Summer heat can be brutal, especially if you don’t have any sort of air conditioning in your home. Installing a central air conditioning unit is quite the undertaking and can be expensive, so many homeowners opt for window AC units instead. But do window AC units use a lot of electricity? Well, compared to central units, they do not. A window AC unit uses less than ⅓ of the amount of energy it would take to run a central unit for the same amount of time. But if you have more than one unit, it can quickly add up. Window AC units make sense in small spaces, but if you have a larger home or want to cool several different areas at once, it’s more cost effective to install central air. For the energy conscious homeowner, a power consumption meter is a handy way to keep track of how much energy each appliance in your home is consuming.
Can My Electrical System Handle Air Conditioning?
A window AC unit is more powerful than most household appliances, so it is essential that your electrical system is capable of handling the new addition. Small 115-volt window units with a 15-amp requirement can be used with standard outlets, but large units with 125 or 220 volts and higher amperage ratings require a committed outlet. If you don’t have one available, you’ll have to have one installed by a professional electrician. An electrical panel upgrade or circuit panel update may also be needed, depending on the age and condition of your current electrical system. If you’re unsure if your home is able to handle a window AC unit, contact Mr. Electric before installation.
Is Ductless Air Conditioning a Better Option?
A ductless air conditioner, or mini-split unit, is more expensive than a window unit but much more powerful. Mini-splits are more energy efficient than central AC systems and can cool a much larger area than a window unit. A mini-split gets its name from the way the unit works; the thermostat and air vent are inside the room it's cooling, while the cooling fans are on the exterior. The mini-split has features like timers and programmable settings, so you can set it at a lower temperature at night or when you’re not home to save money, much like a central AC unit. Since the cooling portion of the unit is located outside, it has the same sound level as a fan, making it a much quieter option than a traditional window unit. Professional installation is required for a mini-split unit, although the installation process is less involved and costly than a central air system.
What’s the Least Expensive Option?
At the end of the day, a window unit will cost you less than a ductless or central AC unit, but it may not be able to give you the kind of cooling you’re looking for. If you need more than one window unit, a mini-split will save you much more money over the long run, even with its initial installation costs. If you do decide to install a central AC system, there are ways to keep your costs down. Consider installing a smart thermostat, which can help monitor your energy usage and alert you to ways you can save money. For example, a smart thermostat would be able to track your energy usage and suggest a temperature for your air conditioner to save money. You’d be surprised what a difference a few degrees can make on your energy bill.
Whatever option you choose for your cooling needs, Mr. Electric can make sure your electrical system is up to the challenge. Contact your local Mr. Electric at (844) 866-1367 or request an estimate online.
If you choose to go with central air or a ductless system, consider installing a programmable thermostat. According to Aire Serv, there are many benefits to a programmable thermostat. Aire Serv is part of Neighborly’s community of home service professionals, offering reliable home heating and cooling solutions.