Deciding Between Window Mounted, Wall And Central Air Conditioning

Between budget constraints and design challenges in different buildings, settling on the right kind of air conditioning system can be difficult. Central air allows for a centralized control of temperature but requires extensive ventilation design, while mounted units require traveling to different locations to manage everything. As you look through the different options, think about what different systems can provide and how well they may work with your building layout and budget.

Central Air Units

Central air conditioning is a convenient system to use because you only need to change the temperature at a single location. Although it's possible and practical to have multiple central air controls depending on the size of the building and the potency of the system, control can be wired to a single location if necessary.

Unfortunately, central air conditioning can be a very steep investment, reaching an average of over $5,000 per unit. The amount may be good for a home, but if you're managing a warehouse or multi-tiered business that has multiple departments, installing enough ventilation shafts for air movement may be costly.

Like anything with moving parts, central air units can fail if not maintained properly. Although it isn't uncommon for single air conditioning units to last over a decade, poor maintenance or harsh conditions may mean that a large replacement price tag could be in your near future.

Central air conditioning systems are often part of a heating and cooling combination, which can be a multi-seasonal benefit over the more modular alternatives.

Window And Wall Mounted Units

If you work in a small business or a home office, a window-mounted system may be better. Instead of having to hire a contractor to lug a heavy central air conditioning unit. make changes to your building, these units can be set inside a window with a much less stressful installation--although it still takes some upper-body strength.

Window air conditioning units are designed to cool the immediate area, such as a living room and even a connected dining room. Since the air comes out of vents on the face of the machine instead of pipes or ventilation shafts, the temperature won't change much beyond doorways and walls.

The average window air conditioning unit runs around $300 for a full set of features, such as energy saving settings to shut off when the temperature is at your set level, remote control access, control via the Internet (the "smart appliance" marketing niche) and higher British Thermal Units (BTU) for more potent cooling potential.

Although you can pick one up at any store, the installation is not for an amateur by any means. In addition to being quite heavy for a single person to install, there needs to be a near perfect seal at the window. If the window isn't sealed properly, outside air can constantly bring in warmer air and cause the air conditioner to work harder than it should, leading to faster wear and tear.

Most window air conditioning units don't have a cooling feature attached. You may want a space heater or a wall-installed heater, which requires planning for proper heating potential.