Until a few years ago, air conditioners were known only as big, square, boxlike structures that rested outside window sills and made a lot of noise. Times have changed, technology has advanced, and today, the simple box has evolved into multiple variants, each having its own unique features, characteristics, and advantages.
These are the boxlike machines that have been around for many years. They are also referred to as 'self-contained air conditioners', as all of their components are housed in a single box.
As the name suggests, these are characterized by a split design framework, wherein the compressor component is installed outside the window, and the air duct or air vent is installed inside the room. They are typically suited for single-room cooling.
These are also based on the split design framework, but they are more technologically advanced. They are capable of cooling more than one room. Bigger central A/Cs are quite capable of effectively cooling an entire building. In this, both the compressor as well as condenser units are typically installed outside the rooms, on the outer walls of the building.
Features of a Good Central A/C
Central air conditioners come in different types, sizes, and capacities, with each type having been designed for specific needs and cooling requirements. For example, a central A/C that provides adequate cooling for a two bedroom apartment may not be suitable to cool an entire three story building.
Therefore, what may be the perfect choice for a residential apartment may not necessarily be the same for a factory warehouse. As a result, no single A/C can be labeled as the best.
However, based on certain common features, we can judge and compare the performance, effectiveness, and suitability of different types on a relative basis. Here are some important aspects given which determine how good your central A/C is.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating is an indication of how efficient an A/C is. As per rules and regulations, only central A/Cs that have a minimum SEER rating of 10 are permitted to be used or sold in the United States. These days, however, the common SEER rating found in most of the central A/Cs ranges between 13 and 20.
Unit Size and Capacity:
A large A/C is not necessarily the best one. High-end central A/Cs may provide more cooling, but they come at a much higher cost. Excessive cooling affects the internal moisture level which, in turn, may require additional dehumidifying. Maintaining the moisture level within the room is quite important in terms of energy efficiency.
Air Duct Placement:
Central air conditioning is used in a variety of places ranging from homes and offices to cinema halls. The type and positioning of the air ducts differs, depending upon the cooling requirements and room dimensions. In most cases, there is a single supply air duct that is located a few inches below the ceiling and which runs along the length of the wall.
Certain advanced central A/Cs use a multiple duct system, wherein ducts are located at both the top corner as well as the diagonally-opposite bottom corner of a room. This helps in better and faster air circulation.
High-end central A/Cs tend to have advanced air filters in the return air duct which absorb airborne dust particles and other microscopic pollutants, thereby keeping your room dust-free and germ-free.
To conclude, an A/C that provides you with adequate cooling, has a good SEER rating, is energy-efficient, long-lasting, and offers you good value for your money is the best central A/C for you.