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What’s More Cost Effective: A Portable A/C Unit or Central Air?

Just like any home appliance, the cost-effectiveness depends on a few variables. For instance, the size of your household. If you live in a large, five-bedroom house, you’ll probably want a central A/C unit due to the amount of space in your home. But if you’re a single person or a couple without kids, a portable A/C unit could be a cheaper alternative that helps lower your energy bill throughout the year.

Three Factors That Help Compare Portable Units Vs. Central Systems

It’s easy to get caught up in the price of a good or service, so let’s leave that out for now. Instead, when trying to evaluate which type of A/C unit is best, you should always keep in mind three factors: Location, the number of occupants, and the age of your home.


Not only does this factor come into play with the geographical location of your home, it also applies to the direction in which your home faces. If summers are mild where you live, but most of your windows get hit by direct sunlight in the summertime, there could be a high demand for a better cooling system. For example, summers can get hot in Georgia, but if the front of a house faces north or south, it will usually have an easier time cooling down than a house that faces east or west.

Number of Occupants

When it comes to putting a drink in a cooler, the more drinks you throw in, the more ice you must supply the cooler with. The same concept is used to cool down a house. If you have five or more people living in your house, a portable A/C unit is not going to suffice. Though you could potentially put a portable unit in each room, it would not make much sense in terms of cost-efficiency. If you own a smaller vacation home that you frequent in the summer months, a portable unit would be the perfect answer. There’s no sense in running a central A/C unit if you’re not going to be home very often and the number of residents in your house is less than three.

Age of Home

We see it all the time. An older house from the ‘50s that was not built to handle a centralized A/C unit. Though it’s not super common, the age of your structure is a factor you need to think about. Most newer homes from the ‘90s and beyond can handle the installation of a centralized unit. However, it should be noted that, occasionally, a home will only be built to handle window units. In this case, refurbishment and minor construction could be needed for optimal airflow throughout the home. The best way to determine whether you’ll need to upgrade your airflow is to have a certified HVAC technician assess your home’s current state.

How Do I Know I’m Making the Right Decision?

Even homeowners with a lot of experience in around-the-house appliances don’t always get it right. As much as the previously mentioned factors can help you decide what’s right for you, at the end of the day you’ll want the opinion of someone who’s worked in the industry for decades. That’s why your best bet is to get in touch with our experienced team of professionals. Founded in 1999, Premier Indoor Comfort Systems will give you the confirmation you need that your home’s A/C is in the right hands.

For more information regarding portable A/C units vs. central air systems, feel free to contact our team of licensed HVAC professionals today.