Air conditioning is essential for comfort in Southwest Florida, and if you are considering adding a cooling system to your home, there are several options. Central air conditioning tends to be the most popular, because it cools the entire home, but it is also a significant investment. Room air conditioning, or window units, cost less initially, but they have some disadvantages.
Room Air Conditioning
Window units are easy to install and are a quick, inexpensive way to add cooling to one or more rooms, and each room can be set to a different temperature. Because they lack air ducts, there are no losses from leaks in the ductwork or missing insulation, which can increase energy usage significantly. They are far less efficient, however, than a properly-installed, well-maintained central air conditioning system, especially as multiple units are added to cool individual rooms. They also do not dehumidify as well as central air conditioning systems, making it feel hotter than it actually is in the humid climate of Southwest Florida.
Central Air Conditioning
Central air conditioning systems operate more efficiently than window units, and they are far better at removing moisture, making you feel cooler on a humid day. They also provide more even cooling, with air distributed from multiple ducts, rather than a single location. Central air conditioners also add to the value of your home, and are a wise investment, especially high-efficiency models that can reduce your long-term energy usage and utility costs. However, without a zoning system, the temperature cannot be adjusted independently in each room, and, if the air ducts are not maintained properly, energy could be lost through the ducts as the system ages.
For an area like Southwest Florida, where humidity is a major concern, a central air conditioner will tend to provide better comfort, especially if it has a zoning system to allow temperature adjustments in each room. The initial investment will be higher, however, though that can be earned back through lower energy costs.