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Your beach home is an investment designed to bring relaxation and enjoyment for years. But, hot, humid weather can make it an unbearable retreat. If you’re renting it out as a side income, you need to make sure your guests are comfortable, especially at night when they’re trying to sleep. If it’s your own getaway, your comfort is also a priority. 

An air conditioning system is the ideal way to stay cool and comfortable, but there are special considerations when it comes to installing a system at your beach home. All Year Cooling’s experts have suggestions on how to make sure you have the ideal system for your needs.

Special Considerations Before You Begin

Beach home air conditioning systems require a few extra considerations before you even begin. The first is that the closer you are to the beach, the more humid it might be. For this reason, you need an AC system that is a very good dehumidifier.

The salt air is also corrosive. You don’t want any outside wiring corroding quickly, so make sure the materials used in the system’s wiring and electricals resist corrosion.

If you’re very close to the ocean, an extremely high tide or hurricane might come up to your cottage. Make sure you have a place where you can put the outdoor AC components as high above sea level as possible. If you can, rooftop components can be ideal.

The final thing to consider is that you may not be in your beach home every weekend. If there are times when it isn’t being used, you won’t need to have the AC running at a low temperature. A programmable thermostat or smart thermostat helps you run the AC at different settings depending on when it is and isn’t being used.

Explore the Best Types of AC Systems For Your Beach Home

Window AC units are one option for a beach home, but they aren’t often the best choice as they consume a lot of energy. Historic homes in Miami shouldn’t have window AC units per city guidelines. There are more efficient window and portable AC units now, but they’re not as energy-efficient as central air or a mini-split system. For that reason, we’re moving on to the other two.

Central AC is ideal as it cools an entire beach house rather than just one area. You do need to have ductwork in place. If you don’t, it costs more to install ducts. Ducts can be easy to install in some beach homes, but it’s not ideal for every home. Many Miami beach homes have concrete block systems (CBS), which means lines have to go through materials like concrete and stucco. That can drive up the costs substantially.

A ductless mini-split system is a great option when you have an open floor plan, but it depends on the age of the system. Special rules are in place with historic Miami homes. Make sure you understand the rules. In a modern beach home, a ductless mini-split is wall-mounted and doesn’t require ducts to be installed. The downfall is that they only cool the area where the wall-mounted unit is located.

Another problem with an older home is that there could be special rules in place regarding the structure’s historical value. Adding an AC system may require a certificate of appropriateness (COA) from the City of Miami. It’s something to look into if your beach home is older. Some of the rules in Miami historic homes include:

  • AC equipment that is flush-mounted with a wall or installed on a roof cannot be visible from the street or sidewalk.
  • Window air conditioners are discouraged.
  • Central AC systems are preferred.

Work with an air conditioning expert in southern Florida to ensure that any improvements you make in terms of air conditioning and insulation follow codes. The last thing you want is to pay for an expensive AC system and learn it violated a City of Miami code.

Factors That Go Into Sizing Your AC System

You don’t want an AC system that is oversized or undersized. Many homeowners believe a system that’s larger than they need will cool faster and save money. It does cool faster, but the turning on and off wears out parts like the fans and electrical relays faster. An undersized system runs constantly and uses more electricity because it doesn’t shut off. That also wears out the AC’s components faster.

Replacement parts and repairs get costly, which is why you want to make sure the system is appropriately sized. You’ll have a cool, comfortable beach house and a system that provides trouble-free performance.

Choosing an AC system that is the right size is one of the first things that has to be decided. Square footage of the beach house is important, but you also have to weigh how many people will typically be at the beach house, how many windows it has, and how high the ceilings are. 

A beach house is not likely insulated, so there may be more air loss.  It’s worth looking into insulation to help keep cooling costs down. You should also check the doors and windows for air leaks. Adding more weatherstripping or even replacing older windows and doors with new ones will help your AC work effectively.

If the beach home is in an open area and exposed to a lot of sun, you need an AC system that can keep the rooms cold, even when the sun is beating down. Awnings over patio doors and windows keep the sun from heating the rooms inside, which makes the AC system work harder.

Choose an Energy Efficient System and Lower Your Electricity Bills

You’re probably not using your beach home year-round, so you have to find the most efficient system for the months when you’re using it. SEER 2 ratings require Miami AC systems to be at least a 14.3. The higher the number, the more energy-efficient the AC system is, and that means lower electricity costs for you. 

A higher SEER 2 rating does mean the AC system costs more to purchase, but it’s worth it in the long run. The money you save on electricity helps pay for the system over time.

Not only do you need to choose the right size and system type for your beach home, but you also need an expert in South Florida AC systems that face exposure to the salty spray. All Year Cooling has installed thousands of beach home AC units over the decades. We’re happy to help you select the best system for your needs and get it installed ASAP.

All Year Cooling