Choosing the right in- window air conditioner for you

Summer is coming and you might be in the market to replace your old ac unit. So how do you know what to buy? Here are some tips.

Don’t buy a larger air conditioner than you need.

Most people think bigger is better, but that is not always the case. According to Consumer Reports and The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM),   an AC unit too large or powerful for your room will turn off its compressor before it’s had a chance to “lower” the humidity level in the room. The results will be a room that is cold, clammy, and uncomfortable.

To figure out what size air conditioner you need for you room, measure the size of the room first. Then multiply the length by the width and that total is your square footage. You can use a chart or calculation provided by a manufacturer (usually available on their website) to determine how many BTUs (or British Thermal Units) you need your air conditioner to produce.

Consider your climate and other factors when purchasing an air conditioner.

Do you live in a hot and humid climate or it more of a dry heat? How many windows does the room have? Is it shady? What direction is the window facing? Consumer Reports provides as interactive worksheet that takes all these items into account, as does AHAM. To find out what type or air conditioner you need, visit AHAM’s interactive worksheet and see your results based on region, the structure of your house, and the people and activities inside of it.

After finding the correct AC for your home, try to purchase a unit that is energy efficient and look for the “AHAM-certified” seal. According to the AHAM’s website, “Models certified through AHAM’s program have been tested and their performance verified by an independent laboratory, assuring consumers that the product will perform according to the manufacturer’s product claims for BTU’s per hour, amps and efficiency.”

So what if you do not own a new air conditioner or can’t afford to buy one? There are ways to make your current air conditioner work better and be more energy efficient. Sign up for the AP Wagner Newsletter and get some valuable tips on how to make your old air conditioner more energy efficient and how to cut down on summer energy bills.

More help and related articles


3 responses to “Choosing the right in- window air conditioner for you

  1. Before I bought my AC I searched online for a BTW calculator, I know retail stores say you just do length and width and bam you have it. But I felt there had to be more to the equation than that. Sure enough there is, which is why I just ended up buying my window air conditioner online.

  2. why does my window ac unit dim the lights when the compressor trys to kick on? the cooling compressor never kicks on, just dims the lights in the br. and compressor wont come on? any help would be appreciated

    • Can you hear a humming or buzzing noise? If so possibly power is not getting to the unit or the run capacitor has gone bad. The run capacitor is responsible for helping start the motor and compressor. Any bad thunderstorms prior to the issue as they have been known to be responsible for taking out run capacitors.

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