Is a Central Air Unit or Window AC Right for Me?
When it comes to your home comfort, you likely want the best of the best. When it comes to cooling, upgrading to a central air system is the dream for most homeowners. However, your budget and household structure may not lend itself to this option. You may be wondering if you should consider investing in a central air unit or stick to the tried and true window air conditioning unit. When it comes down to it, climate, home insulation, and general personal preference (such as budget and comfort needs) are the biggest factors that will influence a home cooling decision.
We are going to take a look at some of the benefits and challenges that both options pose.
A Closer Look at Central Air Systems
A central air conditioning system uses ductwork throughout the home (used for forced air heating systems typically) to provide cool air across the house. They are made up of an outdoor unit, indoor unit, and ductwork that allows the air to be sent all across a home.
- Central air units use less energy
- System will cool home more efficiently
- Consistent temperatures year-round and throughout home
- Filter air for better home air quality
- Complete cooling solution for a whole home
- More costly upfront (ductwork may need to be installed too)
- Air filters need to be regularly changed and other maintenance
- Home needs to have good insulation or else efficiency will drop
- Requires duct maintenance and cleaning
The Window AC Unit Argument
Some people would say that opting for a classic window AC unit is the way to go. These units are typically used to cool an individual room or space. Just like central air systems, there are many perks, as well as some downsides that should factor into your decision.
- More affordable costs upfront
- Maximum temperature control room to room
- Often high efficiency
- Some flexibility in placement (windows or wall holes)
- Not able to control from a central thermostat
- Can block natural light by taking up window space
- May require new window installation to hold unit
- Some panels that come with units can allow in hot air
- Pose some security risk
Once you’ve weighed both the pros and the cons for either cooling system option, you can determine which is best for your home size, budget, efficiency preferences, and overall cooling needs. While window AC units do provide some quick convenience and affordability, most would agree that a central AC unit provides the most efficient temperature control and total home comfort in the long run.