If your air conditioner isn't working as it should, you're probably looking for a replacement. You have two main options: a central air unit or a wall unit. These can be dramatically different in price and features, which can make the decision difficult. Here's what you need to know.
Window Units Are Cheaper and Easier
If you have a fairly small home (under 1,200 square feet), a window unit may be easier and cheaper. Window units aren't as effective at cooling a space, but they are far cheaper to purchase. However, window units generally only work for the room that they're actually in. The more rooms you have, the more window units you need to install and maintain. If you need more than a few window units to cool your home, it may not be worth the hassle.
HVAC Systems Improve Your Home's Value
A central air or HVAC system is going to cost more to install, but it's also going to improve the value of your home. That's the tradeoff that you're making. HVAC systems are also generally more energy-efficient because they have an easier time cooling the property, though their efficiency is vastly improved by improving your insulation. An HVAC system isn't going to improve the value of your home as much as the cost, though (a $20,000 system isn't going to improve your home's value $20,000), so if you're selling your home very soon, it may not be worth it.
Maintenance May Be More Involved With an HVAC
Maintaining a wall unit is fairly easy: you just need to clean it every once in a while, and it's fine. An HVAC unit needs to have filters changed, ducts cleaned, and evaporator coils wiped off. A homeowner will need to spend substantially more time maintaining their HVAC system than their wall units, but that is also because the system itself is more involved and sophisticated.
An HVAC System Will Last Longer
A good HVAC system should be able to last up to twenty years, though its manufacturer warranty will be for substantially less time. Comparatively, a window unit may need to be replaced every five years or so, which means a homeowner who needs multiple window units could actually spend more money over time on their window units. Further, HVAC systems share the cost between air conditioning and heating units, which distributes the total cost of ownership.
For more information, contact your local air conditioners contractor.