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Last updated: October 11, 2023

Central Air Conditioners: A Way for Year-Round Comfort

Are they Right for You and Factors to Consider before Buying One

Central air conditioning systems

Mankind’s curiosity has led us to relentlessly pursue things we do not understand and in turn, make remarkable discoveries. With the discoveries and knowledge comes the need to better our lives and make them as comfortable as one can, both inside and out. The need for comfort has led to remarkable innovations such as the air conditioners we use. They make the sweltering heat of the summer and chilly winters bearable.

Over the years, several different types of air conditioners have been invented, which are suitable to varying needs and requirements. Central air conditioners are the most commonly found air conditioners in homes across the US. Here, we will discuss briefly how a central air conditioner works, the benefits of installing one, and factors you need to consider before having one installed.

All said and done, you also need to find a reliable, trustworthy installer that ensures you get what you asked for. Finding the right installer, however, is a daunting task. You call several installers explaining your requirements, request quotes, and then compare each in a bid to find the one that suits you best, especially within your budget.

GreenMatch simplifies this task to a mere click for you. Click on the button below, fill out the form and we will do the rest for you. We will match up to 3 certified installers for you and get their quotes to compare. Our services are free with no obligation.

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How Does a Central Air Conditioner Work?

Central air conditioners are a complex system specifically designed to remove heat from indoors and expel it outdoors. This leaves the indoors of your home pleasantly cool and comfortable. Several key components come together to form a central air conditioning system. These components run on the principles of thermodynamics to ensure you enjoy comfortably cool environment inside your home.

We have discussed the key components of a central air conditioning system below:


The compressor is located in the outdoor unit, the compressor plays a vital role in the cooling process. It pressurizes the refrigerant and converts it from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure, high-temperature gas.


The condenser is also in the outdoor unit and acts as a heat exchanger. It allows the hot, pressurized refrigerant gas to release its heat into the surrounding air. This causes the refrigerant to condense and turn into a high-pressure liquid.


The evaporator is located in the indoor unit and works as a heat exchanger too. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant passes through the evaporator's coils and absorbs heat from the inside air. This causes the refrigerant to transform back into a low-pressure gas.


The refrigerant is the blood of the air conditioning system. It circulates between the indoor and outdoor units, changing from liquid to gaseous state back and forth, absorbing and releasing heat in the process. This continuous process cools the inside of your home.

The cooling cycle begins with the fan pulling in the hot air from inside your home and passing it through evaporator coils which contain the liquid refrigerant. The heat from the air converts the refrigerant into low-pressure gas, which then passes to the compressor. Here, the liquid is pressurized into high-pressure, high-temperature gas.

This high-pressure, high-temperature refrigerant gas then enters the condenser where it is condensed into a high-pressure liquid as the heat is released into the outside air. From there, the liquid refrigerant flows back to the indoor evaporator coils, where it absorbs heat from the indoor air, turning it into a low-pressure gas. The cooled air is then distributed throughout your home and the process keeps repeating until the set temperature is reached.

One other important part of an air conditioning system is the thermostat. This is where you control and set your desired temperature. Whenever the temperature goes above the set temperature, the thermostat triggers the cooling process.

Types of Central Air Conditioners

There are two main types of central air conditioners – split air conditioners and packaged air conditioners. Below, we have discussed each briefly to give you a better understanding of the differences between the two.

Split Air Conditioners

Split air conditioners have two separate components, an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is placed inside the house which has the fan and the evaporator coil. The outdoor unit is placed on the outside of your home and contains the compressor and the condenser. These air conditioners are usually installed in homes that do not have an existing ductwork. You can also install a split air conditioner if you want to get rid of the ductwork completely.

Packaged air conditioners

Most homes across the country are equipped with packaged air conditioners. This air conditioner requires a complex ductwork system to be able to function optimally. Unlike a split system, all the components of an air conditioner are housed in a single unit, which is either placed inside or outside your home. The cool air is passed through the house via vents installed in the rooms that are connected via the ductwork.

