All About Central Air Conditioners All About Central Air Conditioners

Most homes, regardless of whether or not they are situated in a hot climate, benefit from an air conditioner of some kind. A central air system or other type of air conditioning unit can help moderate and regulate the temperature and humidity in part or all of your home. Continue reading for additional basic information about central air conditioners and their installation.

How Does a Central Air Conditioner Work?

A central air conditioner uses a refrigeration cycle to stabilize the temperature of a room at a controlled level. Unlike smaller air conditioning systems, which may rely on a small set of cooling and condensing coils to regulate humidity levels and air temperature, a central air conditioning system is comprised of a larger centralized cooling station.

Central air conditioners deliver chilled air throughout a multi-room home or office by means of an in-wall duct or pipe system. Some central air conditioner systems distribute cold water to miniaturized air conditioner systems in various rooms.

Package System or Split System?

There are two primary types of centralized air conditioning systems. A package system collects all of the component pieces in one container, which often hangs outside of a window or on a roof. In contrast, a split system central air conditioner separates the condenser coils from the evaporating system.

Benefits of Using a Centralized Air Conditioning System

Centralized air conditioners are easier to manage and maintain than smaller air conditioner units, having the benefit of a single system. Unlike air conditioner units inside of individual rooms, centralized systems (particularly package systems located outside) tend to operate quieter and more smoothly. Finally, many centralized air conditioner units serve as allergen controllers and dust collectors in a home. They draw in dirty air, filter out debris and other contaminants, and feed clean, temperature and humidity controlled air back into a room.

Cost of Installing and Maintaining a Central Air Conditioner

The cost of installing and maintaining a centralized air conditioning system in your home depends upon both the size of your home and the ductwork. Typically, it costs on the scale of $4000 plus labor costs to install an air conditioning system in a moderately sized home with preexisting ductwork. However, this cost may more than double if proper ducts do not already exist.

Maintain your air conditioning system according to the manufacturer or installer instructions. Typically, the air filter must be replaced every 2-3 months, depending upon how dirty your air is and how frequently you operate the system. Additional repairs will be needed less frequently.

Whether you are looking to install an air conditioning system in your home or are considering purchasing a home with an air conditioning system, understand the basics about centralized air conditioning and how it can dramatically increase both the value and livability of a home. Speak with an air conditioner installation company or professional for further advice based upon your specific situation.


If you're looking to purchase an air conditioner, check out our Air Conditioners Buyer's Guide.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!