Central Air Versus Window Units: Which is More Efficient?

heat pumpsWith spring here and the warmer temps of summer of their way, it’s time to start thinking about air conditioning. There are essentially two basic options when it comes to air conditioning your home: window units or a centralized cooling system. Window units are wedged into an open window with the back end hanging out sucking in air from the outside, while central air units sit outside your home and are connected through pipes that run coolant from a condenser into an air handler usually located near the home’s heating system.

Central air system’s energy efficiency is most accurately measured by the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), but we will stick to the general energy efficiency ratio (EER), because that is the only rating system for window units. Window units are less efficient by this metric. They are only required to achieve 9.4 to 10.7 to be Energy Star-certified, while the minimum EER for central air is 12. A big reason for window units having a lower rating is that they are much smaller appliances. It is difficult to fit the needed hardware into a smaller case. Central air systems can work at a range of speeds while window units are either on or off.

This makes a huge difference in energy use. An air conditioner’s function is not only lowering air temperature, but also removing moisture in the air. A window unit, which works at full speed or not at all, will drop a room’s temperature quickly because it is processing a small volume of air to an extremely cold state. A central air unit, which has varying speeds can have the same effect on air feel by conditioning a much larger volume of air, but cooling the air to a smaller degree. Because the central air unit is taking a lot more humidity out of the air, it can be set at a higher temperature and make you feel the same comfort in the room, even though technically it’s warmer.

At Metzger’s & Cooling of Kalamazoo, we carry the highest quality central air conditioner brands. A central air conditioning unit can truly improve your quality of life by increasing the comfort level in your home and increasing your energy efficiency, which saves you money. If you’ve been thinking about ditching the window unit and having a central air system installed, give us a call today!