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Why Window Units Are a Poor Substitution for Central AC

heat pump

Many homeowners use window AC units to maintain a cool and comfortable environment during the summer months. As you may already know, window AC units are mounted in an open window (or a pre-cut exterior wall). They operate like central AC systems by absorbing heat from inside your home and transferring it to your home’s exterior. While similar, though, AC units are a poor substitution for central AC.

Laborious to Install and Remove

With window AC units, you’ll have to install and remove them each year, which can be laborious. They often weigh 30 to 60 pounds. When the warm weather arrives, you’ll have to haul the heavy window AC units into the appropriate windows where you can then install them. When the warm weather comes to an end, conversely, you’ll have to remove the window AC units. Central AC is more convenient since it doesn’t require any physical labor such as this.

Dedicated Circuits

Many window AC units require a dedicated electrical circuit. You can’t just plug them into any wall outlet. If an outlet has a shared circuit that’s currently powering one or more devices, a window AC unit may cause the circuit breaker to trip.

Limited Cooling

Window AC units offer limited cooling power. You can find them in a wide range of British Thermal Units (BTUs). The BTU rating of a window AC unit is a measurement of its cooling power. Some of them have a 5,000 BTU rating, whereas others have a 12,000 BTU rating. Window AC units with a high BTU rating are able to produce cooler air than their counterparts with a low BTU rating.

The problem with window AC units, however, is that they don’t provide house-wide cooling. Even if a window AC unit has a high BTU rating, it probably won’t cool your entire home. The room in which you install it will likely remain cool, but the other rooms in your home will remain warm and humid.

Creates Air Leaks

Another reason window AC units are a poor substitution for central AC is because they create air leaks. It’s nearly impossible to install a window AC unit so that it’s completely sealed. Most of them have side panels consisting of plastic material. When installing a window AC unit, you can extend the side panels to fill the exposed space. But even with these side panels, air will leak into and out of your home.