When you are buying a new home, choosing the right type of air conditioning is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you will be comfortable indoors. While central air conditioners are by far the most popular choice for large, multi-story homes, you may find yourself wondering if window units would be a better choice if you will have a smaller home. Here is a comparison of window air conditioners and central air to help you make the best choice for your home.
Window Units Provide Room-by-Room Control
Central air conditioners are designed to cool every room of your home evenly. This is a good thing in most cases, as it will ensure you are comfortable no matter where you go in your home. However, this also means you will have to use the same amount of energy if you are only using one room as you would if you were entertaining a house full of people.
Window air conditioners do not have this disadvantage. Instead, they allow you to cool your house on a room-by-room basis. Using each window unit only as you need it can save you hundreds in energy costs over time compared to running a central air conditioner constantly.
Central Air Conditioners are Much Quieter
If you want the least obtrusive home cooling method available, you should choose a central air conditioner. The noise of a constantly-running window unit can be very distracting, especially if you are in the same room. This makes them less than ideal for spaces such as a home office or home music studio, and some people find that they cannot even sleep with a window air conditioner running in their bedroom.
Even though you may find it distracting, the noise that a window unit makes comes with one big advantage: it is difficult to forget to turn them off. The nearly silent operation of a central air conditioner makes it easy to leave with the air conditioner still running, needlessly inflating your energy costs. However, installing a programmable thermostat for your central air conditioner is an easy way around this problem.
Window Air Conditioners are Easier to Install
One of the biggest expenses of central air conditioners is their installation cost. Even though central air conditioners are often less expensive than window units in the long-term due to their energy efficiency, installation costs can reduce the margin between them quite a bit. Moving the heavy condenser to its place outside, equipping your home with ductwork, and installing the furnace indoors can be quite expensive once the HVAC technicians are done with the job.
Window air conditioners are so simple and easy to install that virtually any homeowner can complete the task themselves, especially if they have a friend or family member to assist them. This fact combined with the much lower purchase price of window units makes them an attractive option for homeowners who need a cooling solution with low up-front costs.
Central Air Conditioners Keep Out More Moisture
If you live in an especially humid climate, you understand the importance of keeping indoor humidity low to stay comfortable. Window air conditioners have a tendency to sweat, and they can also humidity in around the edges of the window if they are not well-insulated; Both factors can negatively contribute to indoor humidity. If you have a central air conditioner, you can add a whole-house dehumidifier to your system to control your indoor humidity.
Comparing the advantages and disadvantages of window air conditioners and central air is the best way to make the right choice for your home. Keep these tips in mind when choosing an air conditioner, and remember that there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your cooling costs no matter what type of system you have.
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