Casement Window Air Conditioner
Learn About Window Air Conditioners
A matter of life and death
Modern air conditioners provide cool and dehumidified air in automobiles and buildings. First invented and patented in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier, the electrical air conditioner is a standard appliance that folks in many regions regard as essential. Many of us can’t imagine going a whole summer without the cool comfort it provides for our homes and workplaces. For many asthmatic, elderly, and critically ill patients, a properly functioning A.C. unit is a matter of life and death.
Window air conditioners are compact A.C. units designed to be mounted in a window or wall, and are used to cool one or two rooms. These models operate on exactly the same principles as central air units, but are less expensive and more convenient for small rooms and apartments. Most units are designed for do-it-yourself window installation, however, installing through-the-wall models requires some carpentry know-how.
How to choose the right size
When it comes to purchasing the right window unit for your home or office, the most important considerations are climate and room size. To determine the proper size, measure the square footage of the area you want to cool. Add extra capacity for hotter environments such as kitchens and high-traffic areas where the door is frequently opening and closing.
The size of air conditioners is rated by BTU (British thermal unit). A higher BTU means a more powerful air conditioner. The following conversions will give you an idea of how BTUs translate into cooling capacity:
- 5,000 to 6,000 BTU – up to 300 square feet
- 7,000 to 8,200 BTU – up to 550 square feet
- 9,800 to 12,500 BTU – up to 12,500 square feet
When sizing your window air conditioner, it’s also important to consider that a 12,000 BTU unit will be much larger and heavier than a 5000 BTU unit. Remember to inquire at the time of purchase whether the retailer provides installation service. If not, make sure to seek assistance before attempting to mount heavier models.
Window Air Conditioner Tips
Pick the right ones to keep your home cool
A window air conditioner provides additional cooling for rooms that heat up more than others. An upstairs bedroom, for instance, can be much warmer than the main floor. Choosing the right product features on a window air conditioner can keep a room cool at maximum efficiency.
Size up the room that needs to be cooled
Selecting window air conditioner features in part will be determined by the size of the room you’ll be cooling. A room measuring anywhere from 300 to 1,600 square feet can be comfortably cooled by a window-mounted air conditioner. There are also horizontal window-mounted units for vertical sliding or hung sash windows. All can be removed and stored during winter months.
The power of a window air conditioner is measured in British Thermal Units per hour. A higher BTU output means the unit has more cooling power. Too much BTU power will cause the unit to cycle on and off too often, putting wear on the air conditioner.
The energy efficiency of a window air conditioner is an important feature, particularly in these days of energy conservation. The energy efficiency rating (EER) must be displayed on all air conditioners sold in the U.S. The most energy-efficient models will carry a higher EER.
Thermostats control room temperature
Many window air conditioners operate with a thermostat similar to central air conditioning systems. The thermostat turns on and off as needed based on the temperature setting. That will save on your electric bill.
Window air conditioning filters relieve family members who suffer from allergies. The filters remove allergens and odors from the room. A dehumidifying feature takes the dampness away, making rooms more comfortable.
There are window air conditioner models that have the ability to direct air flow up, down, right, and left. Another feature switches from fresh air to recirculation. Timers allow you to program the air conditioner to turn on long before you enter the room.
The chassis is an important part of an air conditioner. Choosing a model with a sliding chassis will make maintenance or repair easier, especially if the air conditioner is mounted in a wall rather than a window.
A little care ensures more efficiency, longer life
Window air conditioning units let you beat the summer heat, but keep in mind they need a little tender loving care. Like any appliance, a window air conditioner demands that you maintain it for higher efficiency and a longer lifespan.
Keep size in mind first
There is one rule of thumb for any cooling system: Bigger isn’t always better. An oversized window air conditioner can reduce efficiency, lower performance, and hike energy costs. A unit that turns on and off frequently puts wear and tear on internal components, particularly the motor.
It’s important to periodically check the filter on a window air conditioner. A dirty filter can add stress to the motor and limit the unit’s cooling ability. It also could weaken the filter’s ability to clear allergens from the air. Filters should be washed or replaced every month during the summer.
Filter replacement is inexpensive, and it takes just minutes to install a new one. It’s easy to do, and no special tools are required. Just make sure you purchase the right filter for your unit. Your owners’ manual will tell you what filter is right.
Cleaning the condenser
The outside portion of a window air conditioner condenser will get dirty during the year, but it’s important that it remains clean. A vacuum can remove leaves, spider webs, and other debris from the outside of the unit. This should be done every April.
Check the fan for possible bent fins. There’s a tool called a fin comb that can be used to straighten and clean fins, but use with caution as they are quite fragile.
Covering the outside portion of the condenser unit of a window air conditioner is important during the winter months. That will keep leaves, dirt, and moisture away, likely extending the life of the unit.
A cover should be placed on the air conditioner once summer ends and removed just before spring. You can purchase a cover or simply use a plastic garbage bag. Covering your window unit keeps cold air from entering the room, which results in savings on your heating bill.
Making your window air conditioner work for you
A window air conditioning unit is a summer necessity if you’re going to keep cool in your home. Buying a window air conditioner shouldn’t be done on an impulse. There are many things to consider before selecting the right unit for your home.
Sizing up your window and your room
Window air conditioners come in various heights and widths, so it’s important to measure the window that will house your unit. You should be able to find a window air conditioner that will fit your window, but if not, there are products that can be vented outside.
Measuring the size of the room is very important. Knowing the square footage you need to cool will help you determine how powerful of a unit you’ll need. A too-small window air conditioner will have to work harder and may not keep the room at the desired temperature.
Once you’ve measured the amount of space needed to be cooled, you can consider the amount of BTUs (British Thermal Units) necessary for the air conditioner. The greater the BTU rating – which is listed on the air conditioner – the greater the capacity of the unit.
Energy efficiency should be a huge consideration when selecting a window air conditioner. Comparing energy efficiency ratings can save on your electric bill. Check with your utility company to see whether it offers cash incentives for energy-friendly window units.
Price is always a consideration
A window air conditioner clearly is an economical alternative to installing a central air system. But, to be sure, you can also spend a lot of money on a window unit. Still, the price shouldn’t be your only consideration.
You’ll want to look at the cost of delivery and possible professional installation when comparing prices. The time of year you purchase a window air conditioner could result in substantial savings. It may sound strange, but winter could be the best time to buy.
Another thought is how often you’ll be using a window air conditioner. A temporary window-fitted unit might be appropriate, and it can be removed when not in use.
If you’re preparing to sell your home, think about adding a window air conditioner to increase the value of the home. That’s especially true if summer is at hand.