Deciding Between a Room Air Conditioner and a Central Air SystemIt’s finally time to exchange snow boots for flip-flops and snowmobiles for jet skis! While you’re at it, don’t forget to trade in your jeans and sweatshirts for shorts and t-shirts.

Hopefully you’re as excited for the start of summer as I am. If not, it’s going to be a long three months for you.

Whether or not you enjoy the summer, we can find common ground in that saving money is a top priority. While I enjoy being out in the summer sun, having its rays beat down on me, I’m also quite fond of walking into an air conditioned home.

After golfing 18 holes or going for a run, there’s nothing better than the cool air hitting me the second I open the door. While some people try to use fans to achieve this sensation, they just don’t cut it. The only viable option for me is air conditioning.

Now that I’ve established air conditioning reigns supreme, the only question left is which type is better: Central or room air conditioning.

The answer is different for everyone. Below I’ll explain the differences between the two and help you decide how to stay cool during the summer.

Room Air Conditioner

A room air conditioner does exactly what you would guess – cools an individual room. Most room air conditioners are setup on a windowsill with the device taking up the entire window space. To operate, the unit is plugged into an electrical outlet.

From there, a detailed process takes place that ends with cool air blowing out from the unit. It’s important to predetermine the size of the room you want to cool in order to find a unit that can adequately do the job. If you buy a unit that is too small, it will run constantly (and shoot your utility bill through the roof). If the unit is too big, you’ll have a wildly inconsistent version of air conditioning that will leave you so cold you’ll wish you were back out in the hot sun.

You can expect to pay a couple hundred dollars for the unit with an additional amount going toward operating costs (the more it runs, the more it costs).

Central Air System

Instead of having to pick one room to keep cool during the hot months, a central air system cools the entire house at once with a unit that is generally located outside. All you need to know about this process is your entire house will be cooled.

The main difference (besides staying cool from room to room) is the cost. The installation of a central air system runs well into the thousands. Also, there is little to no maintenance required for a central air system.

How to Decide

If you fall into one of the following categories, your best bet would be a room air conditioner:

  • Renting a house
  • Want to cool only one room
  • Limited budget

If you’re a homeowner and not on a tight budget, a central air system will most likely be a better fit. Once installed, you’ll be able to expand your living quarters from one air conditioned room to anywhere in the house. The dread of walking from a nicely cooled room to one with nothing but heat will be a feeling of the past!

Have an opinion on whether to go with a central air system or room air conditioner? Let me know!


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