When the temperature cranks up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond, air conditioning can not only make your life more comfortable, it can be an absolute necessity. Especially for the elderly and people with illnesses or severe asthma and respiratory diseases or allergies, air conditioning is more than a luxury.
Choosing the right air conditioner for your home is a matter of matching the unit to your needs. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Window Air Conditioning Units
Window units are very useful when you are just trying to cool a single room, such as a bedroom. Several window units can also be effective if you have a small home, as they may be sufficient for cooling the living area, kitchen and individual bedrooms. Window units are also a good choice in dorm rooms and rental units, since you can take the unit with you when you move out. In homes where it would be too costly to install the ductwork required for central air, such as older homes heated with fuel oil, window air conditioners can be the most cost effective choice. The price for a window unit ranges from about one hundred to several hundred dollars.
Window units simply slide into a window and the side panels are extended to block air flow around the unit. The window is closed on top of the unit to hold it in place and in many cases, it is wise to brace the unit from outside to keep it from tipping downward. Before adding a window unit to a dorm room or rental space, check with the landlord to be sure that the electrical outlet and window structure are sufficient to support the unit.
Central Air Conditioning
Central air is like heaven on earth during the sultry summer months and for anyone living in a southern climate; once you have central air, itís very hard to give it up! Central air is the more expensive option with an average unit capable of cooling a 1200 to 1500 square foot home costing approximately $4000. The cost is higher if installed in an older home or larger home.
In addition to the unit itself, the home needs proper ductwork and electrical wiring to support the system. Most new homes are either built with central air already installed or the duct and electrical systems are ready and capable of supporting a system, so installation is easy and less expensive than retrofitting an older home. Central air requires little maintenance other than changing the HVAC filter every 60-90 days, keeping the condenser clean, keeping the area around the area free of leaves and debris and having a professional check the system every three years of so.
What System is Best for You?
To make an informed decision, you need to consider whether your electrical and ductwork would need to be upgraded and whether there is an appropriate space outside the home to set up a central air conditioning unit. Also consider whether you wish to cool the entire home, or just a select room or two; in that case, one or two window units would be the better way to go. However, keep in mind that running several window units simultaneously will run your energy bill through the roof in no time at all.
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