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Heating & Air Conditioning

Air conditioning: Why a window unit might not be your best option

If you use a window air conditioning unit, it’s just about that time of year where you need to lug it out of storage and install it. If you’re feeling like you’ve done this task one too many times, keep reading. We think it’s time you consider another option. 

If your home doesn’t already have central air conditioning, it can be a challenge to keep it cool during the hot summer months. Many homeowners resort to using portable window air conditioning units, which are affordable and can effectively cool a small space. However, there are a number of reasons that we don’t recommend this as a solution to your cooling woes. Here are some of the drawbacks of window units – and reasons why installing central air conditioning is worth the investment.


Window AC units aren’t very efficient, especially if you are cooling down a larger apartment or entire home. Window units are designed to cool a single room, so if you have multiple rooms in your home (which most do), you’ll likely need to install multiple units to reach a comfortable level of coolness. Multiple floors? That’s an even bigger challenge, making window units a less efficient solution.


If you end up with multiple units to achieve enough cooling effect, it can get pretty expensive. Since window units are designed to cool a small space, they’ll need to be installed in a majority of rooms to cool a house. Each unit can run anywhere from $300- $1000 dollars. So if you are cooling even just three or four rooms, the cost can add up quickly.

You’ll also have to add on electricity usage and the price of frequent replacements. Because of their electricity use, many apartment complexes ban window air conditioning units altogether.


Window units can be noisy and disruptive. This is because most people install them in the rooms where they spend the most time, since the air conditioning effect is very localized. If you’re constantly running a window unit in your bedroom or office, for instance, it will no doubt lead to additional noise that will disrupt your sleep or work flow. 


Window units take up space, and if we’re being honest, most aren’t exactly lookers. They must be mounted in a window, which can obstruct the view and limit natural light. In addition, they’re bulky and obstruct the surrounding space, which can be problematic if your room is very small.


Window units require you to constantly manage dirt and dust levels – which is more labour intensive than the seasonal preventive maintenance we recommended for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The moisture and dirt that collect in window units can lead to mold and other issues. If you don’t clean the unit regularly, you could end up with poor air quality and health problems. Keep in mind that since they sit partially outside, window units are exposed to the elements, as well as any dirt or pollen that’s in the air.


Last but certainly not least, window units can be unsafe. One of the main concerns is the risk of electrical shock. This can happen if the unit is not properly grounded or if the electrical wiring is damaged.

Wiring issues and potential overheating can also pose a fire risk. And while it may sound comical, window units are a big falling risk because they balance in windows. If not installed properly, it’s possible for them to tumble out of windows and injure your family or passersby. 

While window units may seem like a convenient and affordable solution for cooling your home, there might be a better choice for you. Consider having your HVAC specialist discuss your options for central air conditioning, which is more efficient, quieter, unobtrusive, requires minimal maintenance. It’s also safer. While there’s a more significant upfront investment, central air conditioning can provide you and your family with increased comfort and convenience and even lower your energy bills in the long run. Ask us how Whyte Ridge’s skilled HVAC technicians can help keep you cool this summer.