Just Chill…A Guide To Air Conditioners


Now that summer has arrived, the humid temps are sure to follow. Air conditioning can be a life saver but if you live in a home without ducts, or even live in a home with ducts but are looking for better temperature targeting, you need to know what your options are.


Here’s what’s available to you:



Window Air Conditioner, cheap but not cheerful.
This system is technically called a “unitary” air conditioning system and consists of a self contained air conditioning unit that is placed in a window. The unitary system has all the refrigeration components on one compact box. It ejects heat out one end and blows cooled air out the other end. Definitely an eye sore.

Cost: The cost for this system can run from $200 for a 6000 BTU unit to $600 for a 14000 BTU unit.


Portable Air Conditioner
The same type of system as the window air conditioner (unitary), with just a few key differences to make it mobile. It is a self contained unit that is placed on the floor inside a room and discharges exhaust heat using a hose vent through an exterior wall, or amended window. Typically, these units are noisier than other types of units and generally can cool rooms under 500 sq.ft. This is a great solution if you have a “hot” room  – where your existing air conditioning system can’t quite seem to reach.

Cost: Portable units can cost $300 for a 8000 BTU unit to $600 for a 12000 BTU unit.


Ductless Air Conditioner
This is designed for homes with hot water or electric heating where ducts were not built in the house.  The condensing unit is generally located on the exterior of the home and includes the compressor, condenser and condenser fan. The evaporative unit is located on inside of the home on an outside wall, and handles the air cooling and distribution.

Not only are these a much quieter option to the unitary systems, they are also extremely energy efficient. Installation can be tricky because of the tubing that needs to be properly (and discreetly) passed through walls so it is not recommended that you do this yourself.

Cost: Starts at $750 for a 9000 BTU unit, installation not included.


SpacePak High Velocity Air Conditioners
The most expensive brand of ductless air conditioning that has become increasing popular. Often referred to as “attic systems” they are normally installed in a home’s attic. Using hidden and discreet piping, vents and ductwork to connect the unit in the attic to the unit in the living space, this system will not interfere with your home’s decor and design. The SpacePak delivers consistent cooling throughout the entire home and provides fast and efficient dehumidification. It is designed for homes with electrical or hot water heating and no ductwork. As it is with all ductless air conditioners, this is an intricate system and requires proper installation – definitely not a weekend DIY project! The labour is what drives the price but in the long run, the efficiency of your home will save you money, not to mention make it more comfortable.

Cost: Starts at $20,000, installation included.





Photo Credit:  Merton Wilton / Foter / CC BY-NC

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