Which is Better for TN? Central AC or Window Units
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “residential air conditioning accounts for around five percent of the electricity consumed in the U.S.”
But in Tennessee, air conditioning accounts for a larger portion of home energy usage (10%) because of the state’s warm and oftentimes humid weather. In fact, “almost all Tennessee households use air conditioning, with over 80% using central air conditioners and a small portion using window/wall units.”
This explains, in part, why “average electricity consumption for Tennessee households is 33% higher than the national average and among the highest in the nation,” according to the same Residential Energy Consumption Survey.
Fortunately, the residents of Greater Nashville—not to mention the rest of Tennessee—enjoy relatively low electricity prices. Of course, Middle Tennessee homeowners still want to cool their homes and apartments as efficiently and inexpensively as possible, which begs the question:
Which is better for your Greater Nashville area home, central air conditioning (HVAC unit) or window units?
The answer depends on your house or apartment, your budget, and your personal preferences, among other factors you may want to consider.
Window Air Conditioning Units
A window unit (or two) is less expensive (up front) than central air conditioning, and may make sense if you’re looking to cool one or two rooms or a very small house. A window unit is relatively easy to install and operating costs will likely be less than central A/C. Simply plug your window unit into a standard electrical outlet, turn it on, and the cool air begins flowing.
But, there are potential pitfalls and drawbacks to window units.
First, if your window unit is too small, it may struggle to cool the room(s) in question; if it’s too large, humidity may build up inside your home. Make sure to consult our guide on How to Calculate HVAC Unit Size For Your Home.
Also, window units can be difficult to seal, and hot, humid air can leak in from the outside.
Moreover, you may not appreciate the inconvenience of installing window unit(s) each spring and removing and storing them for the winter. Know too that most people consider them unattractive. And security may be an issue, as burglars can readily remove a window unit.
If you do opt to purchase a window A/C unit, look for the following features:
- Multi-speed fan control
- A built-in thermostat
- An integrated timer (so the unit can be turned on before you get home)
- A readily accessible filter (which will make cleaning the filter easier)
Central Air Conditioning
While window air conditioners serve their purpose, there’s a good reason that more than 80% of all Tennessee households use central air conditioning or HVAC unit.
The Benefits of Central AC
- Your entire home is cooled at a consistent temperature.
- Temperature control is easy; just adjust the thermostat(s).
- A well-designed, appropriately installed HVAC unit does a better job of controlling humidity than window units.
- Central A/C is better at filtering air, a big consideration for those with asthma, allergies or sensitivity to dust.
- It can add to the resale value of a home, as it’s an attractive feature for most Nashville and Middle Tennessee home buyers.
- HVAC units not only provide A/C to your home but also heating so only one unit is needed to make your home comfortable year round.
So while central air requires a higher upfront investment than window units, it typically pays off in the long run.
Residential HVAC Installation and Service
Naturally, it’s important that the central air conditioning system you choose is sized and installed properly, to maximize its effectiveness. Make certain to choose an experienced, reputable company to handle your residential HVAC system’s installation and maintenance. Jewell Mechanical’s technicians are trained on the latest HVAC equipment, including systems from:
- American Standard
- And all other major HVAC manufacturers
Learn more about our seasonal specials, or contact us to schedule installation or maintenance of your air conditioning system. Jewell Mechanical serves the metro Davidson County area and most of the rest of Middle Tennessee.