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Window Unit AC vs. Central Air: Which is Most Effective and Efficient?

An Age-Old Air Conditioning Question

Most modern houses have central air installed in them – something we’re thankful for during our humid St. Louis summers. Older homes in the St. Louis metro area, however, might not have the proper ductwork installed to add air conditioning, because they rely on radiant heat, for example, or because previous owners did not see the personal value in having a home cooling system.

It’s situations like these that bring up the timeless debate: should I continue to use my window AC units, or should I upgrade to central air conditioning? The answer is: it depends!

Benefits of Central Air Conditioning Installation

The biggest benefit of using central air conditioning is that it is capable of cooling your entire house all at once. That’s especially important if you and your family tend to use all the rooms in your home. Otherwise, you need a window unit or other portable air conditioner in each room to achieve the same effect.

Central air conditioning is also discrete. Your rooms are not cluttered with large appliances framed in the window or sitting on the floor. In general, there are no interior eyesores associated with a permanent central AC unit. You can still use your windows if necessary, and you don’t need to screw in special hardware to secure your window or AC unit.

Central air is also much quieter than running window or portable AC units. The average window AC produces 50 decibels of noise. To put it in perspective, a conversation is about 50 decibels. If you’re watching TV, and someone is having a conversation right next to you, it becomes hard to hear, and you’ll find yourself turning up the volume on the TV. The same thing will happen with a window AC unit. A portable air conditioner creates 70 decibels of noise. That’s the sound of the average vacuum cleaner – and much louder than a conversation! Because the equipment producing this noise is inside your home, in the very room you’re enjoying, the sound level can become quite disruptive or downright annoying.

Central AC components that produce noise are usually outdoors or away from your living areas. Although they can still produce noises around 50 decibels, they are not as intrusive as the same sound level inside the rooms of your home.

You don’t have to move a central air conditioning unit when seasons change. When the temperatures start cooling off in the fall, most people remove their window AC units and are forced to find somewhere to store them where they’ll stay clean and easily accessible. Then, as the weather warms up, they have to haul them back out of storage and re-install them. Central air conditioning really only requires that you turn it on, on your thermostat, with no heavy lifting required.

The final benefit is that most central air conditioning systems, when properly maintained, will last you about 15 years, sometimes more. A window AC unit can have a service life of about ten years, if they’re properly maintained and are a higher quality unit to begin with.

Benefits of Using Window AC Units

Of course, there are some good things about window AC units! They’re your most cost-effective option if you don’t have centralized ductwork in your house. Central air blows through these ducts to cool your home, and unless you paid to have ducting installed, you can never have central air conditioning. Mini-split AC units are another alternative to central air, but they cost much more to purchase and install than a single window unit.

You can buy specially sized window ACs that fit your window frames and are sized appropriately for the space you need to cool, rather than cooling the entire home, including rooms you don’t use. Window units allow you to choose which rooms you want to cool. This strategy can save you money on your energy bills.

If you’re renting a home without central air, window units become your best and often only option for consistent cooling during hot St. Louis summers. If you purchase your own, you can take them with you to the next apartment or house you rent so you can continue using them.

Installing Central Air

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of central air versus window or portable AC units, you might be thinking about installing central air conditioning in your home.

The simplest way to install central air in your home is if you already have ductwork from a forced-air furnace. The very same ductwork can distribute cool air to your home. However, if you do not have ductwork, you will need to have it added prior to purchasing a new air conditioning or having the air conditioner installed.

If you already have ductwork, central air installation is very simple for you. All you have to do is hire us, your trusted St. Louis-based air conditioner installer, and we’ll take care of everything for you. We’ll help you choose an air conditioner best suited for the size of your home, keeping in mind all the latest energy-saving technology available. Then, on the day of your installation appointment, we’ll bring your new equipment. Our skilled technicians will install your new air conditioning components at your home in Sappington, Chesterfield, Ballwin, or other cities nearby.

All you really have to do is make sure the space your equipment will go into is clear and ready. You’ll want to remove any furniture or other items from around the installation site and have a plan to keep your pets out of the way of our hard-working technicians. We’ll take it from there!

New AC Installation from Meyer Heating and Air

When you’re ready to upgrade your central air conditioner system, contact Meyer Heating and Air at 314-845-1929. We’re conveniently located on Gravois Road in St. Louis, and are ready to take care of our customers across the St. Louis metro area.

We’ll come out, perform an analysis about the equipment you need, get it installed for you, and make sure all components of it are working. We’ll also be sure to answer any questions you might have before we leave.

Give us a call today so you can be ready for the coming summer heat wave!

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