You may have more choices for an air conditioner for your home than you realize, as a ducted or central unit is not the only option available to homeowners today. While having more choices for home air conditioning can be good, as it means you can find something that fits your budget and meets your needs in particular, it can also be a bit confusing to some homeowners, who may assume that central air conditioning or a window unit are their only options. To help you narrow down your selection and find the right air conditioning system for your home, note some information about two alternative types of air conditioning you might consider for your home.
Split and multi-split systems
A split system is often installed in hotels; this unit is a permanent installation and isn't removed, like a window unit, and it blows cool air through a vent on its front, not through all the ducts and vents in the home's walls. Multi-split systems use a common compressor outside the home, and this compressor is connected to several of these vents, so you can then install them in different rooms.
Two advantages of a split system are that it's much cheaper to install than a central unit, and it uses less power, since you're only cooling one area of the home at a time. An added advantage of multi-split systems is that they allow you to cool various areas of the home individually, so each person in the home can control the cooling of their space.
Portable units sit on the ground and blow cool air through a vent in their front. These are also very affordable, and can even be used to cool rooms of the home that are not reached by a central air conditioner, such as a finished attic. Portable units are also good if you tend to spend time in just one room of the home, so you won't be cooling the entire home while just working in the home office, as an example. You can even bring this unit from room to room!
However, note that portable units have a vent hose that needs to be set in a window, so they're not good for rooms that don't have some type of working exterior window. They're also not necessarily the most energy-efficient choice, as they need to work very hard to cool and circulate air, so you need to be prepared for more expensive energy bills if you choose a portable air conditioner unit.