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Central Air Vs Window Units-Which Is The Better Option?

Central Air Vs Window Units-Which Is The Better Option?

When it comes to air conditioning, there are essentially two different styles that you have to choose from; central air and window units. Both units will do a fairly good job at keeping the house cool, but they both come with their own sets of pros and cons.

Central Air

Central air is preferred by many as it keeps the temperature within the home consistent. Though this is the most costly way to get air conditioning initially, over time it does provide some cost savings. Since it is regulated by a thermostat, you can adjust the settings to kick lower when you are home and increase the temperature when the home is vacant. Being able to control the temperature from one central location is nice.

When it comes to downsides with central air there are a few. They do need to be serviced by an HVAC technician at least once per year. They can leak refrigerant or have a compressor go bad. All of these things can be costly. They do have longevity on their side. The average unit's lifespan is between 15-20 years. If the unit is experiencing a mechanical failure, the entire home will be uncomfortable till it is fixed.

Additionally, there are many complaints that the basements are cooler and upstairs warmer with central air. To get the upstairs to an adequate temperature, an additional unit should be considered. However, many just turn the thermostat down lower to accommodate. Unfortunately, it causes other areas in the home to be like a freezer. Regulating the entire home at one time can be hard and the homeowner may have to consider more runs of duct-work to solve problems of inefficiency.

Window Unit Air Conditioners

The window unit air conditioner is still widely used. They are great for homes that do not have central air, or for those who have central air but have warm spots they need to compensate for. These units start at 5,000 BTU and go up to 33,000 BTU. The smaller units run on an 110 outlet, but the larger units will require special wiring for a 220 outlet. They are fairly inexpensive to purchase. A 28,000 BTU unit runs on a 220 and costs under $1,000 to purchase. This unit will cool 1,900 square foot, which is the size of the average home.

These units must be mounted into a window or wall, as they drain condensation as they run. They are great for homes that need intense cooling in one area. They also have thermostats and can be programmed to turn off and on as needed.

The downsides to these units are also hard to ignore. First, the condensation that they leak can damage the side of a home if the AC is not tipped at the right angel. The constant running of water can cause mold issues too. It is important to make sure the water drips away from the home. Additionally, these larger units can really damage a window by taking them in and out. It is best to leave them in the window to avoid damage, but they must have a winter cover to protect them during the inclement weather.

Final Thoughts

You must do whatever possible to ensure your families comforts. Central air systems are nice and the best way to go for most people. However, there are certain circumstances where window units just make more sense.

Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

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