Certified installers can help you choose the one that best fits your home’s existing structure and requirements. Finding an installer you can trust and rely on is, however, a difficult task. You will need to spend hours calling one installer after the other, explaining your requirements and requesting quotes. Then you sit and compare these quotes trying to find the one that best suits your requirements and budget.

GreenMatch can help you simplify the process. Simply click on the button below and fill out the form, and we’ll take care of the rest. We will match you up with up to 3 certified installers and get their quotes to compare. Our service is free with no obligation.

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Advantages of Installing a Central Air Conditioner

Installing a central air conditioner comes with several benefits for you. Below we explore the advantages of installing a central air conditioner in your home:

A central AC provides consistent cooling throughout your home compared to other air conditioners. A central uniformly keeps every area of your home comfortably cool, in accordance with the temperature you’ve set in the thermostat.

All central ACs are equipped with advanced filtration systems. The air filters in a central AC remove dust, pollen and other allergens present in your home. In turn, it creates a cleaner and healthier indoor environment for you to breathe in.

Central air conditioners usually have a higher upfront cost, but help you save on your energy bills in the long run. Air conditioners with higher SEER ratings, between 14 and 20, are not only highly energy efficient but help you save costs in the long run.

Most ACs, such as window AC or portable air conditioners, make a lot of noise when running. Central air conditioners are comparatively quieter and create a more peaceful environment inside your home.

Factors to Consider When Buying Central Air Conditioners

Installing a central installation is a lucrative idea for long-term cost savings and having a system that functions optimally. It is important to know whether a central AC system is appropriate for your home or not. You should know whether installing a central AC would truly be cost-effective in the long run.

There are certain factors that you need to take into consideration before buying and installing a central air conditioning system in your home. These factors are discussed below:

Cooling Capacity and Size

All air conditioning systems are available in different capacities and sizes. It is important to choose the size and capacity of the AC according to your home’s requirements. Depending on the area that requires cooling, you should choose the size and capacity of the system. If you have an undersized system installed, it will be unable to function optimally and cool the place efficiently. Hence, it would be advisable to consult a certified installer and have them analyze the capacity and size that would be appropriate for your home.

Energy Efficiency

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of the energy required by a system to cool your home. The higher the SEER ratings, the higher the efficiency of the air conditioner. Hence, it is advisable to check the SEER ratings of the system you’re installing. A system with a low SEER (below 14) may not be able to work as efficiently as a system with SEER ratings between 14 and 20.

Maintenance Requirements

For an air conditioner to work efficiently and longer, it requires regular maintenance. Maintenance usually includes regularly cleaning and changing air filters, checking for the refrigerant levels, inspecting and cleaning condenser coils, and checking for proper electrical connections. Before buying and having a central AC installed, it would be advisable to consider any specific maintenance requirements and ease of maintenance associated with the model you choose.

To avoid unnecessary maintenance issues from arising, it is advisable to have a certified HVAC installer handle the installation. Proper installation is just as essential for optimal and efficient running of an air conditioner.

Warranty and Brand Reliability

Every manufacturing company offers a manufacturer’s warranty along with some incentives and guarantees you get from the HVAC installer you choose. Check for the reliability and reputation of the brand you’re choosing. Consider the reviews from other customers for the brand before you invest in it.

Cost of a Central Air Conditioner

The average cost of a central air conditioner can range between $2,500 to $3,500, depending on the size or capacity of the air conditioner you install. The cost also varies between the different manufacturing brands, which ranges between $2,200 and $3,600. These price ranges are the average cost based on our research, excluding installation costs.

Other than capacity and brand, the cost of a central AC also depends on its efficiency rating and installation requirements. The initial cost of installing a central AC is essentially high, however, the long-term energy savings help cover the investment you’ve made in the beginning. Moreover, rebates and incentives offered by government and utility companies, along with other financing options make the upfront costs more manageable.

A certified HVAC installer can help you determine the cost you would incur for installing a central AC. GreenMatch can match you up with up to 3 reliable and trustworthy HVAC installers. All you have to do is click the button below and fill out the form. Our service is free with no obligation.

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