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Central AC VS. Window Unit: Which Is Right for You?

Looking to stay cool this summer but not sure which type of air conditioner to buy? Since heating and cooling account for almost 50% of expenses in an average home, it’s important to find the best unit to meet all of your needs. When it comes to cooling off, is central AC or a window unit right for you? Here are some factors to consider before making your decision:

What’s the difference:

Before we delve into the specifics of which unit is right for you, it’s important to first understand the basic difference between the two systems:

Central AC consists of a condenser that typically sits in the yard and utilizes the house’s duct system to blow cold air into each individual room. A set of pipes runs coolant from the condenser into the air handler, dispersing cool air evenly throughout the house.

A window AC unit consists of a box designed to wedge into a window and is only used to cool off one single room. Within the unit, you’ll find a condenser, evaporator, thermostat and fans.

Energy Usage:

A window AC can use anywhere from 500 to 1440 watts of electricity to run, while central air uses about 3500 watts on average. Since a central unit has more running parts, it adds up to a bigger power draw–but keep in mind, it does cool a much larger space. However, many modern programmable central air systems are now capable of dividing a house into different zones, leading to a reduction in energy use.

Installation Cost:

Typically window units require a DIY approach to installation. For central AC units, you will need to turn to the HVAC professionals for proper installation. This will, of course, add to your costs as will the need for regular inspection and maintenance of your system.

Comfort & Value:

The main benefit we look for from any type of air conditioner is cooling comfort. Central AC units keep your home at an even, consistent temperature, while window units are only good for cooling of smaller spaces. Since central air utilizes a programmable thermostat, it comes with an added convenience. If you’re considering making an investment into a central AC unit, expect to see a return on the resale of your home, as this feature is very attractive to buyers.

Now that you know a little more about the benefits of each unit, it’s time to determine which is right for you! If you’re looking for an HVAC professional to install your new central AC unit, give Wahl a call! We’re here to help answer all of your air conditioning questions. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at (412) 265-2662or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.