Before the advent of home air conditioning systems, the best you could do as the temperature climbed outside was to open windows and turn on a fan.
Nowadays, there are different types of systems for cooling your home depending on one's budget and lifestyle.
Central air conditioning
A common option for many homes in North America, central air conditioning systems are integrated with furnaces to provide cooling throughout your home during the summer months. Refrigerant circulates through a coil in your supply ductwork to remove heat from your air and provide cool air to your house. This method is convenient because it uses existing ductwork and provides comfort throughout your home.
If your home is small or you don’t have a duct system, you can use a window unit to cool an area in your home. You aren’t limited to one window unit. You can install one per bedroom and one in the living room for example. The main benefits are individual room control and less energy consumption since you’re not cooling your entire house all the time.
If you’d rather not see a large unit on your wall, a small mini split provides an alternative to the window unit. With many sleek designs, these units are more aesthetically pleasing while allowing individual room control. As with window units, they don’t cool your entire home and are often used for homes without existing ductwork.
Mini split units use one outdoor condensing unit for each indoor unit. If you want cooling in multiple rooms without having more than one outdoor unit, a multi split unit may be right for you. This allows for individual room control as well as the possibility of cooling your entire house. Keep in mind that it isn’t cheap and there are limitations on the length of refrigerant piping so you may still need to supplement with another air conditioner for more distant rooms.
Heat pumps are becoming more common because they provide both heating and cooling, making them ideal for shoulder seasons like spring and fall. This decision depends on where you live and what heating system you have as well as your home heating and cooling needs.