Heating & Cooling

Air Conditioners (Central)

A central air conditioner evaporates a liquid refrigerant to absorb heat from your home. The system then compresses the refrigerant and condenses it from a vapour to a liquid, releasing the heat so that the cooled/liquid refrigerant can be expanded and sent back into the home, where it starts the cycle again. 

There are two types of central air conditioner systems to choose from: 

  • Split systems – which have an outdoor cabinet which compresses and condenses the refrigerant, releasing heat outdoors. The indoor cabinet expands and evaporates the refrigerant, absorbing heat. If your home already has a furnace, a split-system is the most economical central air conditioner to install. 
  • Packaged central air conditioning system – in which all of the components are located in one cabinet; usually placed on a roof or on a slab next to your house’s foundation. Ducts go through the home’s exterior wall or roof to connect with the air conditioner outdoors. Packaged air conditioners often include electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace, eliminating the need for a separate furnace indoors. 

What to Look For 

  • An ENERGY STAR® certified high-efficiency central air conditioner that uses 8% less energy, on average, than a standard model. 
  • The right size unit for your home is essential. If the unit is too small it won’t be able to properly cool your home. If the unit is too big it will cycle on and off frequently – wasting energy and inflating your utility bill. 
  • A unit with a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). 

Things to Consider 

  • Consider getting a ceiling fan or a heat pump, which use less energy and can still keep your rooms comfortable. 
  • When setting the temperature for your home, aim for comfort, not chill. Set the temperature between 25 and 27°C. 
  • Keep your system clean – regularly clean filters (check every two weeks), coils and duct work to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Consult your owner’s manual for detailed instructions. 
  • Before you replace any your AC, schedule a Home Energy Evaluation which can help you understand how your home currently uses energy. 
  • Check with your municipality, utility or retailer to see if there are any rebates available. 


$2,400 to more than $6,000. 

Source: Natural Resources Canada