There’s not much time left to make sure that your Raleigh, NC area household is prepared for the summer heat. It’d be a major hassle to deal with an AC replacement in the middle of June, so if you’re currently shopping for a new cooling system, you’d be wise to make a decision soon. Most homeowners typically go with HVAC systems, such as central air units and heat pumps. While HVAC systems certainly have their advantages, they aren’t always an ideal fit for every household. Each situation is unique, and it’s entirely possible that your home would be better off with a window AC unit. Ultimately, it depends on what your priorities are when it comes to a cooling system.

Comparing the Upfront Prices

Two of the most significant costs associated with owning a cooling system are the purchase price and the installation fee. In both of these categories, a window unit will be less expensive than an HVAC system. Of course, HVAC systems come in a wide range of prices, but even the most affordable models are typically more than the priciest window units. On average, window units can be purchased for a price somewhere in the range of $100 to $1,000, whereas HVAC systems can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. That said, if you end up purchasing multiple window units for your household, that price difference can become much less significant.

Window AC units also come out looking favorable when it comes to installation costs. In fact, with window units, you can usually install them by yourself in no more than a couple of hours. If you purchase an HVAC unit, you’ll usually have to pay at least $300 or $400 to have it professionally installed. Because HVAC systems require a much more complicated setup, it’s best not to attempt to install them on your own. However, if you’re in the Raleigh area, you can enlist our expert technicians at Thermo Direct to provide prompt, affordable installation.

Energy Usage

Energy efficiency is the biggest factor in how much a cooling system costs you in the long run. If you’re running an AC unit that requires a lot of electricity, your monthly energy costs are going to be through the roof during the hot North Carolina summer. If you’re looking to save money on your cooling bills, you may want to go with a window unit for your home. Smaller window units typically only require around 500 watts of electricity per hour of operation, and even the larger units only use around 1,400. That’s in comparison to the 3,500 watts that the average HVAC system uses per hour. Granted, heat pumps and special high-efficiency central air systems don’t use up quite so much energy, but they still tend to need more than window units.

So, with such a large difference in energy usage, having a window unit will potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over several years. Of course, if your household is running multiple window units simultaneously, that changes things. However, it would take three or four window units, on average, to equal the electricity usage of an HVAC system.

Dealing With Needed Repairs

Over the course of a cooling system’s lifespan, it’s inevitable that occasional equipment problems will arise. Even if you take excellent care of the appliance, you can never avoid issues entirely. Unfortunately, with HVAC systems, many of the things that can potentially go wrong are quite expensive to fix. However, when dealing with an appliance that you spent several thousand dollars to purchase, you don’t have much choice when it comes to paying for the repair. It’s a difficult pill to swallow when you have to spend $1,000 or $2,000 to fix your AC unit, but if the unit is still fairly new, it’s more practical than purchasing a whole new system.

Window AC units can sometimes suffer malfunctions or breakdowns, as well. However, they usually aren’t as devastating when they occur. For one, most mechanical problems that come up with window units are relatively inexpensive to repair, usually fixable for no more than a few hundred dollars. However, if your window unit is ever in bad enough shape that it needs a particularly expensive fix, you have the option to replace the unit instead. Since window units are usually cheaper than $1,000, having to invest in a new one isn’t as monumental of a financial decision as purchasing a new HVAC system.

Required Maintenance and Upkeep

Professional maintenance is a relatively minor cost when it comes to owning an HVAC system, but scheduling it every year can add up to a significant sum. It also isn’t a service you’d be wise to neglect. By having your HVAC unit tuned-up once or twice each year, you’ll ensure that it operates at peak performance and efficiency. Plus, your cooling system will be significantly less likely to break down, and it may even remain healthy and effective for a few extra years.

That said, maintenance is another area in which having a window unit will save you some money. With a window AC unit, there’s generally no need to schedule regular professional tune-ups. As long as you take the time every once in a while to clean a few parts of the appliance, it should continue to operate efficiently. You’ll want to regularly clean the air filter, the coils, and the drainage pan.

The Major Benefit of Having an HVAC System

As you can see, HVAC systems are typically more expensive than window AC units in just about every area. However, HVAC systems do have their advantages, and the most notable one is the fact that they can cool your entire home. While a window unit will only be able to control the climate of one room or area, a central air HVAC system or heat pump can spread cool air to every part of your house simultaneously. This is the primary reason that HVAC systems require more electricity and cost more to purchase.

Usually, window units are excellent options for people who live alone or spend the majority of their time in one or two rooms. Even if you have three window units installed, you can still keep your energy usage in check if you only run one or two of them at a time. However, if you have a large home or several members of your family, you may not be content with using window units for your cooling. In those situations, an HVAC system may indeed be a more practical choice.

Since 2000, Thermo Direct has been a reliable provider of heating, cooling, and electrical services in the greater Raleigh area. We are committed to serving our neighbors in this area, and we cherish the opportunity to help the residents of our community. That’s why we proudly offer discount services to senior citizens and those who are underprivileged. Our skilled technicians will also be available to help if you need indoor air quality, ductwork, or weatherization services. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or learn more about what we do, reach out to us at Thermo Direct today!

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