If you are trying to decide what kind of air conditioning (AC) to install in a new house, or you currently have a window AC unit that is inefficient, you may want to consider a ducted AC system. Ducted air conditioning is most commonly known as central AC, and it features a system of ducts that are hidden in your walls, of efficient cooling and heating for larger spaces, and zone control settings that let you heat and cool different rooms at different thermostat settings.
It Works With Ducts -- HVAC contractors install central AC by building ducts inside the walls of your house and running them through the ceiling. These ducts force cold and warm air through vents or grilles placed in your living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathrooms. The temperature is controlled by a thermostat panel mounted on your wall, and a condenser unit is placed outside to minimize noise when the AC is on.
Insulation Increases Ducted AC Efficiency -- Before you have your ducted AC system installed, many HVAC contractors advise that you insulate your doors and windows to maximize the efficiency of the central AC system. Because ducted AC blows through your entire house, it's vital that you keep as much cool and warm air inside as possible. One way to insulate your windows is to have them tinted to reduce glare and to minimize the amount of heat coming into your home. In addition, weather stripping your windows is an affordable way to seal any openings where air can leak out and reduce the efficiency of your central AC system.
Zoned Ducted AC Gives You Better Options -- Traditional ducted AC only offers you one thermostat that controls your entire home. That means that every room in your home that has vents will be cooled or heated at the exact same temperature, which may not be very efficient if some of your rooms are barely inhabited or used. To solve this problem, ducted AC manufacturers have now created 'zones' that let you set different temperature settings for different rooms in your home. With a zone ducted AC system, you can set your living room to a lower temperature for cooling than a guest bedroom that isn't used very often. This reduces the amount of energy expended by your AC and can save you money. However, ducted AC with a zone option will increase your installation costs, but the savings could be worth the additional price.