Whole-Home vs. Window Air Conditioning

Rear of a window air conditioning unit

The decision of whether you should buy a central air conditioner or window unit doesn’t just boil down to how many rooms you are looking to cool.

Below, we have listed the pros and cons of whole-home and window air conditioning units to assist you in picking which system is best for your home.

How the Systems Work

To first understand what makes the systems different, you have to know how they work.

Whole-home air conditioning systems are controlled by a thermostat(s). Most central cooling systems are split systems, which utilize an outdoor cabinet to hold the compressor and a condenser coil. The system also has an indoor coil that is connected to the top of the furnace. The indoor coil takes the warm air from outside, then the compressor and a condenser coil chill the air with refrigerant, eliminate moisture and shoot it back out through the ducts.

Window AC units work in a similar way to other types of air conditioning systems. These units are installed in a window and plugged into an outlet. The system then utilizes two air cycles. A fan located in the air conditioner’s interior blows air over the evaporator to cool the room. The outside of the window unit then uses a second fan to push outside air over the condenser to cool it down.

Window Air Conditioning Pros

  • Window air conditioners are a much cheaper option for cooling a single room.
  • If your window unit breaks, it is much cheaper than central ac repairs.
  • You can install a window unit by yourself instead of hiring and paying an HVAC technician.
  • They’re energy-efficient. Energy-Star Certified air conditioners require little energy to cool your room.
  • You can manually shut off your air conditioner when you’re not around, which is an excellent way to lower your electricity bill.

Window Air Conditioning Cons

  • Window units can only cool the room they’re in, so they’re not suitable for homes with many areas needing cooling.
  • The closer to the system, the colder the room will be. However, the further away you are, the more likely you’re to find warm spots.
  • Not only are these systems easy to steal, but they make it easier for criminals to break into your house.
  • While installing these air conditioners yourself is cheaper, you still need to be careful with your installation. A poorly installed unit can easily fall out of your window.

Whole-Home AC Pros

  • One central air system can cool your whole home, which is cheaper than purchasing and maintaining several window units.
  • If you have asthma or bad allergies, whole-home systems are better at filtering the air in your home.
  • Whole-house cooling will not just affect a single room but will instead cool your whole house.
  • Central air systems more efficiently circulate the air home, making sure that rooms are evenly cooled.
  • Whole-house systems are automated, so they don’t require you to turn them on and off.

Whole-Home AC Cons

  • The initial cost of central air systems is much more expensive than window units. According to Home Advisor, it can cost an average price of $5,663, while window units cost an average of $250.
  • Whole-Home air conditioners require an HVAC professional to install the system, costing anywhere from $1,137 up to $5,000.
  • Central air systems require more maintenance, as air ducts will need to cleaning once or twice a year to avoid dirt and allergen buildup.
  • Getting a central air conditioner is near impossible in a rented apartment due to the fact the owner either doesn’t have the money or is unwilling to install a duct network for you.

Air Conditioning Installation

The team of trained professionals at AirMasters Air Conditioning & Heating can install, repair, replace and maintain your air conditioner. For all your cooling needs, call us today at (901) 295-4434.