Window Unit vs Central Air Conditioner: Cost & Practicality Considerations

Window Unit vs Central Air Conditioner: Cost & Practicality Considerations

Anthony Barnes

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Air conditioners come in many different sizes and styles.

Some are more expensive than others, but there are also many other things to consider when choosing an AC unit.

We’ll go into detail about what makes them great and how to pick the right one for your needs.

What Are The Most Important Factors?

When choosing between a window unit and a central air conditioner you should consider both the cost and the efficiency.

A window unit is cheaper but less efficient than a central air conditioner.


Money is a scarce resource and people want to save as much as possible.

Air conditioners are expensive so you should consider the total cost of ownership when buying them.

You need to think about the monthly electric bill and how much money you spend on maintenance.

Also, make sure that the air conditioner (see also ‘How Much Power Does An Air Conditioner Use?‘) you buy is energy efficient.

Buying and maintaining several window units will be more expensive.


Air conditioning units need to be big enough to cool down large rooms.

Smaller ones won’t do the job properly. Bigger ones consume more electricity.

Inefficient air conditioners can be costly. This is especially true if you live in a warm climate.

Air conditioners in Phoenix, Arizona, for example, run most of the year and can cost hundreds of dollars per month if inefficient.

Central Air Conditioner

Central Air Conditioner

Air conditioning units use a chemical called refrigerant to cool down inside buildings.

Refrigerants are very useful because they are not poisonous.

However, they can be hazardous if they leak out into the environment.

A central air conditioner uses a refrigerant to absorb heat from the inside of a house.

Then, the air is cooled by passing the air over coils containing the refrigerant. The cooled air is released back into the house.

A thermostat monitors room temperatures and communicates the information to the central AC system.

The average cost for an AC unit is about $5,000. It can range from about $1,500 to $9,000 depending on the size of the building.


  • A central air conditioning system is used to cool multiple offices or homes at once. Cooling down the entire building is done by a single central air conditioning system. This allows for consistent room temperatures throughout the year.
  • Central air conditioning systems are an important part of maintaining the optimal temperature for large structures. Air ducts and smart thermostats (see also ‘Honeywell Vs Ecobee: Smart Thermostat Head To Head!‘) help maintain the optimal temperature for these large structures.
  • Modern central air conditioning systems are automated. You don’t need to manually turn them off and on.
  • Air conditioning systems are very effective in filtering indoor air. However, there are still some harmful particles in the air that could be dangerous if inhaled.
  • Central air conditioning units are very effective in cooling or heating your indoor space. They are also very energy efficient. This means that you’ll be saving a lot of money by using this type of device.


  • Installing a new unit takes time and money. You may need to hire someone to help you install it. You also need to make sure that your house is ready for the installation before you start. You might even need to buy extra parts or tools.
  • Central air conditioning is the most efficient method of cooling your house. You should get an AC unit that cools your entire house. Window units are cheap, but they won’t work well when there are too many windows in your house. The cost of central air conditioning is less expensive than buying 5 window units.
  • Air ducts should be cleaned regularly. Cleaning them yourself might save you money, but if you hire someone else to do it, expect to pay more than $1,100.
  • Renters should consider buying an air conditioning unit before renting an apartment. This will help them save money in the long run. Installing a duct system will also improve the resale value of a rental property.

Window Unit Air Conditioners

Window units are used when you want to cool down a single room. These units are usually placed on windows or inside walls.


  • Window ACs are more affordable than central air conditioning systems. But remember, the price is directly proportionate to the quality and size.
  • A window air conditioner needs to be sized properly. You should measure the width and length of your windows first. Then, you must calculate how many square feet there are in each dimension. Finally, multiply these numbers together to determine the total square footage of your windows.
  • A certified air conditioner is an efficient device that uses less power than other models. You can also manually turn off the air conditioner whenever you’re not in the room.


  • Window-unit ACs are great for cooling down a single room. However, if you’re trying to cool an entire house, you’ll need to invest in a central unit.
  • Window units are cheap but less effective. Central air conditioning is much more energy-efficient than window units.

Will A Window Unit Help My AC?

Window units are great for cooling down rooms that need extra cooling.

However, if you’re looking to cut costs, then you should consider installing an AC unit that runs off of electricity instead of using the power grid.

There are other things you should check to maximize your AC efficiency.

You could engage your thermostat’s circulation setting if it has it.

You should read the owner’s manual to see if you’re using the current one correctly before buying a separate AC unit.

Window air conditioners are much more efficient than central air conditioners if you don’t need to cool the whole house.

However, a single window air conditioner won’t be able to cool your whole house.

You need to install two or more air conditioners to cool down your whole house.

Your HVAC expert should help you choose the right size and number of air conditioners.

Portable Units

Window air conditioning units are great if your windows are open.

But if you’re living in an apartment building with a rule against window air conditioners, then you’ll probably need to get a portable instead.

They can also be good if you can’t lift the window unit into place.

Most window ACs are heavy, but you can still use a bracket to help you move them.

Portable ACs are easy to move because they’re light and roll easily.

Window ACs are heavier than portable ones, but they’re easier to move.

People who buy undersized portable ACs tend to exchange them for larger ones.

