Air conditioners cool the air by removing moisture and heat from the inside air. They do this by using a refrigerant to transfer the heat from the outside to the indoors. This is often done through a heat exchanger which takes the hot air outside and transfers it to the cooler indoors. Some air conditioners also use an evaporator to do this and can be found with one or more evaporator coils.
Split-system air conditioners are designed for the homeowner who does not want a central air conditioner. These are generally more expensive than other types, though they also tend to be more energy efficient. Because they don’t need to run all the time, they are much less likely to break down or become dysfunctional. The benefit is that by using only one indoor air handler and by providing only partial temperature control, these split system air conditioners can provide the homeowner with cool air coverage even when there are several rooms in the house that the central air conditioner did not cover.
Variable-speed air conditioners are a third option, generally available for homeowners looking for slightly less expensive units. They work in the same way as split-systems, except that instead of needing a full-speed fan for speed control, the unit uses a variable-speed motor to regulate the temperature. The result is that you can still get the cool air, but the unit can’t work as hard to cool off the room as it could with a single speed motor.
Condensers are used in most every type of air conditioner. In the case of a window model, this is usually an outdoor unit placed inside a building. (Other types of air conditioners may use a combination of indoor and outdoor condensers.) When you talk about the difference between an indoor and outdoor unit, there are a few points to consider. First, outdoor conditioners use a fan that is usually larger than those used indoors, which means that they need to have more space in order to draw in air and condense it into a usable liquid, often known as condensation.
An indoor unit is the opposite, in that it uses a small fan and fewer parts to make it run. In particular, this means that an indoor unit is usually less expensive to install, since there are no complex heats and cooling cycles to deal with. A downside is that many heating and cooling companies will not install indoor conditioners on your own unless you have extra electrical power available. For those who have extra electrical power, however, this can be a great advantage. After all, if you do not have access to the power source yourself, an indoor cooling system may save you money over time, since the system does not need to run as frequently.
It is important to remember, too, that while central air conditioners are generally more energy-efficient than portable units, they are not totally energy-efficient. This is because when it comes time to turn the unit on, it requires more energy than just pulling in air from a nearby compressor. Portable units can also lose energy, if they are left sitting for a long period of time, since these often operate using a low metabolism. Overall, although it may seem like central air conditioners are more expensive, they actually save money in the long run because they require less energy to run and do not waste energy. If you want to reduce your energy bill, consider purchasing a central air conditioner with an energy-efficient design.