Tips on choosing an Air Conditioner

Determining What size Air Conditioner you need for Your Home?

By Mark J. Donovan

If you live in a warmer climate and lack central air conditioning then a window air conditioner may be just the ticket for you. Choosing an air conditioner for a window can be a challenge, as there are a number of factors that need to be considered, including the cost of it. My personal experience is do not choose a portable air conditioner that is so big that you can’t lift it without breaking your back. I did that with the first window air conditioner I purchased and have been regretting it ever since. It is a 12,000 BTU window air conditioner that must weigh nearly 100 lbs.

It’s a bear to not only drag up from the basement, but it’s also a two man job to get it into the window.

Also, although it can cool off the entire upstairs of our home, it still takes awhile, and in the process it has to cool off the hallway and even the stair well. In retrospect we would have been much better off if I had installed smaller window air conditioners in each upstairs bedroom. Not only would each bedroom be cooled off quicker, I wouldn’t necessarily need to cool off the hallway, bathrooms and stair well.

In addition, with the large air conditioning unit, it actually provides less cooling than if I had used a number of smaller ones. The reason for this is that the oversized air conditioner has too short of a run time and is constantly cycling on and off. Thus it never adequately removes sufficient enough moisture from all of the upstairs rooms to leave them feeling cool, except for the room that it is located in.

Consequently it is wise to size the air conditioner to the specific room area. Air conditioner performance is rated on BTUs or British Thermal Units.

The higher the number of BTUs the more heat that is transferred from a room to the outdoors. The smallest window air conditioner puts out about 4,000 BTUs, however for most standard room sizes (approximately 100 to 200 square feet) a 5,000 to 6,000 BTU portable air conditioner is most appropriate.

For larger rooms, e.g. up to 600 to 800 square feet, choosing an air conditioner that supports around 12,000 BTUs is most appropriate.

Regardless of what size air conditioner you choose, keep in mind that it is really meant to cool off one room. Trying to cool off an entire upstairs is simply not possible with one air conditioner, at least not from an energy or time efficiency standpoint.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Also, when installing portable window air conditioners make sure they are properly supported in the window per the air conditioner manufacturer’s recommendation and that proper insulation is placed around the air conditioner. This way you can safely and efficiently operate it to keep your home cool this summer.

For information on Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers, see the Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers eBook from The Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to restore Baseboard Heating Element Covers so that they look new again. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

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