How To Choose An Amazing Room Air Conditioner
If you don’t have an air conditioner and are considering a purchase, use this rule of thumb: If you intend to cool three or more rooms at once, a central unit might prove to be most cost-effective. On the other hand, if you plan to cool only one or two rooms, consider a room air conditioner. And, under certain conditions, you might be better off with both systems.
If you have a home with many rooms, but occupy only one on a frequent basis, a central unit combined with an independent unit in the room you use most can save you dollars in the long run. Not everyone can afford the luxury of two systems, but if you can swing the initial investment, the long-term savings will pay for the second system in no time.
If you are put off by lugging a room unit up from the basement each year, don’t use the unit in the window; build it into the wall instead. When in the wall, the unit can be left in place year round without obstructing the view through a window. Also, if you have an air-conditioning unit mounted in a bedroom window, you might be endangering the occupant. Normally, in the event of a fire there are two ways to escape from a bedroom – the door and the window. A window-mounted room air conditioner could cut down on the odds of escape.
The energy efficiency of a newer room air conditioner can reduce costs by up to 25 percent. Regardless of the type or age of the unit, be sure to change filters after every 90 days of use.
Before going to the store to purchase a new room air conditioner, measure the size of the room you want to cool. The length, width and height are used to calculate the volume of air in the room that will have to be cooled. Thus, the appropriate size of the air-conditioner can be determined. Ironically, too large an air conditioner can be a loser in several ways. Aside from costing more up front, it will cool too quickly, cycling on and off every few minutes – leaving air humid and clammy. On the other hand, too small an air conditioner will run constantly, without cooling the room effectively.
The cooling capacity of a room air conditioner is measured in BTUs per hour. For example, a 10’ by 20’ room is 200 square feet. A 6000 BTU model is recommended for a space this size.
In addition to size, there are several other factors to consider when shopping for a room air conditioner. The first and most important is the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The EER is a rating that describes an air conditioner’s approximate operating cost relative to similar models. The higher the EER, the less it will cost you to operate the unit.
An energy saver function is another important feature to look for. As thermostats do for the entire unit, the energy-saver feature will cycle the compressor on and off so that it doesn’t operate continuously. You don’t have to know whether the compressor is on or off as long as you are aware that the energy-saver feature will reduce your energy expenditure.
Your personal comfort also is important. A three-speed fan control (low, medium and high speeds) is a must. Using a thermostat in conjunction with the fan speed allows the user to bring the room temperature down to the desired comfort level very quickly. The fan can be adjusted to a lower speed to maintain the temperature.
All air conditioners have a filter. However, for easy maintenance, select a model with a slide-out filter.
If you have a room that you spend lots of time in year round, you may want to consider a room air conditioner that will supply heat as well. While a bit pricier up front, the heat/cool model can save big bucks on energy costs in the long run and provide enhanced personal comfort. You may have seen such a model during a stay in a hotel or motel.
When it comes to the temperature control or “thermostat,” digital models are the easiest to use and the most precise. Some models are equipped with a timer that allows you to set the air conditioner to begin cooling any time – whether you are home or not.
What should you expect to pay for a room air conditioner? The price range is as broad as the choices. In general, models will range in price from $150.00 on the low side to around $1,800.00 on the high side. The cost is determined by many factors – the size, make, features, efficiency, etc.
As with any household appliance, a room air conditioner is an investment. Choose one that will serve you the best for the longest period of time. And don’t forget that regular maintenance will keep it running efficiently for years to come. That’s a cool thing!