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Window Unit vs Central Air: Which is better for me?

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Window units: the compact, comforting white-noise-generating ice box that can surely freeze your bedroom in under 5 minutes. They’re smaller and more compact, so that has to mean that the money you’re spending on it matches the miniature theme, right? Well, not always!


Are window units cheaper than an HVAC system?


When it comes to upfront costs, window units are by far more affordable than an HVAC system. Window units are cheaper than an HVAC system because they don’t need ductwork to move air–you simply pop it into a window and you’re good. They also require less maintenance and sometimes even last longer than a central AC or heat pump. While a window unit may run you a couple of hundred dollars for a decent unit, it still can come out to a fraction of the cost of an HVAC system.


Likewise, the overall cost can largely depend on the amount of space you’re trying to keep cool. Studio apartment? A window unit will serve you just fine. Putting a window unit in each room in a five-bedroom house? Get ready for skyrocketing energy bills!


The pros of window units


As discussed above, window units can be much cheaper than an HVAC system if a window unit is right for your space. As window units are primarily designed to cool a singular room, if you’re looking to only cool down a small space (studio apartment) or a singular room in a home, a window unit can be a great option.


A window unit will typically use about a third of the electricity that central air will use, so if you’re looking to cool down a small space, a window unit can help save on electricity as well. However, if you’re looking to cool a bigger space with multiple window units, it will result in the opposite effect.


Window units are also very cheap and easy to install–for the most part, installation of a window unit can be done completely by yourself and requires no extra cost for installation. In the case of a breakdown, window units are also easier to replace, as they can run pretty inexpensively. However, the habit of running through cheaper window units can soon be counterproductive as you will likely spend more money on replacements than you would have on a more expensive and reliable option, or on the installation or maintenance of central air.


The cons of window units


While electricity use can be a pro for window units, if you need to cool down an entire home, the electric usage of multiple window units can quickly turn into a big, fat con. Though running a singular window unit in a small space can save you some coin, running multiple in different rooms in lieu of central air can make the energy bill skyrocket.


In addition, window units can’t be installed in any and all windows–the window needs to be able to bear to load of something as heavy as a window unit. Similarly, you have to choose carefully where you put the window unit because you won’t be able to utilize that window any longer once the window unit is there.


Lastly, window units can be vulnerable. Not only can they sometimes fall out and crash to their demise below if not properly installed, but they can also be removed from outside by anyone with a hankering to get into your home. If safety is a concern in your area, you may want to pass on a window unit.

Servicing a window unit

The bottom line


Need to cool a single room, office, or studio apartment? If so, a window unit may be the right choice for you.


Need to cool an entire house, or multiple rooms at once? If so, we highly recommend skipping the window unit and relying on central air for your needs.


Call us


Experiencing any issues with your air conditioner? Please do not hesitate to call us here at Tri-Point Refrigeration. We are committed to providing our clients with the utmost quality of service while giving your AC the TLC it deserves.


We’re excited to help you along the way, and with regular servicing, we can keep your equipment running smoothly and healthily, while also extending the reach of your dollar.


For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community.



Or check out our website at www.tripointrefrigeration.com



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