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Central AC vs window AC: which is more efficient

Window AC Unit - Close Up

When the question of what method of cooling you want to use for your home during the scorching summer months arises, many homeowners like to opt for using multiple window units over a larger central AC that can sometimes come with prohibitive purchase costs.

If a single room needs to be cooled or even two or three small rooms, it certainly wouldn't be efficient to handle that small a demand with a central unit. Window units, used wisely, would be much cheaper. Cooling larger rooms or entire floors, however, is a job better suited to central air.

In terms of efficiency ratings central air generally has the edge on window units because they can be adjusted to work at a range of speeds and settings while window units generally use the maximum amount of energy they're capable of consuming. Even Energy Star ratings between the two differ to reflect central ACs' efficiency over window units. Whereas the central AC unit must achieve a minimum energy efficiency ratio (energy consumption while cooling a prescribed volume of 95-degree air over the course of an hour) of at least 12 to earn the Energy Star rating, window units are only required to score between 9.4 and 10.7.

This may seem like a small difference but when it comes to your energy bill, you'll want to make sure that you're paying the least possible for the most amount of space cooled. Over the course of the summer, those metrics can add up quickly and be the difference between paying an additional 30 percent per window unit versus 40 - 50 percent for an efficient central air.

For central air conditioner installations in the Mid Atlantic, there is no better name in Fairfax, Virginia, Washington D.C. or Rockville, Maryland AC installation than John C. Flood. Our local professionals perform fast, quality installs that will have you enjoying an efficiently cooled house all summer long.