The Quick and Easy Guide to Window Air Conditioners

Tony Case
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Window AC Advantages

While a window Air Conditioner is one important and effective cooling tool; it is not the most efficient or effective tool to use. Most window Air Conditioners that are offered on the market today are manufactured in a way that make it almost impossible to be properly installed. When this happens, the Air Conditioners are not allowed to work in the best possible way. So, choosing a window Air Conditioner can be a tricky task if you are not aware about how to choose the right one.

Most of the window air conditioners that are in the market today are not of very high quality. Though they are cheap, in the long run they prove to be very costly. Many of the manufacturers sell them at a very low price, but it’s just a marketing ploy to attract you. By the time you’ve purchased the window Air Conditioner, you’ll end up spending more money.

A window AC unit is the most basic means of cooling your home, but they have some advantages. Window units are easy to install and dismantle. Moreover, most of the window air conditioners are Energy Star rated. When you install the energy star rated Air Conditioners in your home, you won’t have to pay any energy bills. These window air conditioners are perfect for small homes and the apartments.

Window AC Disadvantages

Window air conditioning units are more traditional than a typical central air system. As mentioned, they are more affordable than central cooling systems but require much more work to install. Whichever installation route you choose, it is important to note the following disadvantages.

You’Ll Need an Additional Window

Window AC units utilize two holes in your wall. A stairway window will require two holes to be cut. That means you need to find two neighbors willing to make a double sized hole in their wall. Fortunately, air conditioners are small and can fit in a single hole as long as you cut the hole correctly.

You’ll Need to Deal with the Outside Unit

Being the outside of the house, the window AC units are prone to many problems as their environment changes but you have no control over the components or the environmental conditions surrounding them. Just remember, they will produce more noise, lower efficiency, and require more cleaning.

They Take a Long Time To Install

The best part about a central air system is that it takes only about three days. The worst part is that installing a window AC unit could take nearly two weeks. You may be disappointed to learn that the installation of a window air conditioner does not really follow the three day trend. It generally will take 5-7 days.

Choosing the Right Window Air Conditioner

Window air conditioner units are a handy appliance but if not done right, it can turn out to be a serious mistake. The easiest way to rule out the mistakes is to start by getting yourself familiar with the different parts of an air conditioner.

Parts of a Window Air Conditioner

The parts included are the compressor, condenser, expansion valve, cooling coil, drain pan and evaporator coil. After getting yourself familiar with these parts or more specifically the main components of the air conditioner, this will help you get the right window unit.

The compressor allows the gas to enter the unit and helps it work. Condenser is the metal drums that contain the refrigerant. Expansion valve makes the gas in liquid form. Coils help the heat to get rid of. Drain pan is used to drain the water from the unit. Evaporator coil is the tube containing the gas.

Still trying to understand the different parts? Let us help you out. Below is another image to help you better understand the different parts of a window air conditioner. Or visit this site to know its parts in greater detail.

Other features to Consider

The beginning of summer is the time when everyone starts looking for ways to keep cool. Looking for an affordable way to keep your house cool seems like a good way to save money and be environmentally friendly. One alternative to conventional air-conditioning is a window air-conditioning unit. If you live in an apartment, or have a house that just cannot handle the cost of running a central air-conditioner, then this could be the choice for you. However, there are more things to consider than just the price. Here are some of the pros and cons of window air-conditioning units.


Cheap to Install

Installing a window air-conditioner is a relatively simple process. All that is needed is a wall socket and a power unit. If you have these, you can easily install a window unit into your house yourself.

Cheap to Operate

This is one of the biggest benefits of the window unit, the minimal cost to operate. If you have a central air-conditioning unit in place already, then running an extra one for a second room is simple. All you need to do is find the right sized unit for your house, and plug it into an open wall socket.

Can Move Them

Room Examples and Recommendations

You can find a window air conditioner to fit almost any window, with a unit's height and width frequently making up the biggest differences between models. Here are three examples to help guide your choice, and our recommended window air conditioner for each.

