Energy costs can make up a significant portion of your monthly bills. This is particularly true during the summer season when many people run their air conditioners frequently. Whether you are in need of a new cooling unit or are looking for a way to save money, you may be wondering if a window unit or whole-home HVAC system is a better option. This depends on a number of factors. Let’s take a look at those factors so that you can make the best decision according to your home’s needs.
How Much Will You Pay for a New System?
When deciding between a window unit or an HVAC system, one of the most important factors to look at is the amount you need to pay upfront. On average, a window air conditioning unit ranges in price from around $250 to $1,000. According to the most recent statistics, a new central AC system will cost between $3,800 and $7,400, with the national average sitting at about $5,600.
You also have to factor in installation fees. Most homeowners can install a window unit on their own in as little as 30 minutes. A central AC, on the other hand, requires professional installation, which will add a few hundred dollars to the price tag. Obviously, a single window AC is much cheaper up front, but how does the energy use between the two systems compare?
Electricity Usage Between an HVAC System and a Window Unit
A window unit can use between 500 and 1,500 watts of energy per hour. An HVAC system can use around 3,500 watts per hour. To put this energy use in perspective, consider that the average TV uses around 60 watts per hour while a new fridge will use around 400 watts per hour. With this comparison, you can see that cooling systems are some of the biggest energy consumers in your home.
While a window unit is going to use less electricity than an HVAC system, this isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding which is the cheaper option. You also have to consider your home’s cooling needs and your personal preferences.
How Much Space Do You Need to Cool?
Based on the information above, you may be thinking that a window unit is obviously the most affordable option. However, the lower costs to purchase and run a single window unit do not tell the whole story. If you live in an apartment or smaller home, you may be able to adequately cool your space with one or maybe two small window units.
Also, despite the space in the home, some rooms are used more than others. For instance, your bedroom might be at one end of your home while your kitchen and living room are at the other end of your home. If you sleep in your room and spend most of the day between the kitchen and living room, you might want to use a window unit in these two rooms rather than cooling the entire home with a central AC.
For many people, though, there are several rooms across multiple levels that need to be cooled. If you have a family, you likely have multiple bedrooms to cool in addition to living areas such as a kitchen, family room, or den. Using a window unit to keep all of this space cool and comfortable is not feasible, and you would need to purchase multiple window units.
At a cost of upwards of $1,000 each, the money quickly adds up. Plus, you need to consider how much it will cost to keep each of the units running throughout the day and night to keep your home cool. When all of these costs are factored in, a central AC becomes the more affordable option for most homes.
What Are the Other Benefits of an HVAC System?
In addition to keeping your home cool, a central AC installed as part of an HVAC system plays a role in controlling indoor humidity. Excess humidity adds to the discomfort of being hot because it impedes the body’s inability to cool itself down. If you live in an area with high humidity and have a larger house, window units will not be able to control the humidity as effectively as a central AC. This means that you will likely spend more money trying to cool off by cranking the window units up to the max.
Unlike window units, HVAC systems also provide ventilation and air circulation. With the proper maintenance, your central AC can help to reduce allergens, dust, and other debris that contribute to poor air quality. You can also have whole-home air purifiers and humidifiers installed as part of your HVAC system. This is not an option with individual window units.
Get the Help You Need to Fix Your Home
Unless you live in a small space, the benefits that come with a central AC make it the best choice for most people. At Island Heating & Air Conditioning, we can help you with all of your AC and heating system needs. Our team installs and repairs air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps. We can also maintain these systems so that you spend less on energy costs throughout the year. Our other services offerings include ductwork installation and repair and indoor quality solutions such as air purifiers. Reach out to Island Heating & Air Conditioning in Oak Harbor today for more information or to set up an appointment.
April 19, 2022 5:31 pm