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The benefits of a central air conditioner include noise control, filtered air, enhanced comfort and a covert appearance. Other benefits are less energy consumption, a consistent supply of comfortable temperatures and an increase in overall home value.


While used portable air conditioners are easy to find online, most used central units are purchased through an installer or with a local store acting as a middleman. Most homeowners keep their existing air conditioners for as long as possible, which means used systems are often prohibitively expensi


A central air conditioning system consists of two main components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor. The air handler contains an evaporator coil and a fan to force air over the pipes, while the outdoor unit contains the compressor, a condenser coil and an exhaust fan.


Compare central air-conditioning brands by visiting the websites of major manufacturers, such as Maytag, and reviewing the specifications and prices of popular units. You may also compare air-conditioning brands by using third-party websites, such as ConsumerReports.org and FurnaceCompare.com.


As of 2015, window air conditioners generally cost under $1,000, typically ranging between $200 and $500. By contrast, central air conditioner installation costs anywhere between $4,000 to over $10,000 depending on whether or not the home already has the proper setup.


Central air conditioning units can be highly energy efficient, with many of them certified as energy efficient by the Department of Energy's Energy Star program. These air conditioners are estimated to be up to 15 percent more efficient than non-certified models.


Some highly rated air conditioners as per ConsumerSearch.com include the AEL06LS model from General Electric and the LW8012ER model from LG Electronics. The WA-1211S model from Sunpentown is also highly rated.


RepairClinic and SupplyHouse.com sell replacement parts that work with central air conditioning systems, as of 2015. Both these online parts suppliers carry a wide selection of parts, and both also provide toll-free telephone ordering assistance during regular business hours.


The cost of operating central air versus window air conditioners is dependent upon the amount of space that needs to be cooled. In small spaces, cooling with well-placed window units is generally more cost efficient while central units are less expensive overall for large homes.


According to HofStuffWorks, troubleshooting a central air conditioner starts by identifying the problem. These may include the unit not working, not stopping or not cooling.