There are two common types of air conditioning systems used in a modern home. The most common is known as the central air conditioning system and the other is ductless air conditioning. Both types have a wide variety of efficiency levels. These systems are rated by S.E.E.R. ratings (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) and the minimum is currently 13.0 in the Northern part of the country. The higher the number the less electricity they use to cool the home. The higher grade systems generally have added features that help increase comfort level and lower system noise levels.
Air handlers are the part of the air conditioning system that is installed in the house in which the ductwork is connected to. The most common air handlers use a PSE (normal) motor. A PSE motor is set by placing the fan speed wires on preset taps. The second type uses an ECM (variable speed) motor which is set by the technician for the desired speed to achieve maximum performance ,and then the control board adjusts the fan speed up and down according to the air handler’s mode. In the higher efficiency systems it is almost a must have feature.
Condensers are the portion of the system that goes outside the home where the heat of the house is rejected to the outdoors. These pieces of equipment come in different efficiencies and also in single stage cooling or multi-stage cooling and are available in many models which will fit almost any budget.
If a house has forced hot air, it is possible to add a cooling coil to the top of the furnace either at the time of install or to an existing system. These furnaces also can use either PSE or ECM motors.
The second type is ductless air conditioning. Ductless units are available in cooling only or in heat pump models. With the growing popularity of these systems heat pumps are becoming the more commonly installed system because you can have both heating and cooling. In the last few years great strides have been made with heat pumps and now they can work at much colder temperatures than in the past. With this type of installation it is possible to put one outside unit with multiple indoor units.