Window AC vs. Central AC

Summer is speedily approaching. With that in mind, it is important to have a plan for keeping your house cool when the heat hits. How do you keep your house cool in the summer? Do you use a window AC unit? Have you ever considered installing a central AC unit? Would it be worth it for you to install central AC? To know the answers to these questions you need to know the differences between using an AC unit and using your central AC unit.

What are the differences between a window AC unit and an HVAC unit?

Window Air Conditioner

The window AC unit can be installed by a homeowner. The cost of the unit ranges anywhere from $200-$600. You should always uninstall your window unit for the winter to keep heat from escaping and cold air from coming into your home. So it will need to be installed every summer. It sits in your window and has enough power to cool the room it is in. Window units take air straight from outside and move it through a refrigerant and into your house. This process also helps allergens like pollen move into your house.

Central Air Conditioner

A central AC unit should be installed by a professional and ranges from $1500-$4000 depending on the needs of your house plus the labor price. For a smaller house that already has the ductwork in place, the cost should be on the lower end. For a larger house, you should expect to pay a higher price because you will need a bigger unit. The central AC unit has an outside unit that is next to your house as well as an evaporator coil that is usually tucked away in a closet or utility room with your furnace. These components work together to make cool air that will then run through the air ducts and cool your entire house. The process that central AC uses to get cooler air into your house filters out some of the allergens that would otherwise enter your home.

Are there benefits to running window AC units instead of installing a new central AC unit?

A window unit can be more cost-effective and energy-efficient if you are only using one of them. If you don’t need to cool your whole house or are living in a smaller space then you probably only need a window unit. The upfront cost is much lower for a window unit. One window unit only uses about ⅓ of the amount of electricity that central air uses. If you are going to need more than one unit to cool the amount of space that you need then you will likely want to make the investment in a new central unit.


Ultimately the choice is going to be different for everyone. It will depend on your comfort zone and how much you need air conditioning in your home. If you do decide you want to install central AC, give Modern PHE a call at (208) 745-7021.

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