Central Air Vs. Air Conditioners

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Air conditioning can be a relief on a hot summer day when the temperature and humidity are unbearable outside. They can also cost a lot of money, not only in terms of purchasing the unit and installation, but on your electrical bill. Central air and air conditioning units have pros and cons you should know about before you commit to buying one.

Types

  • Central air conditioning refers to a system in which an external unit cools the entire house via vents. The unit is placed outside and then blows cold air through ducts in your home to cool each room. Window units, on the other hand, are smaller appliances that rest on window sills. While central air conditioning can supply cool air to the entire house, window units are usually only powerful enough to sufficiently cool one room.

Installation

  • Window units are much easier to install than central units, which require a professional. You simply set the unit in the window and secure it, using a screwdriver and the window itself. Although some of these units can weigh a lot, you can install them on your own. If you want to install a central air conditioning unit, you'll likely have to hire a professional to work on the ducts. A professional will know how to size and place the ducts, as well as set up the central unit.

Benefits

  • Central air conditioning units can cool the entire house while window units can only cool one room. With central air, you can control the temperature with a thermostat down to the degree you like to keep the air. These thermostats can also be set on a timer, so you can control temperature levels while you are not at home. Window units, however, are much cheaper than central air conditioners and use much less energy. They also require much less maintenance than central units and can be easily stowed away during the cooler months.

Disadvantages

  • If you live in a region that only gets hot two months out of the year, spending a lot of money on central air doesn't make much sense, especially if the unit is dormant for most of the year. Central air is also expensive to buy and will be a big factor on your electrical bill. Window units make your house vulnerable to break-ins, especially on the ground floor. Home invaders can easily pull the unit from the window and gain access to your house. You'll also have to take them out of the window at the end of each summer, which can be a hassle.

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