Central Air vs. Window Units

April 27, 2024

With the wide variety of options available today, choosing the right air conditioner can feel a bit overwhelming. Do you go big and bold with a central air conditioning system or opt for a traditional, good old-fashioned window unit? Each option has its merits and drawbacks, so we’ll dive into the pros and cons of each type to help you choose the right system for your needs.

The outdoor component of a central AC sits outside of a home

Pros of Central Air Conditioning

The first unit we’re breaking down is the central air conditioning, which offers a range of its own unique benefits.

Stealthy Comfort

Central air systems are among some of the quietest systems around. The main unit is usually hidden away outside or in a basement, so it operates quietly, letting you enjoy cooling comfort in peace.

Better Filtration

With central air, it’s like having a high-quality air purifier built right in. These systems are designed to trap a slew of airborne pathogens, keeping your air fresh and clean to breathe. Plus, keeping up with simple filter changes is generally easy, inexpensive, and can really enhance the air quality in your home.

Convenient Cooling & Heating

Central air is all about making your life easier. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it system where you control the temperature from one central location — or even from your smartphone. No fussing with different units in different rooms.

Cons of Central Air Conditioning

As many benefits central air conditioning provides, it also has its fair share of cons.

Higher Upfront Costs

Investing in central air conditioning can be costly, as the upfront installation costs are often significantly higher than those for a window unit. This is because the cost also includes additional ductwork installation costs if you don’t already have existing ductwork.

Complex Maintenance

Outside of air filter replacements and thermostat checks, central air conditioning maintenance has the added necessity of ductwork maintenance. This makes performing necessary maintenance a bigger hassle than it would be with a traditional window unit.

Limited Installation Options

Unlike window units, installing a central air conditioning system in a rented apartment is unlikely, as the building’s owner may not want to or have the money to do so.

Contact Rick’s Heating & Cooling for central air installation services.

An indoor view of a window unit

Pros of a Window Unit

Many homeowners enjoy the predictability and simplicity of traditional window units, and it’s easy to see why. These are some of the more well-known benefits of these old-fashioned units.

Cost Effective

From purchasing price to installation, repairs, and maintenance services, traditional window units are often cheaper by a landslide. Even a high-quality window unit can cost just a few hundred, whereas central units can cost anywhere between $3,800 and $8,000.

Simple Installation

Window units are known for their easy installation — so easy, in fact, that most homeowners can DIY install smaller, basic units. No complex ductwork is necessary.

Optimal Zoned Cooling

If you spend most of your time in one or two rooms, a window unit allows you to cool specific areas without the energy drain of cooling unused spaces.

Cons of a Window Unit

As reliable and practical as traditional window units can be, they also come with a few not-so-surprising cons.

Loud Operation

Window units can be noisy when operating, making everyday activities uncomfortable. Because they need to be placed in windows, you’ll also hear more outside noise in your home.

Takes Up Space

Whether installed in your window or stored somewhere, window units take up valuable space that could otherwise be used for something else.

Limited Cooling Capabilities

Unlike central air conditioning systems, window units can only cool one room at a time, leaving other rooms warm and muggy.

How To Determine Which Air Conditioner Is Best for Your Home

While they both have their ups and downs, choosing between central air and a window unit ultimately boils down to your specific needs, home layout, and budget. Here at Rick’s, we’re here to help you make the right choice for your home. Get in touch with us today to schedule a time when we can come to your home and help you decide!