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Serving Northern California Since 1946

Serving Northern California Since 1946


DeHart Plumbing, Heating, and Air Inc. Blog

Are Window ACs an Energy-Efficient Option for Cooling?


More than 75 years ago, Robert Sherman invented the window air conditioner. Most homes and buildings today have some type of air conditioning system, making it easy to overlook what a tremendous breakthrough in comfort the window AC was. At the time, central air conditioning was bulky and extremely expensive, and few homes had any type of ductwork to allow it. Thanks to the window AC, homes everywhere could enjoy summer cooling. This single invention opened up the sunbelt to a population boom.

But that was long ago. Window ACs are still here, but advances in technology have made central ACs affordable for many homes. Is there a serious choice between the two for today’s homeowner? Can window ACs compete when it comes to saving energy?

If Possible, Have a Central AC Installed

The answer is no, but with some qualifications. A window air conditioner costs less to purchase than a central system, but that doesn’t mean it saves money. 

For one thing, you need multiple window air conditioners to provide reasonable comfort around a house (unless, for some reason, you and your family spend almost all of your time in one or two rooms). The costs of those additional ACs add up.

Second, window air conditioners are less energy efficient than central ACs. Each window unit has its own compressor that consumes large amounts of electricity to run. A central air conditioner has only one compressor. The compressor is larger and draws on more power than an individual window AC, but has better efficiency. If you want to cool your entire home, central air conditioning will cost you far less on your electric bills. 

The short version: If you want to cool your house, you’ll get better long-term savings with a central air conditioning system. A window AC is best left for cooling small apartments. 

Window ACs Have Many Drawbacks

There are other reasons we don’t recommend homes install window air conditioners aside from the cost of running them. Window ACs have several major drawbacks:

  • They have to be removed each winter. Heat escapes easily through window air conditioners and their plastic sidings, which contributes to a colder house. Removing all the units and then putting them back in for summer is a big hassle. 
  • Window ACs block windows and therefore block light into a home. Any house that relies heavily on window air conditioners will be darker and less welcoming because it has barricaded itself to natural light. 
  • Window ACs have limitations on placement. If you don’t have a convenient window in a room, or the windows don’t open in a way that allows for an AC, you can’t get cooling for that room.
  • Even the most powerful window air conditioner will have trouble effectively cooling a space larger than a standard bedroom.
  • AC units sticking from windows all around the house make the building look unappealing from the outside. 
  • Window air conditioners create security risks where people can break into a house.

We want to help you enjoy great energy-efficient air conditioning in Modesto, CA. Our experts can find the best way to affordably cool your house and benefit the environment at the same time.

Greenhart helps you “Live Green, Save Green!” Call us today to find out more about how you can save with an energy-efficient air conditioning installation.

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