A room-sized AC is an efficient way to beat the heat.
The summer brings with it heat, but don't worry, cooling your home is a breeze. For efficient cooling of smaller spaces, a room air conditioner is a great choice. Today's energy-efficient models can also handle larger areas with ease. The key to choosing the right air conditioner is matching the proper unit to the space you want to cool.
Choosing the right air conditioner is easy with the right information. The first step, before you go shopping, is to learn to speak the language.
Btu - The British Thermal Unit (Btu) is the international measurement of energy. A Btu is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. In AC jargon, a Btu measures the amount of heat an air conditioning unit can remove from the room. As the Btu rating increases, so does the size, weight and cost of the air conditioner. Room air conditioners are generally 5000 - 24,000 Btu's. Matching Btu requirements to room size is important. The room(s) won't cool efficiently if the Btu rating is too low or too high for the size of the room.
EER - The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is calculated by dividing the Btu's by the number of watts. The higher the EER number the more efficient the unit should be. A higher EER rated air conditioner will also be more expensive, so decide if the higher price tag is worth the energy savings you may be getting. The ratings range from 8-11.5. If it's really hot where you are, go for a rating of 10 or higher.
Thermostat - The heat-sensing thermostat adjusts the temperature of the air coming from the air conditioning unit. They can be programmable or manual. An adjustable thermostat combined with a variable-speed fan is an effective cooling machine. AC units are available with such features as remote control, 24 hour delay timers and digital temperature readouts.
Filter - Clean air is essential for efficient operation. Look for units with filters that can be easily cleaned or replaced.
Fan - The fan moves the air. A variable-speed fan combined with an adjustable thermostat is an effective cooling machine. Look for louvers that adjust up/down and right/left.
Chassis - A fixed chassis is characteristic of a lighter weight, smaller unit that's easy to remove for winterization. A slide-out chassis is found on units that are installed through-the-wall. The unit slides out easily for maintenance or replacement.
Packaged Terminal Heat Pump/Air Conditioner - A large heating and/or cooling unit installed through the wall. These are the type of units used in hotel/motel rooms.