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Air Conditioner Buying Guide

Air Conditioner

Chances are, if youre reading this, its probably hot outside. Air conditioning units are a life saver. If you cant handle the heat, then buy an air conditioner? False idioms aside, air conditioners provide much needed comfort during the hot summer months, as well as, for folks in warmer climate regions. The desire and subsequent need for air conditioning have been documented in many areas of human history. The creation of the modern air conditioner derived from advancements in chemistry. Traditionally, when we think of the air conditioner, we think of how the unit is able to cool the air during heated climates. However, air conditioners are also able to provide the reduction of air pollutants such as dust and dander, as well as, dehumidifying the ambient air condition. Hence, the name air conditioner, as oppose to, air cooler.

There isnt a lot of persuasion required when folks are in the need of purchasing a new air conditioner but any well informed decision begets a good decision. During the hot and humid summer months, theres no better comfort and relief than a well running AC unit.

BTU (British Thermal Unit)

BTU

You will hear this mentioned a lot when you’re in the market for buying a new air conditioner. What is a BTU? Just a fancy acronym for how the air conditioning industry, among others, measure power produced by their respective machine or system counterpart. Typically, the more BTU an air conditioner has, the more power it requires and the more cooling it provides.

Features

The main feature anyone wants from an air conditioner is the ability to cool a room. However, here are some other features worth having on a unit.
Remote

Remote Control

Remote controls have become the luxury we cant live without.

Economy Mode

Economy Mode

This mode is prevalent on most models today. It will effectively turn on and off to maintain the desired room temperature.

Air Control

Air Control

This may not seem like much but the ability to control the air flow is pretty nice to have. Its convenient to control the height and the angle in which the air conditioner blows to improve overall air circulation.

Thermostat

Thermostat

A common feature on most to all air conditioner units. Lower end models will typically incorporate numbers and a dial while mid to higher end models will utilize a digital display with usually analog buttons. A temperature read out is convenient to use as a frame of reference.

Fan

Fan Speed

This is another feature that is an absolute must for air conditioners. Whether, you need to cool a room in a hurry with high speed settings or enjoy a restful nights sleep without much noise disturbance with low speed settings, an air conditioner with varying fan speeds is very useful.

Purchasing a New Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner

One of the best things about buying a new air conditioning unit is that, more often than not, it’s a pretty straight forward ordeal.

New Air Conditioners

The following are the two basic guidelines when deciding on a new air conditioner but there's more.

 

Budget

Budget

The ubiquitous question: How much are you willing to spend? Air conditioners, nowadays, come in a wide variety and with the expansive lineup also comes with appropriate price points. Depending on model and type, expect to spend anywhere from $100 to over $1000. Simple wall/window units will weigh lower on the spectrum, whereas, split or mini-split air conditioning systems will fetch well over $1000.

Size

Size

Typically, bigger rooms will require a bigger air conditioner unit. There is a general frame of reference on BTU output in relation to the area of coverage required. Refer to the top of the guide.

Types of Air Conditioners

Here are the following types of air conditioners typically available on the market today.

Window AC

Window

As the name implies, this unit is placed on a window. The window air conditioner is the most popular type of AC unit by far in the States; It is seen virtually everywhere. This type of air conditioner is very affordable, easy to install and gets the job done.

 

Wall AC

Wall

Similar to the window unit, the wall air conditioner is installed inside a wall where no windows are conveniently located and typically does not contain those accordion looking flaps on the side. Instead, it either has no trim or a minimal trim around the outline of the AC unit to blend well with your wall.

 

Mini-Split AC

Mini-Split

More popular elsewhere than in the States, the mini-split air conditioning unit has the operating parts separate from a distance away from the fan module providing one of the quietest options. Split air conditioning units are intended to be installed on an individual unit to an individual room basis. The main appeal about this unit is that it is relatively cheap in comparison to central air conditioning.

 

Central AC

Central or Split

Speaking of central air conditioning. This system is intended to provide air conditioning to an entire home or building. It would require an existing duct and ventilation network but if none exist then it would require installing a new duct and ventilation network.

 

Portable AC

Portable

The portable air conditioner is a movable unit that stands upright on the floor and can be moved from room to room as needed. Worth noting, these also require water draining and a place for that water to drain out into, typically, a bucket built in that needs to be manually removed and drained. Also, these AC units require ventilation of heat that usually comes in the form of a long hose ventilation kit that needs to be vented outside.

 

PTAC

PTAC

More commonly found in hotels, this longer air conditioner unit is capable of providing cooling and heating functions.

💡 QUICK TIP - You dont want to end up buying a budget friendly air conditioner only to realize the AC consumes a lot of energy. Look for Energy Star rated appliances to satisfy your need.

Best Air Conditioners

The following are some of the best air conditioners based on popular reviews.

CP06G10A

Wall: CP06G10A 6,000 BTU Friedrich Residential Chill was awarded toptenreview’s gold award and top pick overall as their consideration of 2016’s best window air conditioner unit.


AC-12000E

Portable: The 12,000 BTU NewAir AC-12000E portable unit is considered by consumersearch as a good solution for a “compact portable air conditioner for moderate-sized rooms.”


LS360HLV

Mini-Split: LS360HLV 33,000 BTU Single Zone Wall-Mount Ductless Split System is a great alternative option opposed to investing in an entire central air conditioning system.

Appliances Connection offers many more product choices from a variety of popular brands in Air Conditioners with great deals and rebates everyday.

Some Practical Advice

Noise:

If you value peace and quiet (I do.), then careful consideration is required when determining the noise output of your air conditioner.


Timed Operation:

If you’re one of those folks who run their AC all day, you’re not only wasting energy and increasing your electricity bill but you’re doing a disservice to the environment. Think about investing in a timer device.


Maintenance:

Most air conditioners now will come with a filter that catches the dust from the air during operation. Don’t forget to clean that filter, as well as, taking the front face off the unit and giving it a good wipe down also.