Small Bedroom

The smallest recommended window unit for a small bedroom is a 12,000 BTU unit. This will cool up to a 300-square-foot space. However, if you have a very small room, you may even be able to go lower.

If you're going for a horizontal-style window ac unit, the Whynter ARC-12S is one of the most silent ones out there. Even if its power consumption is higher, it's a good choice for a small bedroom.

Medium Bedroom

If you live in a medium-sized bedroom, you'll need to cool a space that's about 400 to 500 square feet. A 16,000 BTU unit is the correct window air conditioner for this space.

One unit that really stands out is the Frigidaire FRA095NW window air conditioner. It's Energy Star rated and has great reviews, but it doesn't sacrifice performance to reach those good numbers. It's also neat looking and incredibly quiet.

Bedroom (100 – 300 square feet)

  • UNIT: 12,000 BTU
  • TEMPERATURE SETTING: Minimum 76 degrees
  • DESIGNED FOR: Twin bed, two nightstands, dresser, computer desk, closet, ceiling fan, curtains, TV
  • COOLS: 132 square feet
  • HASSLE FACTOR: Two vents on opposite sides must be carefully balanced

Bedroom is a medium-sized space (about 132 square feet) where the two single most-used household items are bed and TV. It’s also where people spend a lot of time, leisure or working, and prefer to be comfortable.

Most bedrooms have one 100- to 250-square-foot area that serves as a sitting room, office, television room,.

Or a combination of all three. These are where the window air conditioners make most sense – for circulating air in a small space.

This is also a room where the air conditioner and ceiling fan may be fighting for dominance – not only for cooling/heating but also for fan noise – when both are running at the same time.

Living Room (350 – 650 square feet)

A living room can be a large, open area, or one that’s broken up into two main areas – a sitting area and a media center, for example. You’ll also need to consider how you want to heat the area, as well as what size TV makes the most sense for the room. Living rooms are a place where you can be cozy yet have plenty of room for entertaining guests.

If you have the space, having one room for each of these functions is ideal. Here are three good options for living room to consider.

Floor Standing Units

Floor standing models are upright units that are 36 inches to 42 inches high and are 16 inches deep. When figuring out the cubic footage of the room, you’re going to have to consider the size of the furniture in the room. Give yourself at least one foot between the vent and the furniture plus additional clearance for the louvers in the back or side that allow air to flow through. Floor models can be used in rooms of 350 – 650 square feet. This model leaves you with 16 inches to 25 inches of open space beneath.

Kitchen (150-250 square feet)

If you are looking for a versatile air conditioner, then one of the quietest window air conditioners you can go with is the Friedrich CP08G10B. This machine has a moderate energy consumption making it an excellent air conditioner for rooms up to 250 square feet.

But one thing to note about the Friedrich CP08G10B is that it is still a relatively new model. This means that the company hasn’t had a chance to build a customer base of CP08G10B users. This may mean that the company’s customer support is not as good as it could be. Others claim that the CP08G10B is durable, it gets very cold and quiet, and that they love how easy it is to clean.

Another air conditioner you might like is the Whynter ARC-005. This machine also has a moderate energy consumption and is typically ranked as one of the best air conditioners for small rooms. Unlike the Friedrich CP08G10B, you can find a number of Whynter ARC-005 reviews online.

Energy Efficiency of Room Air Conditioners

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding HVAC and its potential to create energy savings in homes. But the fact of the matter is you do not need to strike a compromise between your comfort and the environment. There are energy-efficient air conditioners available in the market that will not only keep your rooms cool but also reduce energy bills!

The rule of thumb is the larger the cooling capacity, the more energy efficient the unit will be. While an air conditioner with a larger cooling capacity costs more at first, it saves you more over the long run.

So the first thing you need to do is to decide which room you want to install your AC and check the cooling capacity of your room. If a room is average sized, you can install a 10,000 BTU air conditioner. But, if the room is very large then you can install a 14,000 BTU air conditioner.