Is your household prepared for the sweltering heat of the San Antonio, TX summer? Before you know it, it will be June, and if you don’t already have a reliable air conditioner in your home, you need to purchase one as soon as possible. However, before you pull the trigger on such a significant purchase, you should take the time to figure out which type of AC unit is the right fit for you. Although central air HVAC systems are the most popular choice, they aren’t necessarily ideal for every household. If you’re looking to save money, it’s possible that you’d be better off purchasing a window unit instead. However, numerous factors should be considered, and each type of AC unit has distinct pros and cons.
Whether an HVAC system or a window unit is the right fit for you depends mainly on your specific cooling needs. If you live in a large house with multiple people, then investing in an HVAC unit will likely make the most sense. HVAC systems utilize your air ducts and vents to circulate cool air to every part of the house. So, if you’re in the living room, your spouse is in the bedroom, and your kids are in the playroom, everyone should be experiencing the same level of comfort.
Alternatively, if your household only consists of one or two people, or you spend much of your time in only one or two rooms, purchasing one or two window units may work out well. A window unit will do a good job of cooling you off, but only if you’re spending your time close to it. So, if most of your time at home is spent hanging out in one or two rooms, you probably won’t need more cooling than what a window unit or two will provide. On the other hand, if you regularly need to cool down multiple areas of the home at once, you will probably need at least three or four window units to do the job. At that point, you’re probably better off going with an HVAC system.
Comparing the Up-Front Costs
The price of purchasing an HVAC air conditioning system can vary greatly and depends on several variables. Namely, the size, efficiency, and brand all have a significant effect on the cost of the appliance. In most cases, though, you’ll have to pay somewhere between $2,500 and $7,000 for a brand-new central air-cooling system. Then, to have it professionally installed by licensed technicians, the cost will probably be at least a few hundred more dollars. On the plus side, though, you should never need more than one such system for your household.
Individually, window AC units are significantly less expensive. While the larger, higher-efficiency units may be as costly as $1,000, you should be able to purchase a smaller one for as little as $200 or so. Obviously, the total price will depend entirely on how many window units you need for your household. But provided you don’t need more than two or three of them, you should still save money in comparison to a central air HVAC system. Plus, you shouldn’t need to pay any additional money for a professional installation, as window units don’t require any special expertise to set up.
Differences in Energy Usage
During the hot Texas summer, you’ll undoubtedly be cranking the air conditioning up quite often. So, the energy efficiency of your chosen system should be a major consideration. On average, a central air HVAC unit will require roughly 3,500 watts per hour to control the temperature and humidity of your household. Granted, with a high-efficiency system, that wattage will be significantly lower, but it’s worth mentioning that those high-efficiency systems are very pricey to purchase. In comparison, most window units will use between 500 and 1,400 watts of energy per hour of usage. Of course, if you were to run two or three window units simultaneously, your energy consumption would be doubled or tripled.
So, if you’re content with only one window AC unit for your home, you will pay only a small fraction of the amount per month that you’d be paying for a standard HVAC system. When extrapolated over a summer, a year, or several years, those savings only get larger and larger. If you have three or more window units being used regularly, on the other hand, the difference in cooling costs becomes negligible.
Examining Repair Costs
Because HVAC units are such intricate systems with so many integral components, there are quite a few potential issues that can come up. In many cases, all it takes is a single part wearing out, becoming loose, or malfunctioning to jeopardize the performance of the entire system. And much of the time, the repair jobs to fix those problems can be on the expensive side. Since most HVAC systems are large investments, most homeowners don’t feel as though they have much choice when a pricey repair comes up. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but a $1,000 repair is still more affordable than purchasing a new system.
With window units, you tend to have a bit more flexibility if the need for a costly repair arises. For one thing, the average repair cost for a window AC unit is significantly lower than that of an HVAC system. However, if a major problem does occur and your appliance requires an expensive fix, you have the option of replacing the unit entirely instead. Because window units rarely cost more than $1,000, it may very well be cheaper than having your broken-down unit repaired.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Generally, window AC units don’t require too much upkeep. Other than regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter, all you typically need to do is give the unit a general cleaning every now and then. During this process, you’ll want to clean the coils and scrub all the accumulated dust and dirt off the fans. You’ll also want to remove the dirty water from the unit’s drain pan and give it a thorough wipe-down.
If your household uses an HVAC system, it’s imperative that you schedule a professional maintenance visit at least once each year. These tune-ups are crucial for maintaining the air conditioner’s performance, health, and energy efficiency. While these maintenance visits aren’t especially pricey, the cost does accumulate to a significant amount over several years. However, keeping up with it provides all the following benefits for your household:
- Improved cooling ability
- Decreased humidity
- Better indoor air quality
- Fewer repairs needed
- Longer appliance life expectancy
When you require quality heating, cooling, duct cleaning, or indoor air quality services in Selma or the San Antonio area, you can always rely on our team at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating. With over 40 years of collective experience in the industry, our friendly technicians have the skills and expertise necessary to keep your home running smoothly. We’re a family-owned business, and we view all our clients as an extension of our family. When you hire us for a job, you can expect fair treatment, committed service, straight talk, and a focus on quality. When you’re ready to make an appointment, just give our offices at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating a call.