This is one of the biggest questions asked when it comes to HVAC. Window AC units will not have air filtration or even room temperatures. You want to pay attention to air filtration if you are someone who struggles with asthma or allergies. Window units do not circulate the air. Typically, it will be a lot cooler right next to the window unit itself. Window units will also not cool the whole house. Central air conditioners are expensive to install and run but they can cool your home more evenly.
Central Air Vs. Window AC
Most homeowners choose to install central AC. It is vastly more expensive, but if you are cooling your whole house it is the better choice in energy efficiency. When it comes to buying a unit, a window unit is much cheaper to buy. They can range from $300-$1,500 and their monthly cost is about $30-$80 bucks a month depending on how much you use it.
The difficulty is they typically do not cool an entire house so if you are looking to cool your whole house you would need to purchase several of these to accomplish your desired temperature. Window units use less than ⅓ of the amount of energy it takes to run a central AC unit in the same amount of time. Window units are truly best for smaller spaces. Central air uses more energy to cool your home, however, it is cooling the entire home as opposed to one room. A window unit uses from 500 to 144- watts to run and a 2.5-ton central unit system uses about 3,500 watts.
The deciding factor will be how many rooms you need to cool. If it is more than one room and your hope is for the entire house then the verdict is that it is cheaper overall to run a central AC unit. If you are installing three window units then you are using more energy than you would if you have a central AC unit. The biggest thing to note is you need to have a properly sized unit for your household size to run efficiently and be the most cost-effective.
If you are planning to be in your house for several years, it is more likely that you would choose a central air conditioning unit. It is the more popular option. It is more energy efficient in the long run and cools the entire house. The only other option is the mini-split systems that are in an in-between and can cool a single room or several rooms at a time. This is known as a ductless mini-split system. Ductless AC systems have a range in cost due to the size of the system, the type of system, the manufacturer, and the size of your home.
The average cost of a 12,000 BTU dauntless mini-split air system is around $3,000. The benefits of this kind of system is that it is less damaging to your home and is less time-consuming than a central air system. Running ductwork is a difficult process and the interior of your home is greatly affected for some time. It also requires home repairs and none of this is a factor if you go with a ductless system.
You can also eliminate the worry that the ducting is not done right, which would make your home less energy efficient. This is a common problem that so many have. This problem is eliminated when you are using a ductless AC system. Ductless systems are known to be more efficient than traditional HVAC systems when cooling a few rooms.
Overall a central AC system is going to be your best option for longevity and cooling your entire house. It has the best resale value and efficiency ratings.
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