Air conditioning systems vary in size, efficiency, configurations, and capabilities. Today, we’ll be looking at the differences between a central air conditioning system and a window air conditioner, to help you buy the perfect one for your home.

air conditioning vent near the ceiling

How Does a Central Air Conditioner Keep Your Home Cool?

A central air conditioning system is the most common variation when it comes to the heating and cooling needs in large homes or commercial spaces. Here, the disturbing noise generated by the condenser is kept as far away as possible from people, usually outside the building, and the rest of the system is indoors.

The individual units in a central system can provide better heating, cooling, dehumidification, and comfort. However, the central AC itself is reliant on a network of ducts responsible for moving air around the home, to ensure proper heating and cooling in all rooms.

During winter, the vents carry air from your rooms, and take it to your furnace for heating, before it is pushed back into your home. And during the summer, the vents take the air to the outdoor condensing unit, to have it cooled and dehumidified before it is spread throughout your home for comfort.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Central Air Conditioning System?

Most of the disadvantages of a central air conditioning system stem from the fact that it is heavily reliant on the associated ductwork. If the ductwork is damaged, unclean, or does not meet the specifications of the system itself, your system will perform inefficiently, and in the worst case malfunction, thereby not providing the heating and cooling you need. Additionally, air ducts are expensive to maintain as they require air duct cleaning. The problem is amplified when old homes, with old ductwork, get a new central air conditioning system which is incompatible, thereby requiring expensive air duct replacement.

remote control for air conditioner in ceiling

How Does a Window Air Conditioner Manage to Cool Your Room?

The window air conditioner is a portable and self-contained system. Ideal for single-room setups, you will be able to quickly get started with a window air conditioner. It is often the perfect choice for apartments. The window AC works by taking all surrounding heat and cooling it down before releasing it back into your room.

As the condenser is located right outside the indoor blower, you can cool your home without losing too much energy in the air ducts. However, without proper airflow in your room, it cannot adequately cool it down either as, beyond the internal blower fans, the air cool air cannot travel too far. For small apartments, you can leave the door open in one room and, with proper airflow, you can expect to cool the rest of the rooms as well. Although this is quite inefficient, it does get the job done.

Unlike a central air conditioner, window models are much easier to install. In most cases, purchasing a new one and setting it up in the window already cut out in your apartment for the AC is quick and easy. However, getting a proper AC repair and maintenance worker to do it for you is the best way to go about it.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Getting a Window Air Conditioner For Your Home?

Window ACs are great for those with a tight budget and are looking to only cool particular rooms or a small area. For larger homes, you will need to install units in every room to get enough cooling. Not only is this not cost-effective, but you also add a lot of noise to your home as each unit brings in a new condenser which generates noise as it cools the air in your home.

This is one of the major disadvantages of a window AC: the noise generated by them is far greater than you might want to tolerate.

air conditioning condensers on outside wall next to a window

How Should You Decide Between a Central Air Conditioner and a Window Air Conditioner?

Windows ACs are easy to install, and they are cheaper than central AC systems. They are perfect for small spaces, apartments or single room applications. It’s the perfect choice if you share an apartment with roommates or live in a small apartment alone, and you want to give yourself an adequate air conditioning system. In the case of small business and shop owners, if your store is small enough, one or two window ACs will be enough to cover the area without having to invest in a large central air conditioning system. For those with large homes, the central ac system is the perfect choice if you need something to handle cooling for many years.

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