Your home’s climate control is one of its most important modern amenities. Though some of us may remember a time without it, it’s often hard to imagine how we survived. Though we’ve become accustomed to having air conditioning, many of us have no idea that we aren’t using it in the most efficient way or with the most benefits it can provide.
A window air conditioning unit may seem like a sufficient solution, but central units are often superior in more categories than you might imagine. Understanding the value of such a system may make it easier to justify the initial cost of installing one.
There is a misconception that window units are more economical than central units. Some people mistakenly assume that because window units only cool a small area, they don’t waste extra energy cooling unused spaces. Additionally, the fact that these units can typically be picked up for a few hundred dollars make it easy to assume that they’re cheaper to own than a central unit. However, it’s not uncommon for consumers to buy undersized window units to save money, forcing the unit to run harder to keep up with demand.
Surprisingly, central air conditioning is actually considerably more economical, especially over the long haul. Proper management of doors and window blinds can further reduce demands on the system for efficiency. To see the best results, it’s wise to seek the advice of an experienced HVAC specialist. They can consider a number of factors in your home (including size, room structures, floors, air returns, etc.) to choose a system that will optimize comfort and energy savings.
Another aspect of the economic side of cooling your home is the ability to manage a central system more easily. The struggle to get kids to be more attentive to utility consumption is not an uncommon one. It can even be a struggle for us busy adults. Managing your HVAC is not much different. While window units are lacking in complicated options, they also don’t have thermostats, which means they run constantly at a given temperature — even if the space is already too cool to suit the occupants. To stay comfortable there is often ongoing adjustments of temperature and fan speeds. This low-tech option quickly becomes frustrating and an obviously high-demand item to manage.
By contrast, central air units allow homeowners to manage their cooling systems with an array of options. Some systems have basic thermostats, while other ‘smart’ thermostats enable you to program the unit for the desired temperature at different times of the day. The ability to program your thermostat can yield big savings by having the unit run less when you are away from the home for school or work. Many thermostats even have wifi connectivity that allows you to check in on them through the day. This can be a great feature if you’ve forgotten to set it or find out that you’ll be heading home early!
Central air also has some benefits that a lot of people don’t think about. For example, a home with a number of window units can experience failure of one or more at any time, making the home less comfortable. And while a replacement unit can easily be had, the home’s occupants may not be up to the task of replacing it themselves.
Window units also permit cold air to leak in during the winter, making a complex “wrap-up” necessary each fall. They can also provide easy access for thieves and drip condensation outside the home.
Central air units avoid all those problems. A breakdown can occur, of course, but regular maintenance and the presence of a warranty will prevent or resolve many problems. Typically HVAC professionals can do repair work quickly and on short notice. Each fall, the units switch over to heat, with no additional steps necessary, and the only access point into the home is a tiny hole for coolant lines. The outdoor unit is also set up to manage any runoff neatly.
In addition, a central unit can be used with hypoallergenic filters as part of your overall indoor air quality strategy.
While window units can be cheaper in a short term, there’s no doubt that for economics, safety, health, and reliability, a central unit is well worth the investment.
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