Although central air is nice, it is also not practical or affordable for a large number of people. In some areas where the air conditioning units are only used for a few weeks in the hottest summer months it may not be cost effective to install a forced air system, rather simple window air conditioning units may be a far more economical option.
There are a great number of smaller, compact and energy efficient window air conditioning units available at home supply stores, department stores and even at local hardware and discount stores. In order to get the best possible performance from window air conditioning units consider the following simple to follow tips:
Only use air conditioning units that are designed for the size of room you wish to cool. Each unit will list several bits of data on the box including the BTU’s as well as the square footage the unit is recommended for. The BTU or British Thermal Unit is a measurement of energy, so getting the right air condition depends on the size of the room and the BTU rating. Generally the larger the room the higher the BTU’s must be for the unit to be able to keep the room effectively and efficiently cooled. Before shopping for a window air conditioner be sure to accurately measure the dimensions of the room and calculate the area in square feet. This measurement is important when selecting the unit that is right for your needs.
Always look at the type of electrical outlet that the window air conditioning unit has and compare that to what is in your house. Most of the new, energy efficient window air conditioning units use a standard three prong plug that works on household 115-volt electricity. With large units a dedicated circuit may be needed as anything else drawing electricity off the same circuit will trip the breaker.
Measure the size of the window in the room that you want to install the window air conditioner. Although most new houses and new window units are compatible, an older house or a house with custom windows may not provide enough space to mount the air conditioner.
Keep in mind that even very quiet air conditioning units are not totally quiet and there will be a noticeable hum or droning sound when they are operating. Units will have some type of thermostat that will allow you to adjust the temperature, however they will cut on and off to maintain this pre-set temperature. If you are concerned about the sound you may wish to place the air conditioner in a less used area of the room. Check the various consumer report websites to find feedback on the noise produced by different models and makes.
Follow all manufacturers information and instructions when installing the unit and make sure it is secure before turning the air conditioner on.