Central Air Conditioning vs. Window Units

by Plumbing Services Company on October 27, 2012

The decision on how to heat and cool any home is based on two factors: the size of the room(s), and the budget of the owner. The options can be limited by the needs of the space and the limitations of the equipment. Anyone who wants to keep a tighter rein on finances may consider using the most inexpensive installation possible. In a smaller home, it could be much more cost-effective to place window units in each room throughout the house.

Window Units

Window units come in several sizes, measured in BTUs (British thermal units). They will require some forethought and space to unit ratio calculation. Then owners can determine the best sizes for the rooms. If an owner only needs to heat a small room, a smaller-sized unit of about 5,000 BTUs should be fine. But a much larger space will require a much more powerful unit of around 20,000 BTUs. These units can simply be plugged into a standard electrical outlet, and require no special wiring.

When the selected unit is too small for the space, the unit will continue to run, never accomplishing its purpose of heating or cooling. That, in turn, will make the energy bill skyrocket, and you’ll still end up too hot or cold. Using a unit that’s too large for the space can also be bad. It will also cool inefficiently, causing humidity build-up. Anyone who chooses to use window units is probably doing so for the immediate relief from the cost of central air installations.

Central Air Conditioning

A central air conditioning unit cools the entire home at the same time. Just like the window units, the energy is measured in BTUs. Central is probably the set up of choice for most homeowners. Central air units can easily be installed and equipped with programmable thermostats that allow owners to efficiently manage their air-conditioning. Temperatures can be automatically adjusted according to pre-determined times and preferences. It’s also an easy way to be in control of the money and energy saved.

The cost of installing a central air unit may seem daunting at first, since it will cost owners thousands of dollars. But that would be the only down side to installing a central air unit. Central air conditioning units require little in the way of continual maintenance, unlike the complicated and problematic mechanics of a window unit. After a central air installation, owners will find a return on their investment with the easy and efficient management of their system.

Ultimately, the window unit, or “room unit”, can be very effective at cooling and heating a specific amount of space and can cut immediate costs. However, the goal for everyone should be to eventually install a central air conditioning unit. The comfort, efficiency and ease after installation are well worth the investment, which is also essential to the resale value of the home.

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