Window Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Window Air ConditionerWhen summer temperature rises, people use air conditioners to lower the air temperature of their home. The simplest and most economical way to cool your home is with a window air conditioner. As the name suggests, a window air conditioner is a room air conditioner that sits in a window or wall opening, with interior controls. Interior air is cooled as a fan blows it over the evaporator. On the exterior the air is heated as a second fan blows it over the condenser.

Choosing the Right Window Air Conditioner

1. BTUs & Room Sizes:

What’s the BTU of the air conditioner and how efficient it is at cooling?

The BTU is the single most important feature in any air conditioner. It practically determines the space an air conditioner can efficiently cool. The temperature range that the air conditioner can support will be a very big factor in your decisions. The following BTUs and Room Sizing Guide should be useful:

Area To Be Cooled (square feet) BTUs Per Hour Required)
100 – 150 5,000
150 – 250 6,000
250 – 300 7,000
300 – 350 8,000
350 – 400 9,000
400 – 450 10,000
450 – 550 12,000
550 – 700 14,000
700 – 1000 18,000
1000 – 1200 21,000
1200 – 1400 23,000
1400 – 1500 24,000
1500 – 2000 30,000
2000 – 2500 34,000

2. Ease of installation:

Installation is a burden for some people and having detailed installation instructions and all the necessary materials (like foams for insulation and sealing) is a huge help.

In addition, you need to find out if the unit fits in smaller windows. Not everybody has standard sized windows, so being able to install a unit on smaller windows is a plus. Also, you will want to know if the air conditioner unit is suitable for vertical/horizontal windows.

3. Operation noise level – Is it quiet or loud?

These units are used in living rooms or bedrooms during the hot months, so being quiet is a huge plus. However, differnt people have different definitions of “loud”; one product can be too loud for some and very quiet for others.

FYI: There are two parts than can produce noise: the compressor and the fan. The compressor creates a humming noise while the fans create some kind of whirling noise.

4. Air distribution – Are directional air flow vents good?

Most consumers do not want their air conditioners to blow cold air directly into the room and use directional vents to blow the air towards the ceiling, etc. How well do the directional air flow vents work?

5. Power consumption:

Using an air conditioner unit during the summer can be a huge burden on some consumers’ budgets. Hence, it will be a big advantage if the air conditioner is energy-efficient and does not increase the power bill too much.

The power needed to run an air conditioner is tied to its EER (Energy Efficiency Rating). An Energy Star-certified window unit only need to achieve between 9.4 and 10.7, depending on size. You should try to buy a window unit rated higher than this minimum.

6. Displays and Controls:

A window air conditioner which has a touchpad with large LED displays, large and uncrowded buttons, clear labeling, and digital temperature readouts, will be much easier to use. If the controls are designed poorly, the user will have problems using the unit with maximum efficiency. Temperature displays will also make the unit much more user friendly.

There are two types of controls used in air conditioners: mechanical and electronic. Electronic controls are superior since they allow a lot more functions (like timers, sleep mode, etc.) and also prevent the unit from short cycling (which means the unit doesn’t come on/go off within short periods).

Remote controls provide additional value for anyone who uses an air conditioner unit. Sleep mode, timer, fan speed, operating mode, etc. are some of the most common functions found in a remote control. The more functions the remote control has the better it will be for added convenience.

Some newer air conditioners have auto settings where you set the desired temperature and air conditioner maintains it without needlessly blowing ice cold air all the time. This is very good for energy-saving.

7. Dehumidification – Does the air conditioner dry the air too much or can it dry the air if necessary?

Certain air conditioner models may tend to dry the ambient too much, giving people throat problems. If the model you are looking at has a way to prevent this (some models use the water accumulated in the drip pan to humidify the air), it will be a huge plus.

On the other hand, people living in hot and humid areas will need units that effectively dry the air. And the dehumidifying mode can also be used in spring and autumn, which is an added value for the consumer.

8. Quality of window supports:

Most window air conditioners come with supports that close any gaps left in the window. If the supports are not well built, you may need to purchase and use additional supports.

9. Type of filters used:

Anti-bacterial filters are a big plus for any air conditioner unit. Plus, having washable filters is a plus since it will reduce the money they’ll spend on replacement filters. Are the filters easy to remove and clean.

10. Timer:

A timer can be a huge plus ‘cos people don’t like to accidentally leave their air conditioner units on when they fall asleep while watching TV, etc. Having a timer will make it possible for them to set the air conditioner to turn off at a specific time. It will not only protect their health but will also decrease power bills.

Best window air conditioner for small room up to 150 square feet – Frigidaire FRA054XT7 5,000 BTU Window-Mounted Mini Room Air Conditioner:

PROS:

  • Low cost of ownership
  • Energy Star-rated
  • Cools fast
  • Full-function remote control with 24-hour timer
  • Energy-saver mode
  • High Energy Efficiency Ratio of 10.7
  • Ease of installation
  • Antibacterial mesh filter

CONS:

  • Not so quiet
  • Only 4-way air direction control
  • The filter slides out through the side (tilt-out will be better)

Buy Frigidaire FRA054XT7 Window-Mounted Mini Room Air Conditioner

Best window air conditioner for medium room up to 350 square feet – LG LW8012ER 8,000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner with Remote Control (115 volts):

PROS:

  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Quiet operation
  • Full-function remote control
  • Energy saver function

CONS:

  • Only 4-way air direction/circulation
  • Not Energy Star Certified
  • Short warranty

Buy LG 8,000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner LW8012ER

Best window air conditioner for large room up to 500 square feet – Frigidaire FRA106CV1 10,000 BTU 115-Volt Window-Mounted Compact Air Conditioner with Temperature Sensing Remote Control:

PROS:

  • Good cooling performace
  • Energy-saver mode – consumes less power (Energy Efficiency Ratio of 10.8)
  • 8-way comfort control design allows you to easily control the direction of the cool air
  • Lots of great features – Energy Save; Sleep Mode; Filter Check; 24 Hour On/Off Timer; Clean Air Ionizer; Anti-Bacterial Mesh Filter; and more…

CONS:

  • Not so quiet
  • Heavy

Buy Frigidaire FRA106CV1 Window-Mounted Compact Air Conditioner

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