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Conditioner / March 12, 2019

window air conditionerIt’s starting to get hot outside. Lots of cities in the United States keep experiencing record-breaking temperatures summer after summer. In fact, the summer of 2015 set a new record as the hottest summer the planet Earth has ever experienced. If you’ve been uncomfortably making do without an air conditioner, it might be time to reconsider.

Central air is expensive to install and may not be practical if you live in an area where the hot days aren’t too frequent, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without. Window air conditioners are a much simpler and more affordable investment that can save the (90-plus degree) day.

Benefits of a Window Air Conditioner

The two biggest benefits that inspire most people to go with a window air conditioner instead of other AC options are:

  1. Affordability.
  2. Ease of installation.

Having central air installed in your home is a huge commitment in cost — both in terms of the cost of the system itself and the involved installation process. Window air conditioners, in comparison, can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars and be installed without the help of a professional.

While those are the main reasons people go for window air conditioners, there are a few other benefits they offer:

  • Cool one room at a time — People with central air that don’t want to pay to keep a whole house cool can save energy by installing a window air conditioner.
  • Not permanent — If you’re a renter and want to be able to take the unit with you when you move, you have that option with window air conditioners.
  • Don’t require ductwork — AC ducts are not only complicated to install, but they sometimes have leaks that cause waste, and they can get dirty and contribute to allergy problems.

For anyone living in an area where the air conditioner is only really needed a few days a year, or who’s tired of paying to keep a whole house cool when they only use one or two rooms at a time, a window air conditioner is an easy solution.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Window Air Conditioner

When you do decide that a window air conditioner is the right choice for you, the next step is obviously figuring out which one. There’s quite a bit of variety in the options available. Here are all the main factors to keep in mind in your search.

Cost

Amazon Best SellersWindow air conditioners can vary in price from around 0 to over , 000. Obviously that’s a pretty huge difference. The more affordable options tend to be pretty basic in what they offer and only cool smaller spaces, while the units on the upper end of that price range can cool much larger rooms and often come with a number of other features and functions.

In addition to the upfront cost of the unit, you should also consider what using it will cost you in energy bills over time. Air conditioners use a lot of energy. Over half of the energy used in most homes is for heating and cooling. Spending more upfront for an Energy Star rated model may end up saving you a good amount of money over years of use.

Power

Power is another crucial consideration for finding the right window air conditioner. If you buy one that isn’t powerful enough to keep the space you’re using properly cool, then your money and effort will be wasted.

The amount of power a window air conditioner offers is measured in BTUs. The higher the number of BTUs a unit has, the larger a space it will be able to effectively cool. Usually when you’re perusing air conditioner options, the models will include the room size they’re meant for in the listing along with the number of BTUs they offer, but here’s an approximate idea of how to translate BTUs into room size:

BTU Chart Based on Room Size

Room Size BTU’s Needed
150 sq. ft. 5, 000 BTU’s 700 sq. ft. 14, 000 BTU’s
250 sq. ft. 6, 000 BTU’s 1, 000 sq. ft. 18, 000 BTU’s
300 sq. ft. 7, 000 BTU’s 1, 200 sq. ft. 21, 000 BTU’s
350 sq. ft. 8, 000 BTU’s 1, 400 sq. ft. 23, 000 BTU’s
400 sq. ft. 9, 000 BTU’s 1, 600 sq. ft. 25, 000 BTU’s
450 sq. ft. 10, 000 BTU’s 1, 900 sq. ft. 28, 000 BTU’s
550 sq. ft. 12, 000 BTU’s 2, 700 sq. ft. 36, 000 BTU’s

Different factors can change how well that list bears out. If you live in an area that regularly reaches temperatures over 100 degrees, then you’re better off going for a higher BTU count for the space in question. In general though, this list should give you a good idea of what to expect.

Window Type

Window air conditioners typically need to be installed in a window — it’s right there in the name. Before purchasing an air conditioner, you should have a specific window in mind.

Some people do choose to install their window air conditioners through the wall instead of a window, but this is a far more difficult process and you have to make sure you buy a model that offers a through-the-wall installation process.

If you do stick with installing it in a window, then measure the size of the window in question carefully. Window air conditioners will provide minimum and maximum window sizes in their product specs so you need to be sure you purchase a model that will fit the window you have in mind.

You’ll also need to make sure the window you choose for your air conditioner is close enough to a power outlet that your air conditioner can be plugged into. Some more powerful models will require a higher-voltage outlet than those that are typical in most homes, so you may need to call in an electrician before you start using it. If possible, it’s ideal to choose a window that’s in shade as well, so your air conditioner can work effectively while using less energy.

Noise

People buy window air conditioners specifically to go into the rooms they spend time in — whether that means a bedroom, living room, or office. In any case, there’s a good chance you’re going to want one that doesn’t make a lot of noise. An air conditioner that makes it hard to sleep or get work done due to the ruckus it makes may not feel like a significant improvement over the distracting discomfort of the heat.

Window air conditioners do not, in general, have a great reputation for being quiet. They tend to be louder than some of your other air conditioning options. Some models have a better reputation for being quiet than others though, so if that’s an important feature for you, checking the reviews can go a long way toward telling you what to expect.

Energy Efficiency

Air conditioners use a lot of energy. This is true no matter what type of air conditioning you invest in. Window air conditioners are not your most efficient option, but since they’re designed to cool a specific space rather than the full house, they can end up using quite a bit less energy than central air.

You can find Energy Star certified window air conditioners that are proven to use less energy than other models, and you can even see how specific products compare on their website. Many models will also provide their Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) to give you an idea of what to expect. The higher the EER, the more energy saved.

Source: learn.compactappliance.com