Central Air Conditioner vs. Window Unit

It’s hot. Your shirt is sticking to your back. You’re worried about how you might smell the next time you go out in public. It’s miserable, and you want a solution. Obviously, you need air-conditioning, but what’s the best way to get it? Should you purchase a window unit or upgrade to central air? We’ll discuss these options at length to help you make an informed choice.

Central Air-Conditioning

Central air is in most new homes around the country — especially in Texas. There are reasons for that. Central air is very effective, but it isn’t always perfect. We can review the pros and cons to paint a clearer picture.

Pros of Central Air

Central air offers more in terms of power and control. You can get central air systems with a sensor for every room, and the advanced controllers can use algorithms and all kinds of fanciness to optimize your climate control. It’s cool. It’s effective.

On top of that, central air tends to be more efficient than window units in terms of total cooling. It takes less electricity to cool the same mass of air with a central system. And central air has substantially better air filtration. If you have allergy issues, central air is much, much better than a window unit.

In general, when you need large-scale solutions, central air is clearly superior. It can cool more air, control the climate for a much larger area, and provide you with more precision than any combination of window units imaginable.

Cons of Central Air

For all of the features and power of central air, you pay a price. In this case, it’s a literal dollar amount. Central air units are going to cost thousands of dollars (probably around $5,000 for most homes). They also cost more to install. It’s not a DIY project. After that, central air costs a lot more money to run. It might be more efficient in absolute terms, but you can run a single window unit with a lot less electricity than it takes to operate a central air unit.

Lastly, central air-conditioning costs more to maintain and repair. It’s a more advanced system, so it costs more on every front.

Window Air-Conditioning Units

Window units get mixed reviews. Some dislike them for their inefficiency. Others love them for their flexibility. The truth is that window units do have their place, and the pros and cons of these units make it clear when and where they work best.

Pros of Window Units

As we’ve already discussed, window units are all about saving money. Unless you have a unit in every window, you’ll be spending significantly less on installation, operation, and maintenance.

Aside from money, window units allow you to customize your cooling. You can have the unit running in one room while another room is at a higher temperature. This is great if there are rooms you don’t use every day. It’s also ideal for people who have very different temperature preferences under the same roof.

Perhaps the most overlooked advantage of window units is that they are not a permanent fixture. You can install them on rental properties, and when you move out, you get to keep the unit. The mere thought of investing in central air while you’re renting is ludicrous.

Cons of Window Units

For all of the customization and money saving, window units are a less effective technology. They provide inconsistent cooling. You’ll be frigid near the unit and hot far away from it. In fact, many units will fail to adequately cool a large room (like a central living area in a house). They certainly cannot cool an entire house. If you need total cooling, window units are very much the wrong answer.

The Final Verdict

Here’s the bottom line. If you need to cool more than two rooms, central air is the better option. It’s more effective, and with more than two window units, you’re starting to break even in total costs. If you only need to cool one or two rooms, window units are a smart choice. They save you a lot of time and trouble.

Then again, combination strategies work too. Here’s an idea. Let’s say you have a home office, and you’re the only one in the house during your workday. Instead of running the central AC, you can get a window unit to keep the office cool. When you’re not working, you can use the central AC to keep the house comfortable. It will save wear and tear on each unit, and it dramatically lowers your cooling bill. Overall, if you want air-conditioning, you need a unit to provide cool air through a hot summer. Metro Express Service in Carrollton can help. We can help you with central air and other cooling options that might prove perfect for your Dallas area home. Contact us today, and we’ll help you find a great solution.