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3 Ways Your Window AC Unit May Actually Cost More to Run than a New HVAC System

Rowland Air has seen it all over the 30+ years we’ve been in the HVAC business. The draw toward window AC units is understandable. They cost a lot less upfront than a central HVAC installation, but there are (at least) three major drawbacks you need to consider.

Hidden Costs of Air Conditioning

Depending on how many window units you’re planning on operating, your power bill could be rather incredible. Trust us; we know the drill. A lot of times, we see a single unit running on max nonstop in a bedroom, with fans placed strategically throughout the house to circulate that cool air. 

That’s going to cost you a relative fortune in comparison to a professionally installed central HVAC system.

Window AC Security Concerns

Let’s face it, almost none of these things are ever properly installed. Some of the newer ones come with various bits and bobs designed as sash stops or window slide locks to keep thieves out, but they’re almost always improperly installed, too. They are almost never checked for how secure they are or even how safe they are. 

The Point of Diminishing Returns

As was alluded to earlier in point number one, the real question you need to ask is how many rooms you need to cool. What’s the square footage you need to cool? If it’s much more than about 300, you’re better off with a professionally installed central HVAC unit.

Is There Any Benefit to Using Window AC Units?

Having said all of the above, there are certain situations in which it is reasonable to install a window AC unit. 

Let’s say you just put an addition on your house, adding an extra bedroom. Or perhaps you built a little shed out back or a little mother-in-law cottage that’s a separate outbuilding on your property. In all these cases, a properly installed window unit is a realistic option because it will be used in the way it was designed to be used. 

However, there are other, more streamlined ways to cool or supplement the cooling of additional spaces in your home or on your property.

Low-Cost Options

There are a few things to consider in your quest to lower the indoor temps in your home or if you have certain rooms that usually pose a challenge when it’s hot outside.

Perhaps the most obvious is to consider closing the blinds in those rooms and keeping them closed whenever the sun is on them. Solar gain is the quickest way to heat your home passively.

Consider installing a ceiling fan or two in your problem space(s). Running it on low speed whenever you need a little respite from the heat stirs the air enough to bring the “feel” of the space down at least a couple of degrees.

If you’re desperate, soak a washcloth in cold water, wring it out, and drape it across the back of your neck. It’s not convenient, and it’s not exactly a fashion statement (or perhaps it is), but it does work.