Central Air Conditioner vs Window Unit

The debate between window AC units and central air has a long and difficult history. Both types of systems have found their place among homeowners, largely due to the difference in cost and installation.

However, homeowners in Phoenix have a unique challenge trying to keep up with the extreme summer heat, and buying the wrong type of AC can lead to a miserable summer. So what is the best AC unit for your home?

What is a Central Air Conditioner?

A central air conditioner is a large air conditioner that is designed to service your whole home. It uses the existing ductwork within your home to push cool air to every room at the same time.

It consists of a large outside unit, along with a smaller inside unit that circulates the refrigerant. In many cases, central air conditioners are also combined with heat pumps and air filters to provide more than one service to your house for the investment.

What is a Window AC Unit?

A window AC unit is basically a miniature air conditioner that is designed to fit right inside one of your open windows. It is self-contained and does not require any special installation or ductwork. You can purchase window units in a wide range of sizes and styles, and more modern models are starting to add air filtration and dehumidifying features to their list.

Do You Have a Choice?

Both central AC units and window units serve a specific purpose for individual homes.

Before you can decide for yourself, you have to ask whether or not you actually have a choice. Central air units require plenty of space inside and outside of your home, and a functional duct system that is in good repair. If you do not have dedicated space for a central air system, or you don’t have ducts already running throughout your house, a central unit may not work for you.

Window units are really meant for people in small spaces who can’t use a central unit, such as an apartment. However, some homeowners today are opting for window units because they want to spare themselves the expense of a central unit. If you do have a choice, then there are some things you need to consider.

Pros and Cons of Central Air

The biggest complaint we hear about central air systems is that they are very costly. A new unit can easily cost $5,000-10,000 to have installed.

Annual maintenance can also be costly, sometimes up to $1200/year or more as your unit ages. However, these systems provide a range of benefits that smaller units cannot.

For instance, they remain one of the best ways to keep the air in your home clean with proper filters. In addition, they work hard to keep humidity out of your home so that you will not experience mold issues.

They are also more efficient at cooling your home because they can cool all rooms evenly and prevent drastic temperature changes from one room to the next. Finally, they can be set up with programmable thermostats to improve their efficiency and reduce waste.

Pros and Cons of Window Units

Window units are far less expensive than central air units, and typically only cost a couple hundred dollars. You can find them at just about any hardware store or big box store, and they don’t require any special skill to install or use. However, they are not generally meant to cool an entire house. They can cool a single room effectively if the room remains mostly closed off.

Otherwise, they will overwork themselves trying to push air all over your house.

Some of these units are programmable or have a timer setting, but most require you to manually adjust and can be costly to operate if left on.

Furthermore, since they require an open window, you have to be sure that you seal the window space properly, or all that cool air could be escaping before it ever really cools your room. These units also tend to have poor filtration qualities, and they don’t do much to draw moisture out of the air.

Ultimately, most homeowners prefer a central air system when available because they do a better job of keeping the home cool with less work.

While they can be very expensive to install up front, they can actually save you money in the long run, and they are built to last up to 15-20 years, so you won’t have to worry about buying a new one any time soon.

Window units are not built with longevity in mind, and typically can’t take on the job of cooling a whole home unless you buy multiple units. Day and Night Air can help you decide on the right AC unit for your home today!