Summer’s here, along with the heat. If you’re thinking of installing an air conditioner, or replacing older units for more energy efficient ones, it’s important to consider the size of the space you want to cool, how often the space is occupied throughout the day and night, and where you want to install the unit.

Many newly built homes use central air conditioners, and installing one in an older home can be costly. Other options are either window AC units or portable ones, which can be used in conjunction with central air if you only want to cool a bedroom in the evening, or if your system doesn’t cool your home as evenly as you’d like.

Take a look at the pros and cons of each, and you can decide which is best for your needs.

Portable (Floor) Air Conditioners

Air conditioning - Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning

1. Pros

  • Easy to install
  • You’ll receive a window kit that you use to exhaust the heat removed from the room air out the window
  • Able to be moved from room to room, depending on which room you’re in, or want to cool
  • It’s also possible to exhaust the unit through a door or even a ceiling with a special kit
  • If you live in an area that prohibits window units because they hang out the window, you can use a portable unit

2. Cons

  • Sometimes these units can be heavy, so it may be inconvenient to move them from one floor of a home to another
  • If you’ve got a small space, they take up floor space, and may add to a cluttered feel in a room
  • Some units may be noisy because all of the mechanical parts are in the room

Window Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioning - air

1. Pros

  • A window unit is stored entirely outside of your living space, so you don’t have to make floor space
  • More energy efficient than a portable unit, so you get even more cooling power per BTU
  • Usually more inexpensive to purchase these units compared to floor units

2. Cons

  • Limits the view out the window, so you get less light and visibility
  • Detracts from the home’s exterior appearance
  • Window is inoperable as long as the unit is installed, so there’s no opportunity to open the window with the unit on a cooler day or evening for natural ventilation, which would save electricity and money on mild days
  • Units need to be removed and stored during winter months, then reinstalled when warm weather arrives

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About the Author: is a full-service home remodeling and construction general contractor serving the greater Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego area. Home improvement is hard, and we make it easier for you every step of the way. That starts by understanding your goals, whether it’s making a space more livable, expanding your home, repairing damage, adding room for relatives, or something completely different. We’ll work with you to ensure you’re happy with the project from start to finish.