Summer temps are rising, and that means major challenges when it comes to staying cool in climates that are routinely humid.

If you’re building or renovating a home in an area with high humidity, you might be wondering how to air condition your space effectively. Two of the most common options include wall AC units and central air systems. Which one is right for your humidity-prone home? Let’s unpack these two types of air conditioners to find out.

How Do Wall Air Conditioners Differ from Central Air?

The first consideration is how a wall air conditioner differs from a central air conditioning system. Understanding the nuances of how each system works makes it easier to choose which system will work best for your application.

1. Multiple Vents Or One

Multiple Vents deliver air throughout the home

The biggest difference between central air and a wall AC unit is the number of vents. With a central air system, numerous vents deliver air throughout the home. This is particularly helpful when there are multiple rooms that need cooling. 

Conversely, a wall air conditioner has only one air vent to distribute cooled air throughout the space. That means homes with many rooms or rooms with closed doors will be a challenge to cool, especially in humid climates.

2. Capacity To Cool

Colling Capacity Of AC System

Another key difference in these air conditioners is their capacity to cool a space. While both systems come in various sizes, to cool a large area, you’ll need multiple units for a wall air conditioner to handle humid air. 

The condensing units of central air systems simply have more capacity to cool humid air because of their design. This makes central air a superior choice for mansions and high square-footage homes with open floor plans in humid climates.

3. Ability To Recirculate Air

Ability To Recirculate Air Of AC System

Finally, these two systems vary greatly in their ability to recirculate air. Similar to a mini-split, a wall AC unit uses a single blower and vent to recirculate the air in a home. This means any rooms shut off to the space the unit is located in won’t receive air circulation with cooled air from the system. 

Comparatively, central air systems distribute air to every area of the house separately. This design makes these systems far more effective when it comes to cooling every area of a home in a humid environment.

Factors For Choosing A Wall AC Unit Or Central Air In Humid Places

Now that we’ve covered the key differences between these systems, let’s examine the factors that impact the decision of which unit to install.

1. Floor Plan Of The Home

 Floor Plan Of The Home

The room configuration of the home, called the floor plan, is perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to cooling a home in a humid region. 

For example, consider the difference between a single-room one-story home and a home with two stories and ten rooms. Cooling one big open room is a simple task for a wall AC unit because of how it’s designed. But when it comes to cooling the rooms in a second story, a wall air conditioner will have virtually no effect because cooler air travels to the lowest point.

As you can see, if humidity is an issue and you have multiple rooms, a central air system makes far more sense. The ability to pipe in cold air directly to second or third-story rooms is superior in hot and humid locales.

2. Temperature Preference

Temperature Preference of AC System

What’s the general consensus in your home when it comes to temperature preference? If everyone is happy with the same level, the single output design of a wall air conditioner could work. But if some family members want a warmer room than others, the closeable vents and multi-zone control of central air win out.

3. Installation Budget

Installation Budget Of AC System

We can’t forget budget as a factor. Installing central air is far more costly than a wall AC unit due to the ventilation ducts that need to be run throughout the home. Holes will need to be cut through numerous walls and floors, adding significant labor time to the job of installing air conditioning.

4. Solar Control

Solar Control

Do you have full control over the amount of sunlight that enters the home during the hottest hours of the day? If so, this could enable you to opt for a cheaper wall air conditioner to cover central air. Homes with no shades or drapes, on the other hand, will stay much cooler and less humid when central air is installed.


From Tampa to Baton Rouge, humidity makes it difficult to keep your home cool inside. This presents unique challenges that homeowners in other areas of the country never need to worry about. We hope this handy guide to these two common air conditioning systems has shed some light on keeping cool in your neck of the woods!

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