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How to Choose Between a Central, Room and Portable Residential Air Conditioner for your Edmonton Home

When you are searching for the best cooling system around, first ask yourself if you need to cool down your entire home or just a single room? By knowing this, you will be able to come up with the excellent choice that fits the size and type of the residential air conditioner that you require.

To help you in determining the perfect A/C for your beautiful Edmonton home, we came up with a list of the various kinds of A/Cs and their corresponding advantages and disadvantages.

Kinds of Air Conditioners

A rise in the air’s temperature along with the blinding heat of the sun results in an annoying and scorching indoor atmosphere. An A/C can reduce the air temperature and the level of humidity to create a cool and comfortable home environment.

An A/C functions in as much the same way as a refrigerator. It removes the heat from inside your home and releases it outdoors.

There are primarily two kinds of A/C: a room A/C and a central A/C.

Room Air Conditioners

A room A/C is only capable of cooling down just one room or a tiny space. It runs on electric power,and a duct system to deliver the cool air is not a requirement. In contrast to central A/Cs, a room A/C’s cooling parts come in just one package. They are also more affordable and easier to install than a central A/C system. Furthermore, a room A/C is way more economical.

A room A/C is either a:

  • Window-mounted A/C –is effective in cooling down a room that is around 300 to 1,800 square feet in diameter. When you mount it, you leave the other half of your unit visible on the outside while its other half fits snugly inside your room. Plexiglas (an acrylic sheet utilized as an alternative to glass) covers the expanse of the open space amidst your AC and window. A window-mounted A/C is also cheaper than other models, works well with your home’s current electrical wirings and is not at all complicated to install. Furthermore, it is also easy to pack and store away window-mounted A/Cs by the end of summer.
  • Through-the-wall -these A/C models are a permanent fixtures on your home’s walls. Make sure that the entire unit is properly insulated to limit the amount of cool air escaping outside so that it remains energy efficient. Even if they are more appealing to look at, requires easier repairs and replacements in contrast to window A/Cs, they are a bit expensive to install.
  • Portable A/C – are effective in cooling a room around 300 to 400 square feet in diameter. Even though it is possible for you to transfer your portable A/C from one room to another, they are more expensive and also consumes more electricity. Furthermore, they are very noisy too since the unit is inside your room.

Central Air Conditioners

A central A/C is capable of cooling down your entire home via the duct system of your home’s heating system. It means that the cool air from your reliable A/C circulates inside your home via some duct systems and registers.These are openings that are often on floors, and is also covered by grills.

If a typical room A/C only requires you to shell out a few hundred dollars, the installation of a central A/C system will put a big dent on your wallet. It will likely cost you around $4,000 up to $10,000. It all depends whether your home also requires the installation of a forced-air furnace and duct system. But you can be sure that after its installation, your new central A/C is worry-free, more efficient and very quiet.

A central A/C is either a split-system unit or a packaged unit.

  • Split System –you need to install a metal cabinet in your home’s exterior that will house the unit’s compressor and condenser. The indoor cabinet will also shelter the evaporator along with the furnace where your evaporator coil is in.
  • Packaged -a central A/C compressor, evaporator, and condenser are all inside one cabinet and are usually on your home’s roof or any concrete slab beside the foundation of your house. A packaged A/C usually comes together with a natural gas heater. The indoor supply of warm air passes through your home’s exterior walls or roof and makes contact with the packaged A/C that will distribute the cool air in the house.

Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners

You can determine your room and your central A/Cs energy efficiency through its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Its SEER is the rate of your overall cooling capacity (its measurement is in BTU or the British Thermal Unit)to its power output (measurement is in Watts). Your A/C is said to be more energy efficient if it earns a high SEER score.

A central A/C requires an SEER of 13 or above that to pass and earn an Energy Star Label. Meanwhile, a room A/C requires to earn a rating of 10.7 to 10.8 for a model that has fewer than 20,000 BTU/ hour. Hence, a central A/C is way more energy efficient in contrast to a regular room A/C.

By design, a room A/C only cools down just one room and not your whole house. And since they only cool down a room when necessary, a room A/C is more affordable to operate compared to a central A/C despite its obvious inefficiency.

Room A/Cs vs. Central A/Cs

It is evident that the decision of choosing a room A/C or a central A/C relies on the part of your home that needs cooling. But there are also other factors that you need to take into consideration:

  1. If you are just renting out an apartment and are planning on buying your home later on, spending a lot of money on a pricey central A/C system is not financially wise at all. You can conveniently take your room A/C with you when you leave your old apartment and install it in your new home.
  2. A central A/C is an excellent choice if you already have a current central air ductwork.

Deciding whether to go for a room A/C or a central A/C is more challenging than most people think it is.

Room A/C

  1. A window-mounted A/C is a cheap alternative for tight places lacking in space, especially if you are still living in an apartment.However, this kind of A/C emits a loud noise and obstructs a portion of your window.
  2. A wall-mounted A/C is not as noisy as a window-mounted A/C, but the catch is its higher price tag.
  3. A portable A/C is not as efficient as window or wall-mounted A/C models. It is also a more expensive investment and incurs a higher cost to operate. However, it is an excellent choice if you are looking for an A/C that you can move around from one room to another.

Central A/C

  1. If you already have an existing furnace at home, a split-system central A/C is the most practical choice for your home’s central A/C system.
  2. A packaged central A/C also works as your home’s central furnace. You will no longer need another indoor furnace unit to heat up your home.

Coming Up With the Right Choice

Whatever kind of A/C you eventually choose, be it a room or central A/C, you need to look into the following technical considerations to find the perfect A/C for your home.

  1. Power –having a small equipment that constantly runs over long periods is considerably more efficient than another A/C unit that repeatedly stops and starts again. Equipment that operates for longer periods also translates to a decrease in humidity levels. A low humidity level in your Edmonton home equals to more comfort and better indoor air quality.
  2. Energy Efficiency / Consumption –always consult the EnerGuide Label (it shows the SEER score of the unit). Your A/C unit will eat up less energy if it has a high SEER score. It is highly relevant and helpful when making a decision between two different units that showcases almost similar features.
  3. Noise Level –all A/C shows its noise rating. A noise level of 80 decibels is tolerable. If it is higher than 89, you might get into a conflict with your Edmonton neighbors, and even the law.


The perfect A/C for your Edmonton home will not only help you survive the scorching Summer heat, but it will also protect your wallet by lowering your monthly energy bills.

You can decide amidst a room or a central air conditioner for your beloved Edmonton home. A room AC is capable of cooling down just one room and can be a wall or window-mounted type. You can also opt for a portable AC that you can move from one room of the house to another. A central AC is powerful enough to cool your entire home through the existing duct system of your Edmonton home’s heating system.

The area you intend to cool is the biggest factor that can affect your decision between a room and a central air conditioner. A central AC is obviously more energy efficient than a room AC. But then, a room AC is more cost-effective to operate because you only use them when needed.

A residential air conditioner with similar features can be compared according to their energy efficiency, power, and their noise level so that you can come up with the perfect air conditioning choice for your Edmonton home.