Yup, it's that time again. It started to get real hot in NYC these past few days and the talk in the office was all about buying an air conditioner to put in the window. What size? How much should I pay? How do I keep it from drying out the room??
I surveyed the field and have three models to report back on to you as well as a handy chart that will help you choose the right size for each room. I also have some tips for you that I've found work well. The top pick? The LG unit above is an 8,000 BTU unit which wins top marks from all three sites I visited: Techlicious.com, TheSweetHome.com, ConsumerSearch.com and is also a #1 best seller on Amazon. Head below for more and tell me what you know...
How To Choose An Air Conditioner
I'm going to keep this simple and say:
1. Measure your room and get the one that is a size above the recommended size for your room in the chart below. This will take care of most sun and other heat issues.
2. Seal the heck out of it as any leakage around the unit will really suck the cool air right out of your room.
3. Avoid portable air conditioners. They've never worked for me and don't get high marks generally anywhere.
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 does it work?
Air conditioners work in similar to that other cool appliance in your home, the refrigerator. Instead of cooling just the small, insulated space inside of a refrigerator, an air conditioner treats your whole room like a fridge cools it's interior.
Here's the process broken down to the basics from HowStuffWorks:
- The compressor compresses cool Freon gas, causing it to become hot, high-pressure Freon gas (red in the diagram above).
- This hot gas runs through a set of coils so it can dissipate its heat, and it condenses into a liquid.
- The Freon liquid runs through an expansion valve, and in the process it evaporates to become cold, low-pressure Freon gas (light blue in the diagram above).
- This cold gas runs through a set of coils that allow the gas to absorb heat and cool down the air inside the building.
Highly rated and a Frigidaire, which is one of the most popular brands sold, this particular unit is 8,000 BTU's and the top pick on The Sweet Home for a few years running.
- Quickly cools a room up to 350 sq. ft. with dehumidification up to 1.7 pints per hour
- Clean air ionizer removes pollen and impurities from the air providing relief for allergy sufferers while fresh air vent/exhaust control removes odors
- Modes designed to save you energy and money include Auto Cool, Sleep and Energy Saver
Coming in first for GE and good for smaller rooms (up to 250 sq ft), this 6,150 BTU unit is small in scale, and has the standard remote with three cooling speeds. This is my most affordable pick, and recommended by ConsumerSearch.com as well as Techlicious.com.
Now that the high temps have really kicked in, it's hard to remember that this is the season everyone longs for during the darker, colder months of the year. Ha! If your home doesn't have AC (or you are choosing to leave it off as much as possible) you can feel stuck, especially when it comes to getting a restful nights sleep.. Go to Reader Intelligence Report