Summer is around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about how to stay cool and comfortable as the temperatures rise. Heating and cooling accounts for a significant portion of our energy bills. You may wonder if you can save money by running a single window unit versus an entire HVAC cooling system. Read on to learn the answer.
Is a Window Unit Cheaper Than an HVAC System?
Let’s look at the two and compare functionality. In terms of immediate cost or out-of-pocket costs, a window unit is cheaper to buy than an HVAC system. The typical cost for a window air conditioner if you went to the Big Box store and bought one is less than $1,000. An HVAC system can cost between $1750 and $5700 for the unit plus labor. It could be more, depending on the size of your home.
In terms of efficiency and saving money, a window unit will not efficiently cool more than one or two rooms, at best. They are designed to cool one area and up to a certain number of feet per BTU. For example, a 5,000 – BTU unit will cool a room up to 150 feet. This is a fairly small room.
A window unit that is 14,000 – BTU will cool a space of 700 to 1,000 feet. The question of whether or not it’s cheaper to run a window unit is definitely no. It is cheaper to buy one, but not cheaper to run one.
A window air conditioner is inefficient for cooling your whole home. You will need more than one, which means you will eventually spend more money than you would with an HVAC system.
What About a Ductless Mini-Split?
Considering cost, a window unit is cheaper than a mini-split system. However, a mini-split might be a better choice for a smaller home in terms of efficiency. It would cost more to install a system like this, but over time, you would get a return on your investment.
A mini-split is more efficient than a central air unit for smaller homes with four rooms or less. You also get the features like timers and programmable settings, so you can set it at a lower temperature at night to save money, much like a central AC unit. It costs a bit more, but the benefits you get are worth it.
When Is a Window Unit Appropriate?
If you have a small one-bedroom house, an air conditioner like this would be more appropriate. They were designed for small spaces and will work well in this environment. You could run two window units and it would still be cheaper than an HVAC system, but not with three or more. In a home that big, it makes more sense to go with an HVAC system or a ductless mini-split system.
The other situation where it makes more sense to use a window unit is if you only use one room during the day. It makes more sense to cool the room you are using and close off unused space. It depends on how you use the space.
A larger home needs an HVAC system that will adequately cool the rooms and save the homeowner money. Most newer HVAC systems are Energy Star products and are rated to use energy more efficiently.
Save Energy With Thermostat Settings
When cooling a larger space, a thermostat set at the lowest setting saves energy. For maximum savings, it is recommended to increase it five to eight degrees when everyone is gone during the day.
It will keep the home at an even temperature all day, and then turn down to begin the cooling cycle 30 minutes before everyone gets home. Therefore, the home doesn’t build up any humidity, and you don’t feel like you just walked into an oven the moment you open the front door.
Advantages of a Central Air Conditioner
- Fully automated
- Thermostat controls the temperature
- Pre-set temperature settings save energy
- Cools multiple rooms at once
- Maximum cooling for large homes and commercial buildings
If you would like more information, contact us at A To Z Dependable Services. We provide expert service for installations, repairs, and maintenance of heating and cooling systems. We also offer plumbing, sewer, and drain cleaning to the residents of Nile, OH, and the surrounding areas.