Window Air Conditioning Units
Written by Betty Stephens of Quest Media
If you have one or two rooms you need to cool in the summer a window air conditioner can be more economical choice than a central air conditioning unit. It also will cost you less both initially and over time.
Most room air conditioners sit in a window where they can exhaust warm air to the outside. Room air conditioners can also be built into the wall for a more permanent installation.
Selecting Window Unit Size
When you select a room air conditioner, size is the most important feature you should consider. If the unit is too small it will run continually without cooling the room. But, if you buy a unit that's too large for the space, it will be less effective than one that's the correct size.
Air conditioners work by removing both heat and humidity. Humidity condenses from the air when it passes over the air conditioner's cooling coils. So a unit that is too big will cool the room so quickly that it won't have the opportunity to remove as much humidity from the air. The unit keeps turning off and on and the room is damp, clammy and not very comfortable. A properly sized unit removes humidity as it cools.
Also a larger unit costs more and uses additional energy. When you run a smaller unit for a longer period of time it uses less energy to cool a room than running a larger unit for a shorter time. The cooling capacity of room air conditioners is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units, per hour. To figure the size unit you need, measure the space you're trying to cool. To estimate square footage, multiply the length of the room by the width. A room that's 10 feet by 20 feet, for example, has 200 square feet in it. It is recommended that the air conditioner for that sized space is rated at 6,000 BTUs. Here are some examples of recommended air conditioners for square footage:
To Cool An Area Recommended Size Window Air Conditioner
150 to 250 square feet 6,000 BTUs
250 to 300 square feet 7,000 BTUs
300 to 350 square feet 8,000 BTUs
350 to 400 square feet 9,000 BTUs
400 to 450 square feet 10,000 BTUs
450 to 550 square feet 12,000 BTUs
550 to 700 square feet 14,000 BTUs
Air conditioners made in 2010 must use a refrigerant that is more ozone friendly. Most makers have switched to R-410A. Performance isn’t affected in any of the new models. Check the units and look for the newer models using the new refrigerant.
Save Energy and Money
The newer models claim to use at least 10 percent less energy than standard models and about 25 percent less juice than models made a decade ago. You can save on energy costs by using the timer to turn on the A/C just before you arrive home. Don't lower the set temperature as soon as you turn on the unit. It doesn't cool the room faster, and it will use more energy. A higher fan speed also uses more energy but not much. To keep your unit running efficiently, vacuum, wash, and dry filters monthly or as needed.
For the cooling or heating seasons it is a good idea to have your system checked out by experts. Small problems can become bigger problems as your system continues to run. Your air window air-conditioning system needs regular maintenance. There are many makes and models of air conditioning systems and skilled technicians have the know-how to diagnose, adjust or repair your system so that you are comfortable all year long. All air conditioners have filters that need to be cleaned periodically. For easy maintenance, choose one that has a slide-out filter. Keeping the filter clean saves energy and money.
AC Unit Replacement & Installation
To make sure your window air conditioner has been properly installed you may want an expert to take a look at your home, and help you design and engineer your air conditioning system to meet your needs and budget. Whether you are upgrading the cooling system in your current home, or installing a system in a new home, trust the experts with your cooling needs.
All of the 35 window air conditioners Consumer Reports tested they found that even a $99 unit proved excellent at cooling. But some less expensive models might make you lose your cool because they're noisy or don't work well on the hottest days and nights.
Shop for Window Air Conditioners
Sears, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Home Depot, and Lowes are just some of the stores that sell multiple brands of window air conditioners like Frigidaire, LG, Kenmore, SPT, Sharp, LG, Keystone, GE, and Soleus Air. Each brand also offers you a variety of models, sizes and prices.