When Can I Put Furniture In Front Of A Window How to Choose a Window Air Conditioner

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How to Choose a Window Air Conditioner

Buying a window air conditioner is a great alternative to cooling a single space when installing a central air system is not available. Additionally, it’s generally quieter, a little more powerful, and cools a space faster than a portable floor unit. Here are some things to consider when looking to buy a window air conditioner.

Cooling Capacity

Remember that the cooling capacity of room air conditioners is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units, per hour. Each BTU measurement corresponds to an industry standard of square footage that the unit can optimally cool. So as you shop around you will see units with similar features but with different BTUs; the one with a larger BTU will be able to cool a larger space more efficiently, but do keep in mind that it is recommended that you get the right unit for your intended space. If the unit is too large, your air conditioner could end up consuming more energy and costing you more than intended. Below is a chart that will give you an idea of what BTU size you will need for your space.

Area (square feet) – Capacity Needed (BTU / hour)

  • 100 to 150 sq. ft. – 5,000 BTU
  • 150 to 250 sq ft. – 6,000 BTU
  • 250 to 300 sq ft – 7,000 BTU
  • 300 to 350 sq ft – 8,000 BTU
  • 350 to 400 sq ft – 9,000 BTU
  • 400 to 450 sq ft – 10,000 BTU
  • 450 to 550 sq ft – 12,000 BTU
  • 550 to 700 sq ft – 14,000 BTU
  • 700 to 1,000 sq ft – 18,000 BTU
  • 1,000 to 1,400 sq ft – 24,000 BTU

Also, other things to consider are whether your room is heavily shaded or sunny, how many people will occupy the room at a given time, and whether there are other external heating sources that contribute to the hot temperature in the room. For rooms that are heavily shaded, by good window drapes or trees planted outside, you can reduce the BTU capacity by 10%. Conversely, if the room is very sunny it is recommended you increase the BTU capacity by 10%. Next, people naturally exude heat, so if there are more than two people occupying the room then you should add 600 BTU for each additional person to ensure a comfortable environment. Finally, if there are large machines in the room, or if you are looking to cool a kitchen, increase the BTU capacity to 4,000 to compensate for the additional heat created by these other machines.

Energy Efficiency and other Ratings

All units in the United States must clearly display an Energy Efficiency Rating or EER. So in addition to choosing the correctly sized unit for your space, an EER will tell you how efficiently it will run in that same area. Generally, the higher the EER number the less it will cost you. Another label to look out for is an ENERGY STAR® rating. Units with this rating have been inspected and approved by the government to be guaranteed energy efficient because they use an advanced technology that allows more heat to be transferred to the coils, which in turn saves on the amount of energy required to compress the refrigerant, or cooler. ENERGY STAR® units exceed the minimum federal standards for energy consumption by 15% — this is good for you and the environment.

Installation

Finally, installation should be considered before purchasing a new window air conditioner. First and foremost, measure the window where you plan to place this unit. Make sure this window is near an electrical outlet to plug in your unit, and that there are no furniture or objects in front of the window that might interfere with the airflow.

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