Therefore, it’s better to buy a bigger model than a smaller one.

Also, if you want to use your portable AC as a dehumidifier, you should choose a bigger model.

You can also consider buying a window AC instead of a portable AC because window ACs are available with bigger cooling capacity.

Portable air conditioning units make it easy to open the window and allow some fresh air into the house during hot summer days.

Other air conditioners are hard to install and take up half the window space. Once installed, they’re unlikely to move.

Portable air conditioners (see also ‘How To Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Without A Window‘) are great because they don’t take up too much room.

They can cool down your whole house, as you can move them around the house easily. They can be used anywhere.

Portable air conditioners are great for providing temporary relief during hot weather.

You can use them in areas such as attics, garages, and other unheated spaces.

Portable units are easy to install and operate. They’re compact, lightweight, and require less maintenance than larger systems.

Portable air conditioning units still need windows to work. Room fans are better than mini-splits because they’re easier to install.


Solar Powered Air Conditioners

Performance has improved over the past few years, but there are still many challenges ahead.

Energy storage and mini-split heat pumps are available now, but they still need improvements before they become more widely used.

Variable speed compressors are available now, but there are still problems with them.

Solar energy is a great source of renewable energy because it doesn’t pollute the environment.

Mini-split systems are very efficient, and they use less electricity than traditional central air conditioning (see also ‘Central Air Vs. Mini Split‘).

This means that you can save money by using them.

However, solar power is very expensive in some climates because the sun doesn’t shine during the winter months.

Heat pumps (thermostats) use a lot of electricity to produce hot air.

DC-only units are still not very common.

But as batteries improve, self-contained solar-powered air conditioning systems will be more popular.

A hybrid solar ac unit operates in two modes: Direct DC mode when the sun is shining and Hybrid DC mode using an inverter when the sun isn’t shining.

When the sun is shining, the PV array doesn’t need to connect to the local utility’s power.

Solar energy works better than ever before. Single-speed compressors were replaced by variable speed compressors.

Variable speed compressors are much easier to use with solar power.

Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps

A heat pump works by extracting heat from the outdoors and transferring it into the house.

This process requires less energy than heating up the whole house with electricity.

In addition, heat pumps can also act as air conditioning units during the summer months.

A heat pump uses a refrigerant to absorb heat energy from a source (such as air) and transfer it to another location (such as a space).

Heat pumps use electricity to run motors that move the refrigerant around.

As the refrigerant moves, it absorbs or rejects heat energy from the source.

This process allows a heat pump to take advantage of the temperature difference between two locations

Heat pumps are popular because they use less electricity than traditional heating systems.

Government incentives encourage people to switch to heat pumps.

New gas boilers shouldn’t be sold after 2025 if we want to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

How Much Do Heat Pumps Cost?

Heat pumps are used to provide heating or cooling to homes. They use electricity to transfer heat from one place to another.

The cost of installing a heat pump depends on the type of heat pump you choose.

Costs can also vary depending on the location of the house.

Gas is cheaper than electricity, but it’s still expensive. Switching from gas to electricity saves money.

When installing a heat pump system, you should make sure that the temperature setting is correct.

You should also be aware of how long your heat pump will run before needing to be replaced.

Heat pumps are cheaper to run because they use less electricity than other heating methods.

Ground source heat pumps are also more efficient than conventional ones.

This means that they can be used to heat your house without using as much electricity.

Safety And Efficiency

Heat pumps are safer than combustion based heating systems. They are more efficient than other types of heating systems.

They use less energy than other heating systems.

Heat pumps use less electricity than other heating systems. Water source heat pumps get their heat from hot water or steam.

Heat pumps are expensive, but they save money over time.

Their operating costs are lower than those of conventional systems, and they reduce carbon emissions.

Heat pumps are very effective when it comes to cooling down homes.

They use electricity to run, but they also have a high COP, meaning that they are more efficient than other methods.

Are Heat Pumps Worth the Investment?

Heat pumps are an efficient way of transferring heat from one place to another.

Their efficiency means that they use less energy than traditional methods of heating or cooling.

Government support for installing heat pumps means that they will be more widely used in the future.

This will help reduce emissions.

You should think about the big picture when buying solar panels.

A heat pump is an efficient way to save money while producing electricity.

Different types of heat pumps offer various features. Some heat pumps are designed to produce electricity.

Ground source heat pumps are the best choice for most people. A

n air source heat pump is also a great solution in some situations. Both are very effective and efficient.

When Should I Replace My AC Unit?

When should you replace your AC unit? It really depends on how old the unit is and what state it is in.

You’ll need to check when the unit was installed and if it needs repairs.

Air conditioning units are not built to last long. After ten to fifteen years, they need repair.

When they break down, they may require several hundred dollars worth of repairs.

To avoid such expensive issues, you should get them repaired before the next summer.

If you have been repairing them for many years, they could be worn out by then.

Air conditioning units last longer if they’re taken care of right away. If your AC is older than ten years old, it may need replacing.

An air conditioning system should be serviced regularly because it could break down at any time.

If the AC has exceeded its expected lifespan, you should replace it as soon as possible.


There is a lot to learn when it comes to choosing the right air conditioning solution for your home.

Hopefully this guide has helped you to make the right choice!

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age