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioning is the type of system most people think of for a home. Using closed refrigeration lines that connect the indoor and outdoor units, a liquid refrigerant flows through the lines. Warmed air is pulled into the home’s ductwork by a fan and passes over the lines. The refrigerant absorbs the heat as the air passes over. In turn, the cooled air moves back into your home through air vents.

Advantages

These systems have three main benefits to homeowners. Central air provides a consistent air temperature throughout your home that is easily adjusted by changing the thermostat setting. It also reduces allergens by filtering the air before distributing it through the ductwork. And for homes in colder climates, such as Minnesota, central air conditioners regularly combine heating and cooling in one package.

Disadvantages

Central air isn’t without a few drawbacks. First, home energy bills are likely to increase when the system is used. This cost can be offset by scheduling regular HVAC maintenance and turning the temperature down at night. The next drawback is ductwork. If your home already has ductwork for a furnace, Bloomington Heating & Air can install a new central air system with ease. But for homes without air ducts, ductwork installation is a major home renovation. Then for any central air conditioner to operate with ideal efficiency, ductwork requires periodic cleaning and maintenance.

Repairs & Maintenance

IIf a central air conditioner receives regular maintenance and AC repair services as needed, it’ll usually last 15 years to 20 years. Bloomington Heating & Air recommends scheduling semi-annual maintenance for any central air system.

Evaporative Coolers

Also called swamp coolers, evaporative coolers force outside air through a damp pad then blow conditioned air into the home. It’s the same principle as stepping out of a swimming pool on a breezy day. As water evaporates from your skin, you feel cooler. The technology works best in hot, dry climates due to the ease of evaporation.

Advantages

Evaporative coolers generally cost significantly less than a traditional air conditioning system. They’re also considered environmentally friendly thanks to less energy required to operate.

Disadvantages

Yet, one of the biggest disadvantages of an evaporative cooler is its climate dependency. The system has little to no cooling effect in a damp environment, such as in the Gulf Coast region. It also requires diligent cleaning of the blades, nozzles, and wet pads to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Repairs & Maintenance

Aside from reasonable cleaning, maintenance includes changing the cooler pad every 3 years to 5 years. The owners manual for your system will have information on how often to change the pad.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

An air-source heat pump has the same function as a central air conditioner but differs in two key areas. First, a heat pump’s closed loop can blow hot air into and out of the home. Then, the climate-controlled air is usually distributed through a ductless mini-split system.

Advantages

An air-source heat pump is known for its energy efficiency. On average, a heat pump is three times more efficient than conventional resistance electric coils. In addition, heat pumps offer more precise temperature control than other cooling systems. Many homeowners enjoy how quiet heat pumps are when operating.

Disadvantages

Two drawbacks to heat pumps relate to the ambient temperature. Heat pumps in colder regions need a backup heat source to create enough heat during the winter. Plus, heat movement efficiency drops in homes with many rooms.

Repairs & Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for a air-source heat pump. A cared-for system lasts, on average, 15 years. Common air conditioning repairs for heat pumps include cleaning the unit’s coils and fins.

Room Air Conditioners

Room air conditioners, or ac units, do exactly what the name implies — cool an individual room. A smaller version of their centralized counterpart, these systems are usually mounted in a window with the compressor part located outside. An important difference is that a room air conditioner rating is based on the EER or cooling output divided by power consumption. The higher the EER, the more efficient the system is. But this doesn’t mean any system will fit your needs. It’s crucial to still properly size any room air conditioner before buying to receive the most cooling ability and energy saving.

Advantages

An advantage of room air conditioners is some models are capable of cooling and heating. Most units are affordable, from less than $500 to $1,500. Homeowners are usually able to install a unit themselves, only requiring an appropriate window and supports.

Disadvantages

Yet, because a room air conditioner doesn’t use ductwork, only the immediate room and surrounding area are cooled. It’s also difficult to direct where unit condensation and water drain and the unit needs a nearby electrical outlet to operate.

Repairs & Maintenance

Like a full-size system, a room air conditioner needs regular maintenance and necessary repairs to reach — and maintain — its full potential. Make sure any unit you buy is properly sized to the room it will be cooling and change or clean the air filter on a regular basis. With scheduled services from our HVAC repair company, a room air conditioner will last around 10 years. 

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

A ductless mini-split air conditioner works exactly like a central air conditioner without the ductwork. Instead, an indoor unit is located in the room being cooled, removing warm air from the room and pushing out cool, conditioned air in return. A home can have multiple indoor units, often based on the number of rooms, each connected to the outdoor unit.

Advantages

The lack of ductwork also makes these systems remarkably energy efficient; at least 25 percent of a home’s energy is lost through standard ductwork. Mini-split systems are less audible and visible when in use.

Disadvantages

The upfront cost of installation is a deterrent for many homeowners to switch to a ductless air conditioner. Then, each unit’s filter needs frequent cleaning as the fans are unable to function with a build up of dust and debris.

Repairs & Maintenance

Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help a ductless mini-split air conditioner last two decades or more. Bloomington Heating & Air has the experience and skills to maintain any ductless system to help you enjoy its cool comfort for many years.

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