Portable Air Conditioner Vs. Central AC Unit — Which Is Best?

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So you are looking to protect yourself and your family from the excessive summer heat! Maybe it’s time for you to look for an air conditioning system. But, you may ask yourself which cooling appliance I really need? Is it essential for me to buy a central air conditioner or a small portable AC unit can do just fine?

Generally speaking, when purchasing central air or a portable air conditioner, you need to know that they are all measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). This is the amount of power you need, which depends on the actual square footage of the room. If you do not choose the right unit then it will be hard to cool the necessary areas. For instance, if the portable air conditioner is too small, it will take longer to cool a room. This translates into increased electric bills and potential repair issues. Then again, if the unit is too big it can make the home feel damp. It also makes the rooms cool too fast, so an automatic shut-off system will be needed.

Central Air Conditioner

If you decide central air is the best option for your home, you could be making the right choice. However, most homes with central air have more than one storey. This is because there are usually air ducts already present when the home was built.

Homes without central air ducts means you could spend up to $10,000 on a new central air unit. Most people do not want to add this type of expense to their budget. Homes with ducts will require about $4,000 to $5,000 for a new central air system. It’s possible you don’t want to spend this kind of money either.

Portable Air Conditioners

If your budget doesn’t allow a major purchase, portable air conditioners are the best alternative. These units are great for supplying cold air to a specific area (bedroom, kitchen, etc.). It is the ideal option if you live in a one-storey home.

The majority of the time these units are placed in a window and then sealed off with plastic or foam. If your home doesn’t have a lot of square footage, one window air conditioner could eventually cool the entire home, if you purchase the right one.

In addition, portable air conditioners can be installed by you as opposed to paying a technician to do it for you. Just make sure you have a helper during installation because these AC units can be a bit awkward to handle.

Unfortunately, they are not designed to generate cool climates in large areas. It could take an entire day to cool a one-storey home. However, if you purchasing an osculating fan it can blow the cool area to other areas in a shorter period of time.

You Choose

What you purchase really depends on your budget and the structure of your home. Even though central air would be ideal for most households, portable air conditioners are the better option. Plus, they won’t hurt your wallet nearly as much, even with additional repairs down the road

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