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Central Air Conditioning Vs. Window AC Units: Which Is Better?

central-air-condenserMany of us cannot picture a summer without air conditioning. If you have small children or elderly relatives living at your home, you may need to use it throughout much of the summer. But even if you only feel you need air conditioning for a few weeks out of the year, you should really consider whether your air conditioner is working for you.

Window AC units are available from many all-purpose stores, but purchasing convenience should not be your deciding factor. If anything, a window AC unit can become an inconvenience. We’ll tell you more in the following guide, so you can decide which type of air conditioner is best for your home.

Window AC units don’t meet federal guidelines for efficiency

Central air conditioners are held up to certain standards of efficiency in order to qualify for installation in your local service area. In our service area, a new air conditioning installation must have a SEER—Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio—of at least 13, while in typically warmer climates (areas like Florida and California), the minimum SEER must be 14.

In addition, technicians take care to ensure a new central air conditioner is exactly the right size for your home. When an air conditioner is too small, it has to run constantly to cool the room and doesn’t even help. That raises your energy bills by a lot—but a larger air conditioner doesn’t do much better. It short cycles, running too frequently in short bursts and wearing out the compressor.

Window units are not regulated by these same efficiency standards as they simply cannot fit the technology to hold up to them. In fact, window units are only rated by the EER rating, which does not take into account seasonal changes. And while central air conditioners have an EER of 12 or more, room units only need an EER of about 9.4.

And because window units are not sized properly for the room in most cases, they simply do not hold up in terms of efficiency.

Are there pros to installing a window air conditioner?

Certainly, window air conditioners have their place. In rental buildings, where central AC installation may not be up to the renter, a window or room air conditioner may be the best solution. In addition, you might consider a window unit if you only need to cool one room of the house (because the rest of the home already has air conditioning).

However, a ductless AC unit can offer single-room cooling without the need for a loud, noisy unit occupying your window. It has indoor and outdoor components just like a conventional central air conditioner, and it holds up to the same efficiency standards as conventional central units.

Besides, nothing beats the convenience of having a central air conditioner or ductless system with a central control. You can adjust the thermostat as needed throughout the day with programmable settings that automatically make changes for you. In many cases, central air conditioning is the more convenient and affordable choice in the long-term, so talk to a local technician today.

VOGT Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers air conditioning installation in Golden Valley, MN. We’re here to answer all of your questions!

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