So you have finally decided buy an air-conditioner or to get rid of your old malfunctioning air-conditioner and get a new one to hopefully help you beat the summer heat more efficiently. Good for you. However, do you know what awaits you at most appliance stores? Have you decided if you are cooling just the rooms or the whole house? Do you remember how to properly choose an air-conditioner for the room or house size?
Despite all these questions that you would have to answer before heading out to the appliance store, you have one thing to rejoice about. There have been recent updates with regards to air-conditioners, their efficiency, and electricity consumption. Effective June 1, 2014, all the air-conditioners that are being sold at the market have to use a maximum power that is 10-15% less than the previous models in accordance to the 2000 guidelines.
Going back to shopping for the best AC unit for your home, there are quite a number of factors that you have to consider. Let us discuss each and every factor for you to have a better understanding of what you are shopping for and for you to shop more appropriately.
Decide on where you will put the air-conditioner
Never ever buy an air-conditioner without deciding first on where you are going to place it. This is actually a common mistake. When appliances go on sale, some people tend to hoard (yes there is such thing as sale appliance hoarding). Because of the extremely low prices, they think they can save more even if they have not decided on where to put it.
If you can decide right away and you remember the type and specifics of your previous one, then good for you. But if not, hold on to your credit card and think about it.
Basically, there are different types of air-conditioners – window units, portable air-conditioners, built-in air-conditioners, and mini splits. Let us quickly discuss each one below just to give you a better idea on which should work for you:
- Window-Type Air Conditioner – This is the most affordable and easy to install. This is designed for most types of windows and even sliding ones but needs some sort of a support to make it more secure. You can put this literally on any part of your house for as long as there is a window to place it. This best works from rooms with a size anywhere from 150 to 1,560 square feet.
- Portable Air Conditioner – This is a freestanding unit though you would still want to put this near a window for the exhaust hose. It is also easy to set up and does not require permanent installation. However, this type tends to be on the heavy side and requires water reservoir emptying periodically unless it comes with the feature that it blows the condensation out of the window via the exhaust hose. It best fits rooms with size anywhere from 200 to 600 square feet.
- Mini Split Air-Conditioner – This is the type that has become extremely popular over the recent years. They are ductless and multi-zone which basically means you save more electricity without the ducts.
- Built-In Air-Conditioner – This is the type that needs permanent installation and are a lot more expensive than all the other types. However, they are more powerful and versatile as they serve as both a cooler and a heater.
Measure your room size
This is another tricky part. Most people get the cheapest possible air-conditioner without knowing what the BTU is and its direct relationship to the room size. This actually dictates the air-conditioner’s capacity to efficiently cool a room. Basically, if you have a 500 square feet room, you cannot expect it to be efficiently cooled by an air-conditioning unit with a BTU of only 5,000.
If you choose an air-conditioning unit that is too small for your room, it will not cool the space efficiently. However, if you get an oversized air-conditioning unit for your room, you will waste energy and even decrease the unit’s efficiency to effectively dehumidify the room.
To further give you an idea, here is a table with the room size and the appropriate BTU:
|Room Size (feet)||Room Size (square feet)||Recommended BTU|
|39 x 40||1,560||24,500|
|25 x 40||1,000||18,000|
|25 x 32||800||15,000|
|22 x 25||550||12,000|
|18 x 25||450||10,000|
|17 x 20||340||8,000|
|14 x 20||280||7,000|
|13 x 20||260||6,000|
|10 x 15||150||5,000|
Take time to know the energy efficiency rating
All air-conditioning units available in the market today are required to indicate their energy efficiency rating or EER. If you come across a unit that does not have this, then that is an easy cue to step away from that unit.
The common EER rating today ranges from 8 to 11.5. Basically, the higher the EER rating is, the more savings await you with regards to your electric bills and the fewer the greenhouse emissions would be.
What are listed above are the major factors that everyone needs to consider. However, there still are other factors that you might want to look for as well. Check these out:
- Easy-to-Clean Filters – If possible, choose filters that slide out easily for regular cleaning.
- Logically-Arranged Controls – You have enough complications in your life, do not choose an air-conditioner with confusing controls as this will probably give you problems especially at night or if you are buying the AC for your elderly parents.
- Digital Readout – This works best with remote controls especially during the night where it gets colder and you have to increase the temperature.
- Built-In Timer – It would be best to get an air-conditioning system with a timer. This basically means you can sleep through the night without having to wake up just to adjust the thermostat in order to save electricity.
Whenever you need to get a new air-conditioner, go back to what we have listed above to refresh your memory on what you have to consider first. Understand that it is extremely important to get the right air-conditioner for your room or home size for you to achieve the best cooling effect.