Central Air Or Window Unit? What's Best For You?

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Summer is just about here, and if you reside in a southern locale, your temperatures are already soaring. But if you live in the north, you may be wondering if you really need to invest in central air conditioning. Here's a look at the differences between a window unit and central air to help you decide what's best for you.

Expense

Central air conditioners are more expensive to purchase and install. Rather than cool one or two rooms like a window unit, they are powerful enough to cool your entire home if the proper size is purchased for your home's square footage. If your home is larger, purchasing multiple window units would likely cost just as much as a central air conditioning unit.

Hassle

Window units are quite heavy. They will need to be installed every summer and removed come fall. This is not the job for someone who has any kind of back ailment. They need to be properly bolted with brackets to the window frame. This is especially important for units installed on the second floor. Also, some people don't want to drill into their window sashes. Most units come with accordion panels on each side to keep drafts at bay, but energy.gov recommends using rigid foam insulation and duct tape instead to keep the cold air from escaping. Additionally, the outside of the unit on the exterior of the house should be caulked to prevent warm air from entering in any gaps. This will require a ladder for second floor units.

Noise

Window units are typically very noisy in comparison to a central air conditioning unit, which is generally no louder than if your furnace were blowing. If a window unit is in a seldom used area of the home, this won't be an issue. But because heat rises, most people desire air conditioning on the upper level or where bedrooms are located. Some people may be able to tune out the constant racket, but for others, the noise pollution may be more than they can bear.

Cooling

If you live in the far north, the few months of warm weather may not justify the price of a central air conditioning unit. A small window unit may provide just enough cooling, especially when combined with other things, like ceiling fans and open windows for cross-breezes. Southerners, however, can have extended periods of stifling temperatures that can impair health and quality of life.

Consult with a professional skilled in AC services to help you assess which type of air conditioner will best meet your needs.

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