Selecting an Air Conditioner to Fit Your Needs
Making the perfect choice for a new air conditioner can be a daunting task. Anytime you are buying appliances, there are many considerations to be made. Here is a simple guide to help you choose the right unit.
Window Unit versus Central Air
A central air conditioner unit can be expensive. The investment is something that many people aren't able to make. A window unit is a viable solution for small spaces.
A window air conditioner unit won't cool your entire home, but it can keep the rooms you are in most often comfortable. They are also completely portable, making them a perfect solution for renters. If you decide to purchase a window unit, you don't have to worry about leaving it behind if you move.
A window unit is also an energy efficient way to add cooling to a room that is always warm. If you already have a central air unit, but find that one in your home just doesn't stay cool, a window unit can provide you comfort without the hassle of having the existing air system overhauled.
You can find window air conditioners at many price points, beginning under $100 and going up to several hundred.
The Right Size
An air conditioner that is too large for your home will only waste your money. One that is too small will not cool your home properly, and can tax the system, decreasing its life.
Air conditioners are measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The larger the area you need to cool, the higher the BTU number will need to be. To find out what size you need, measure the area you are wanting to cool. Take the measurement for the width, length, and height of the area. Multiply the length by the width by the height. The solution will be the overall volume of the room. Write that number down and put it aside. Now look at the exposure of the room. You will assign the room a number based on this. West will have a value of 20, South will be 18, East will be 17, and north is 16. Take the volume and multiply it by the value you have just come up with. Write this number down. You will divide this number one more time. If your home has excellent insulation divide it by 6. If it's adequate insulation, divide by 5, and for poor insulation divide by 4. The resulting number is the number of BTUs necessary to cool the area.
You can also find many charts on the Internet that will show you the approximate number of BTUs you will need based on the square footage of your home. These charts can vary from brand to brand though.
Most air conditioners today, whether a window or central unit, will carry an energy efficiency rating. You will want to look for units that have been rated by Energy Star. These ratings will allow you to ensure that your monthly utility bills won't rise by staggering amounts. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit will be.