When the weather gets hot, there are two main options people consider for keeping their homes cool. They will either use central air or window air conditioners. Both options can chill you off and keep humidity and heat at bay so you can be comfortable. However, there are many differences between them. Knowing more about these options can help you to decide which is best for your home.
Features are those things that help increase the usability, convenience, and function of an air conditioning unit. Both central air and window air conditioners have features, but central air comes out on top when it comes to which has more features available. Central systems can usually be programmed and offer air filtration. They can also be designed for zones within the house so you can cool only the areas you want.
Window units are usually less sophisticated. For example, some window units may be programmable to an extent, but it is nothing close to what can be done with central air. Generally, the only programming option is to run the AC for a certain amount of time. The unit usually is unable to turn itself on again, so you don’t get the automation features that are so common with central air systems.
When it comes to comfort, window units do not usually heat as evenly as central air. You may have areas of the room that are warmer than others. This is because of the design of these air conditioning units. They normally blow straight out and allow you little ability to adjust the air flow. With central air units, the air is blowing through the same vent system as your heat does, so it is well distributed.
Window units are also not as efficient at removing humidity. They can do a fairly good job, but because they are limited to one room, any area of your home without a window unit will just be dripping with humidity. Also, if the unit isn’t installed securely without any air leaks, it will allow some humidity to get into the room.
There is also the aesthetics of the units. Both require part of the system to be outside, but central air units are usually put in hidden areas where they don’t look bad. Window units cannot be hidden and may not produce the aesthetic you are comfortable with.
Cost is a confusing area because every home and every user are different. In some situations, window units are the better option, but the same can be said for central air. It really depends on your usage. The biggest drawback with window units is you need one in any room you want to have cooled. If you are only running one or two, it isn’t bad, but once you get to three or more, you will take a huge hit on your energy bills. It can become very costly and exceed what central air would cost.
Installation is one area where central air loses every time, though. It requires professional installation and can be expensive. Window units are easy to install yourself and just require a few tools and some time. Also, repairs on central air units add to the overall cost. With a window AC, you can usually just buy a new one if it needs major repairs, but you do not have that option with a central air unit.
For those in apartments or small homes, window air conditioning unit may work out great, but for those with larger space to cool, central air will usually be the best choice in the end. As central air units keep getting better due to technology, they are quickly outpacing window units, so if you can get central air, it is going to probably be your best bet for saving money and keeping your home the most comfortable.