When you’re in the middle of them, it seems like the dog days of summer will never end. Endless hot, humid days seem to be followed by endless hot humid nights when your home doesn’t have central air conditioning. For some homeowners, investing in a new HVAC system is an overwhelming expense. Instead, they seek out less expensive alternatives, usually in the form of a cheap air conditioner that fits in the window of one room of their home. Once it is installed, they turn it on, half expecting it to cool their entire home down only to find it runs night and day with little effect. In the end, the cheap air conditioner can cost you more money and more sleepless nights than having a new central air conditioner installed in your home. Here’s why.
1. Cheap air conditioners are ineffective.
Even if you position your air conditioner in the warmest room of your house, you are unlikely to achieve the type of airflow you need to direct that cooler air to other rooms. Let’s say you want a cool bedroom to help you sleep at night. You put a window air conditioner next to your bed, leave the door open and turn on the ceiling fan in an effort to push the cool air to the living room next door and go to work. When you get home that evening you notice that your bedroom is only marginally cooler and the rest of your house is the same temperature it would be without the window unit. What went wrong?
Most people don’t appreciate the “V” in HVAC. Ventilation, or airflow from one room to the next, is what makes your heater and air conditioner effective. Adequate movement of air from your unit to the other rooms in your house is what makes it possible for the entire house to stay at the same temperature. It is also what cheap air conditioners lack. Sure, if you close the door to the room where your window unit is, you will cool down that room, but the rest of your house will remain unaffected. As a result, you will have to purchase multiple window air conditioners to cool multiple areas of your home in the hopes of achieving some level of comfort. In the end, an upgrade to central air is only slightly more expensive.
2. Utility costs add up quickly.
Even if you have a small home, a cheap air conditioner will not effectively cool your entire home. You may be successful at cooling off the room where your air conditioner sits, but it is unlikely that cool air will circulate to the rest of the rooms. That small window unit will, however, run day and night while it tries its best to put out cool air. You may not think a small appliance plugged into a wall outlet can draw that much power, but when it runs 24 hours a day as it likely will in humid climates, it quickly adds up. Let’s do a little math. The average utility customer in Maryland will pay 13.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. If you buy a 900-watt air conditioner, and let it run 24 hours a day, you will use 21.6 kWh every day. Multiply that by 13.7 cents and your wall unit air conditioner costs $2.96 a day or $88.78 a month to run.
While HVAC systems use more energy than cheap air conditioners, they are much more efficient at cooling your entire house down and turn off once your home reaches a certain temperature. Let’s say you are running two 900 watt window air conditioners at a time. Based on our math, your utilities will go up by $177.56 per month during the summer. Now, let’s say you have an energy-efficient, properly sized air conditioner installed in your home. Not only will it effectively cool your home in less time, but it will also periodically cycle off. On average, central air uses 3,000 watts an hour and runs for an average of 8 hours a day for daily use of 24 kWh (3,000 x 8 / 1000). Multiply that by 13.7 cents per kWh and a central air conditioner will cost $3.29 a day or $98.64 a month to run. That cost will go down if you use a programmable thermostat that allows your central air to only run when you’re home.
3. Cheap air conditioners do not add value to your home.
Appraisers agree that central air conditioning can increase your home’s value by as much as 10 percent. While some may argue that this only matters if you intend to sell your home, money experts feel that investing in home upgrades that increase its value is a wise use of your time and money. But with an initial outlay of several thousand dollars, many people are scared to take the plunge into central air conditioning.
Fortunately, Farnen and Dermer have made it more affordable than ever to enjoy a climate-controlled home. Now, our customers can apply for 0 percent financing for 60 months on a new energy-efficient Trane system. Not only does Trane offer rebates for several of their models, but utility companies also offer rebates for installing energy-efficient air conditioners. Highly efficient models may even qualify for federal tax breaks further reducing their cost. Installing central air conditioning has never been more affordable or more within reach. Not only will you live more comfortably, but you may also even reduce your utility costs and increase the value of your home. Call the experts at Farnen and Dermer today for an in-home free estimate on your new central air conditioner.