There was a time in the not-so-distant past when most people only had the option of a window air-conditioning unit if their home didn’t come equipped with a forced air system.
A viable alternative although they weren’t all that attractive, window units did the job to cool down rooms and small spaces. With all the new alternatives for air conditioning units and ways to cool your home, are window units a thing of the past or are they still viable?
The telltale sign of a home without central air-conditioning is in plain sight: the air-conditioner that protrudes outside the window; does it make sense to go in and start ripping things up or just to let things be?
It really depends on whether you own or rent, and how much you want to invest in making the interior of your place cool and comfortable.
When it is good to leave a window unit in place?
Window units aren’t just unsightly; sometimes they can impede the amount of natural light that reaches the interior of your home. But is it really worth taking down drywall – or even worse, plaster – to put in central air?
Window units are a loud inconvenience, and they might also not be energy-efficient; this can make your energy costs skyrocket during the hot summer months.
Although tolerable (though loud and ugly), if you are okay with the small inconveniences, then they might just be the best solution for the time being or if you are renting and don’t have the option to upgrade.
How to make window units more attractive economically and aesthetically
If you want to make air-conditioning units a little less cumbersome consider taking them out until the warm weather approaches. Out of convenience, people often leave their window units in year-round.
Not only does that allow hot air to leak out during the cold winter months around the exterior of the unit; it also ensures that you can’t open the window and air things out when the weather is tepid enough to do so.
So if you are going to opt to keep the window unit, it might behoove you to put a little extra effort in to remove the unit and use it only when the weather outside starts to heat up.
Even if you have central air, there are times when it might be more expensive to run the air conditioner than to consider just sectioning off a room or two and make them bearable, instead of trying to run the central air to work on large spaces.
If you are on the top floor of an apartment high-rise, then you might unwittingly be working against yourself by using central cooling. If you have a window unit, then you have much more control over cooling the places you want instead of fighting the tide of heat rising when the temperature really gets turned up.
The advantages of taking the unit out and reinstalling when necessary
Instead of leaving a window unit sitting through cold and warm weather, it might be a good idea to take it out when you don’t need it and put it back in when things get hot. If you have the storage space and it isn’t too heavy, then the amount of air leakage that you will save around the unit might be well worth storing it during the cold winter months.
Not only will you not have to worry about the cold weather making its way in, but you also will have more sunlight heating your home when things begin to cool down.
Although air-conditioning units aren’t the most attractive things in the world, if you live in an apartment or a high-rise, they might be your most energy-efficient way to cool things down. If you can take them out and only put them back in when it’s needed, then you can win all the way around.
Just make sure to evaluate whether an air-conditioning unit is doing you a favor or not to help you decide whether you should nix it or remove and install it to keep things in your home cool and your energy costs low.
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