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Despite the lack of ductwork, boiler systems can easily be supplemented with highly effective air conditioning. In most parts of the country, air conditioning is an essential element in a home comfort package, and just because you live in a home or apartment heated by a boiler does not mean you have to endure the sweltering summer heat.
For boiler system owners, there are three good air conditioning options: window units (one or more), a ductless mini-split system (one or more), or a ducted air conditioning installation. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but there is enough flexibility here that you should be able to find a satisfactory solution regardless of your living situation.
Let’s take a closer look at these three possibilities …
Window units are ideal if you live in an apartment (landlords won’t care if you install them), or if you tend to spend a significant amount of time in the room or rooms where they’ll be located. Also, they work well in climates (like in the desert, for example) where temperatures cool considerably at night, so you don’t have to install one in your bedroom and can still be comfortable if you turn the one in your living room or dining area off while you’re sleeping.
Some people are bothered by the noise of window units, and sometimes their cooling effect is so concentrated it can make the rooms they’re in feel excessively cold. Overall, they are not the most efficient choice if you want to keep the entire home cool and comfortable on the hottest of the hot days.
If you want to remain ductless, mini split systems are a potentially cost-efficient alternative.
In these systems, an outdoor condensing unit is connected to a controllable indoor unit through a hole in the wall. The indoor unit is relatively small and can easily be installed on the ceiling or on the wall, and multiple indoor units can be linked together if you want cool air piped to several rooms. Or, alternatively, you can install more than one ductless mini split system in different areas of the home, as a way to create a zoned cooling effect. This of course is more expensive, but mini split systems waste very little energy and are therefore highly economical.
And here’s an added bonus: because ductless mini split systems actually use heat pumps, they can be used as a supplement to your boiler heating system on cold winter days.
Obviously, this is not an option if you are a renter. But if you are a homeowner, the chances are good that you can find at least some room to install some ductwork, plus registers, if you’re willing to invest in a traditional outdoor/indoor central air conditioning system.
Many times, new ductwork systems are run through the attic, where space is often available. Or they may be installed in the basement, or possibly in an adjacent garage if your basement or attic are too cramped. Even a small ductwork system can potentially cool the areas of the home you occupy most frequently, which could make a new ducted system a viable in your case.
If you heat with a boiler and would like to add an air conditioner, your smartest move is to contact ABE Heating and Cooling to make an appointment for an evaluation. After inspecting your home, our technician will explain the pros and cons of each air conditioning option (including those related to price and cost), and make a final recommendation if you remain undecided.