A 5-Point Checklist for Choosing Room Air Conditioners that Won’t Blow Your Budget
One of the great catch-22s of our warming planet is that as we get warmer, we’ll need more air conditioning, which can make the planet warmer. Thankfully, room air conditioners have gotten more energy efficient and the latest models can work wonders on a space with little effort.
Here are five things to look for when you’re shopping for a room air conditioner.
1. Don’t Skimp On Power
When you’re looking for an air conditioner to suit your needs, you need to start by thinking about power. When you’re thinking about power, you also need to think about the kind of space that you’re dealing with. There are few air conditioning units that could cool and entire home evenly, but the bigger your space is, the more kW you’ll need.
Air conditioner capacity is rated in BTUs with the power that they put out measured in kilowatts. When you’re looking for the right sized air conditioner, you need to know that size really matters. You can get an air conditioner that’s too big and costs too much to use or one that’s too small and won’t give you the power you need.
If your room is about 50-square feet, you can get a unit that’s around 2.5 kW. For a room that’s more like 100 square feet, you’ll have to double that size to 5kW or more. Rooms that are 200 square feet or more need to have units that start around 7kW to make any impact on temperature.
If you’re buying from an appliance store, ask staff what they recommend. You’ll also find that high-efficiency air conditioning units are far better suited to handle large spaces than ever before. Check out some window air conditioner reviews before you make any final decisions.
2. Consider the Types
There is more than just one type of air conditioner available. Window units and indoor units offer more flexibility than ever before.
Split system air conditioners are made up fo two different elements. There’s one that’s attached to your wall from the inside and another component that sits outside and throws heat out. These are your standard window air units that you’ll find in most homes.
Positioning the heat generating component away from any other hot appliance so that the cool air is distributed around the room. If the external part is put in the shade, you can avoid having it overheat. Keep it away from falling branches as well.
A reverse cycle split air conditioner is going to give you cool air in the summer and heat during the winter. You’ll need to have a duct system for most of these types of units. The ducts can be installed in your floor, on your walls, or in the ceiling.
Alternate types of systems include inverter systems that vary the temperature with constant flow and multi-split systems that connect multiple units together. Ultimately, you’ll want a system that’s easy to maintain and simple to install.
Portable air conditioners that roll along the floor and just require you to position a collapsible duct out the window are perfect for flexible needs.
3. Consider Extra Features
When you’re looking for an air conditioner that offers more than just a steady temperature, you’ll find lots of extra features loaded on them.
If you’ve installed your air conditioner high up and out of reach, you can get one with a remote control. This allows you to control the temperature of your space from far away.
Others come with timers so that the unit turns off at the same time each day to keep your energy bills low.
If you’re in an extra humid place some will also include a dehumidifier to keep your air drier all throughout the year. This is great on the top floor or especially warm spaces. If you get a reverse cycle air conditioner, you can get heat during the cold parts of the year sd cool things down during the warmer days.
You can even find units now that have mosquito traps to ensure that your space is not only free of uncomfortable heat and humidity. You can also keep pests out along with unwanted heat.
4. Cleaning and Maintenace Should Be Easy
When you’re investing in an air conditioner, it’s only going to give you life for as long as the components can last. Some air conditioners will last for a decade or more. Other larger units need regular seasonal maintenance to ensure that they can keep running.
When you fail to keep your air conditioning unit clean, you end up causing more than just a mess at the edges of your unit. You also end up with potential air quality and breathing problems. If your home is prone to mold and mildew, this could add to the number of issues you deal with when it comes to breathing.
If your air conditioner has an accessible filter, clean it out at least every month. You’ll get rid of those harsh airborne particles that could end up hurting your ability to breathe and end up making your system more efficient in the process. As you unclog your filters, you end up allowing air to flow in more smoothly.
Finally, Room Air Conditioners Need to Be Affordable
If you’re paying for room air conditioners that are overpriced or cost too much to maintain, then it’s probably not worth the cost. Air conditioners should be simple to install, easy to use, and shouldn’t require you to call up a maintenance person on a daily basis to stay comfortable.
If your AC breaks down, check out our guide to see if it’s covered by your insurance.