Summers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, can be sweltering. If your air conditioning unit fails, it can feel miserable being indoors. When it comes time to replace your AC unit, you may wonder if it is more cost-efficient to get a window unit or a central air conditioner. The following are some practical cost considerations Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling would like to share.
Basic Considerations When Choosing Window Units Versus Central Air
Several factors will determine whether a window unit or a central air conditioner is the best decision. Some factors, such as the amount of money you want to spend on a unit, are things you can control. Other factors, such as whether you live in a house you own or a rented apartment, will determine what unit is best for you.
When deciding between a central air conditioner and a window unit, you need to focus on two factors: efficiency and cost.
When discussing air conditioner efficiency, we are talking about how well the unit can cool your home or apartment while at the same time minimizing energy expenditures. Efficiency is influenced by the size of the unit and its ability to keep your space at a favorable temperature.
Of course, the larger the space you want to cool, the larger the unit you will need. This is especially important during the summer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If your unit is not efficient, you will have a huge heating bill.
The second factor is cost. Cost refers to more than just the initial expense of purchasing and installing the unit. It also includes monthly electrical bills, maintenance, and operational costs. When selecting the right unit for your home, you want to purchase one that will not drain your finances. This could mean that it is in your best interest to buy a more expensive unit upfront and save money over time. In comparison, purchasing multiple window units will cost you a lot more than buying and maintaining central air conditioning if you have a larger home.
The Cost Pros and Cons of Central Air Conditioning
Central air conditioning keeps your entire house or building cool. A central air conditioner uses a refrigerant or other chemicals to remove the heat from interior space and transfer it outdoors.
Your central air conditioner unit absorbs the hot indoor air and blows it over coils that have been cooled by refrigerant. The refrigerant removes the heat from the indoor air. A blower returns the cold air into your home.
With one central air conditioning unit, you can keep multiple rooms in your house cool. Installing thermostats in different areas gives you more control over your home’s temperature. Your thermostat will measure the room temperature and then relay information to the air conditioning unit, regulating the amount of cooled air each space receives. You should expect to pay $5,700 to $11,000 for the purchase and installation of a central air conditioner, depending on the size of your home.
The initial price tag of several thousands of dollars can seem overwhelming for many people. A central air conditioning unit requires more investment than a window unit. Window units can cost as little as $300 and they have a monthly operating cost of under $100, depending on how much you use them.
However, if you have a large home and are thinking about purchasing several window units, central air conditioning could be cheaper for you in the long run. One central AC unit will cool your home more efficiently than several window units. Furthermore, installation of air ducts, regular maintenance, and central air conditioning repairs are expensive. The professionals at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling have helped many Grand Rapids homeowners evaluate their AC needs and determine if a window unit or central air is suitable for them.
The Cost Pros and Cons of Window Unit Air Conditioners
A window unit air conditioner is designed to only cool one room. The efficiency of the window unit is determined by the size ratio between the unit and the space it is tasked to cool. Window units are installed in walls or windows. You can find an essential window unit air conditioner for around $300. More advanced energy-efficient models with a higher output could run you up to $1,000.
From a cost perspective, window unit air conditioners are cheap upfront. They are less expensive to install and relatively inexpensive to maintain. If they break down, their relatively low price makes replacing the unit easier. However, it is counterproductive to be cheap when purchasing a window AC unit. The price you pay for the unit is proportional to the size of the unit and its quality. Before spending money on a window unit, measure your room. Talk to our HVAC technicians at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling. We can help you find a window unit compatible with your space.
Many window units are Energy Star Certified. This means they offer maximum output while consuming little energy. Being diligent about turning off the unit when you leave the room can help you drastically reduce your electricity bill. Newer models of window air conditioning units can double as heaters during the winter.
Is a Window Unit Cheaper Than an HVAC System?
When comparing upfront costs, the answer is yes. You can purchase and install a window unit for a fraction of the cost of installing central AC. Running just one window unit will be drastically less expensive than running central air conditioning for the entire home.
It is a question of how much you want to invest in your HVAC system. If you want to cool several rooms or cool your entire home, installing central air conditioning is more efficient and less expensive. If you want to cool a bedroom or a home office, a window unit will work fine.
Remember, a single-window air conditioner cannot cool your home. You may be able to place several window units strategically in the house. However, maintaining and operating multiple units becomes an inefficient alternative to installing central air. Talk to our professionals at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling. We can make a cost comparison based on your home’s layout and energy use.
Certified Heating, Air Conditioning, and More for Grand Rapids, Michigan
For over a half-century, Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling has serviced the greater Grand Rapids area. We offer the whole gamut of heating and air conditioning services. We know what you need to feel comfortable in your home and we guarantee that our experienced technicians can deliver what you need every time.
We can keep your home warm during the winter months by installing, repairing, and maintaining your furnace, boilers, radiant heating, and geothermal heating. During the summer, count on us to install and maintain your ductless mini splits and air conditioning units. We work in residential and commercial buildings and offer utility and home energy audits.