When it comes to picking out a new air conditioner, there are a wide variety of factors that you will need to take into account. You want to get a unit that will be cheap to run, yet won't have a huge impact on your daily life and won't break the bank with the installation cost. To help you figure out the best kind of new air conditioner for your situation, here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
Do you have a sufficient ventilation system in place already?
Your first concern should be whether or not you have a strong ventilation system in place. If you do not, then installing a new central air conditioner is going to cost you a lot more than just the AC installation price. You will need to set up air ducts, since a central unit will be unable to distribute the cold output without the help of ventilation.
Even if you have ventilation, you want to check and see just how effective it is. If there are blockages in the ventilation or if it is worn down, then a lot of your HVAC output could get lost and wasted.
If you do have problems with your ventilation, then a central unit might not be best. Instead, you might want to consider getting a window-based unit.
How much do you use your air conditioner?
You also want to think about exactly how much you use your air conditioner and for how long. If you live somewhere that has a reasonably temperate climate, then you might only use your air conditioner for a small portion of the year. If that's the case, then a window-based unit or a heat pump might be more efficient.
However, if you do use your AC a lot, then a central unit will often offer the highest efficiency. While window-based units can be efficient for cooling small rooms without wasting cool air on other rooms, a central unit is your best bet when it comes to handling an entire building.
Do you want to combine your heating and air conditioning needs?
Finally, you might be interested in a heat pump if you have a particular interest in combining your heating and air conditioning needs. These units operate at very high efficiency when you only want to change the temperature of your home by a handful of degrees, but they become pretty expensive when that gap grows. Therefore, they are a good choice if you live in a temperate climate and a poorer choice if you live in an extreme climate.