Is it time to go central?
It’s about to get hot and if you’re one of those people that has to go down to your basement or into the garage and dust off the window AC units, I feel your pain. I was one of those homeowners. I would dread the inevitable day that I would have to lug those monsters up the stairs, leaking water all over the floors and carpets and straining my back from leaning over to get just the right fit in the window. The mess and aggravation would make me put off the job until it was so hot in my office or the bedroom that I considered moving to a cooler place before having to go through that again. It’s not just getting them in the window either, it’s the tape, foam, and filters that I put aside every year and then can’t find when I need them. It’s the little sliding accordion sides that never stay put and let the hot air and bugs in because there’s never enough foam to seal those cracks. It’s getting them just right in the window so there’s no cracks and hot air getting in, turning them on and having to balance them just right so they don’t sound like a blender.
I finally got sick of it or too old to deal with the hassle last year and went for central AC and here’s why I’ll never go back: I’ll start with the obvious reasons. The condenser, fan and compressor are located in an outdoor unit, instead of the window in the room in which you’re trying to sleep, read, watch TV or sleep. You can hardly hear them. In fact, I can’t hear it all since it’s on the opposite side of the house from my office and bedroom.
One pleasant surprise I had never considered or appreciated was my windows. I can use them now. At night, when it’s not too hot and there’s a cool breeze I can take advantage of that and open a window and let the air in now. I can actually see and smell the garden now.
My house is always comfortable. I don’t have to walk from room to room turning off units because I’m leaving the room or because one of the kids left one on. No more walking into stuffy rooms and having to wait until they cool down. No more having to remember to start the bedroom AC beforehand so as not to go to bed in an oven.
Here’s the great part (or cool part if you prefer): Centralized units send cool air directly through ducts and vents located in each room. Each room can be cooled instead of cooling just one room. Ambient air is pulled into the unit from each room through return-air ducts. The system filters the air that passes through it, removing airborne particles, like lint, allergens, dust, pollen and pet hair. Filtered air is then re-cycled back to the rooms through a separate system of ducts. These systems can trap the most microscopic pollutants. Having constantly clean and cool air is a major benefit with central air conditioners.
The upfront costs of central air conditioners may be a little intimidating, but overall, the payoff is it. These systems provide years of comfort. And as a major bonus, central air conditioners add value to the home, which means when it comes to resale, a central air system will be a huge selling feature.