How To: Buy an Air Conditioner

air cond.bmpThe hiss of summer lawns…. It is that time again, and I have a friend who wants an air conditioner and asked my advice. Although they are horrible things, in New York City you tend to need one in order to sleep well at night, and so I try to fit them in as innocuously as possible. Since she has two really nice windows in the room in question, my first bid was for a portable AC that would only require a white hose to run out the bottom of one of the windows. My research discovered that portables tend to be expensive and don’t have the same cooling ability as a window unit, and so I have backed away from that solution. I had a DeLonghi Penguino years ago that worked perfectly well in my small apartment, but it did require some work and only cooled one room.

I decided, therefore on the window unit, and this is what I found:

How does it work?
Go to www.howstuffworks.com

What to look for?
A good energy star rating!

What is good site for reviews and research?
www.consumerreports.org (but you must be a member)
www.epinions.com
www.consumersearch.com
www.aceee.org
www.dulley.com
www.manhattanusersguide.com

What is the best?
LG
Kenmore (Sears)
Friedrich
Carrier

How big do you need?
You need approximately 35 BTU’s per square foot to cool a room with a normal ceiling (8-10’). So find your square footage and multiply by 35. If your room is 10’ by 15’ = 150 sq. ft. you multiply by 35 = 5250 approximately a 5000 BTU machine.

How much will it cost?
Air conditioners are very competitively priced. For a very good machine, you should expect to pay around $250 for a small AC (5000 BTU), $450 for a medium AC (8000 BTU), and $800 for a big one (up to 24000 BTU). There is a wide range of prices, part of which depends on features which include timers and remotes. Installation should run you about $100.

Where do I buy?
Top choices:

Gringer & Sons at 29 First Ave. (212.475.0600)

Elgot at 937 Lexington (212.879.1200)

PC Richard which can be found all over town

And I have heard good things about:

Hamilton Air at 262 West 38 Street (212.682.2710)

Air Wave (212.545.1122)

NOTE: IF ANYONE ELSE HAS GOOD INFO, THIS IS THE PLACE TO COMMENT ON IT!!

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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