Buying Guide

Window AC Buying Guide: Consider these important things before buying one for your space

A window air conditioner, popularly known as a window AC or a room AC, is exclusively designed to cool a small room and is a perfect easy-to-install option if having a central air conditioning system is not practical option for you.

A window AC can operate in various modes depending on its model. The cooling mode takes in the air of the room, cools it and directs it back in the room. Some models also feature the option of selecting from various preset cooling levels. The AC cools at the selected level till the setting is changed or is turned off. Other models let you set a desired temperature and the device operates until it senses that the air is at the desired temperature after which it cycles off.

A fan-only mode of the AC uses less energy because it does not provide cooling. The appliance simply circulates and filters the room air when set in the mode. Some window air conditioners also have a heating mode. As with the cooling function, you set the desired temperature and the heating system cycles on and off to maintain it.

How to choose a Window Air Conditioner

The right size of air conditioner helps you cool a room amply. A small size unit does not cool adequately while the large ones will not remove enough humidity, leaving the air feeling damp. To find the proper air conditioner, determine the square footage of the room you want to cool by multiplying the room length by its width. And for that you have to know the air conditioner’s British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating, which indicates the amount of heat it can remove from a room.A higher number means more cooling power for a larger room.

Here you can compare your room size with respect to the BTU rating:

• 150 to 350 sq ft: Go for a 5,000- to 8,000-BTU unit

• 350 to 550 sq ft: Go for an 8,000- to 12,000-BTU unit

• 550 to 1,050 sq ft: Go for a 12,000- to 18,500-BTU unit

• 1,050 to 1,600 sq ft: Go for an 18,500- to 25,000-BTU unit

Just make sure that as the BTU rating increases, the size and weight of the air conditioner does as well.

Important things to consider while buying Window AC

A lot of window air conditioners are designed to fit double-hung windows, having a sash that you can raise or lower. Correctly measure the inside dimensions of the installation window carefully to make sure you find a model that fits.

Here are some other things to consider:

• Window air conditioners can be heavy. Enlist a helper when carrying and installing the unit.

• Installing the air conditioner in a shaded window will help it operate more efficiently.

• The window you select for installation needs to have a suitable power outlet nearby. The manufacturer may ask you to plug the device directly into the outlet with no extension cord.

• The circuit must be able handle the electrical load of the air conditioner.

• A lot of models have various plug configurations. Make sure the air conditioner you select is compatible with your outlet. Check the product packaging for the plug design.

Features of Window Air Conditioner

• A programmable timer of the AC lets you set the unit to turn on and off at specific times, helping you in reducing energy consumption by operating the air conditioner only when it is needed.

• Mechanical controls allow you to adjust fan speed and cooling level, and are also simple to operate. Electronic controls give you more flexibility, allowing you to set a specific temperature for the air conditioner to maintain.

• A sleep setting increases the specified temperature incrementally over a period of time before returning to the original setting several hours later. This feature keeps the air conditioner from maintaining an unnecessarily cool temperature in a room where the occupants are sleeping. It also reduces noise since the unit is running less frequently.

• An electronic ionizer helps the air conditioner more effectively remove impurities such as pollen from the air.

• Venting options let you choose between re-circulating room air, pulling outside air into the room and exhausting room air to the outside.

• Air conditioners remove humidity from the air as they cool it. Different models have different dehumidification capabilities. Look for a rating measured in pints and ounces of moisture removed per hour.

• A remote control adds convenience. With a remote you can adjust settings and turn the air conditioner on and off from across the room. Some remotes can function as temperature sensors, activating the air conditioner when the air around the remote is warmer than the temperature specified in the settings.

• A filter alert lets you know when the air filter needs cleaning.

• An extra-long cord helps you reach a power outlet.

• Window Air Conditioner Operating Tips

Things that can help you in having a cooler home with a window air conditioner:

1. Make sure the air can flow freely around the air conditioner. Outside the home, keep the unit clear of obstructions and inside, make sure obstructions, such as window treatments and furniture are clear of the unit.

2. Help keep the cool air in the room by closing fireplace dampers and floor or wall registers. Reopen them when using the fireplace or home heating or cooling system.

3. Consider closing window treatments when it’s sunny outside, but remember to avoid blocking the air flow around the air conditioner.

4. Keeping the exterior of the room you’re cooling shaded will help the air conditioner keep you cool, but make sure that airflow around the exterior of the unit is not restricted by trees, shrubs or other obstructions.

5. Maintain correct insulation and weather-stripping throughout your home. See Install Insulation to learn about insulating your home. Read Weather Strip Your Doors and Weather Strip Your Windows to learn about sealing air leaks in your home.

6. When possible, reduce the workload of the air conditioner by using appliances such as dishwashers, ranges and dryers during the cool hours of the day.

7. Use accessories, like weather-stripping and foam side panels to help you seal and insulate the area around the air conditioner.

Maintenance of Window Air Conditioner

Simple maintenance helps keep an air conditioner operating efficiently and can maximize its lifespan. Unplug the air conditioner before performing maintenance. Here are some common procedures:

• Check and clean the air filter regularly as specified by the manufacturer. A dirty filter makes the air conditioner work harder, reducing efficiency. You may be able to vacuum the filter or wash it with water and a mild detergent, such as dishwashing liquid. Allow it to dry before reinstalling.

• Wipe down the cabinet with a damp cloth and mild detergent as needed. Keep water away from the control panel.
• Prepare the unit for storage over the winter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


What's your reaction?