Home Improvement Guide

Things you should know before buying an air-conditioner

air conditioner

The basics

It is really difficult to go through summer minus an air-conditioner, and with the growing rise in the temperature it has almost turned into a must-have. To get the best results one must be educated and well informed before purchasing an air-conditioner, to avoid any regrets. Pre-purchasing research is vital and always helps in making the right choice. Image credit

What matters the most

You need to be sure of the size of the area you need to be cooled. There is no point investing in an air-conditioner with a unit that’s inadequate to cool an area or one which has more cooling power than required. Below are the recommended BTUs for a given cooling area from Consumer Reports:

* Small room: 5,000 – 6,000 BTUs for 100-300 sq. ft.
* Medium room: 7,000 – 8,200 BTUs for 250-550 sq. ft.
* Large room: 9,800 to 12,500 BTUs for 350-950 sq. ft. area.

What & Why

1. Choose the right type:Choose between a central air-conditioner which will cool your entire house or a single-room air conditioner. Central air-conditioning systems are priced at $3,500, but add to the home value and are easier to run. Over a period of time they are less expensive to maintain than the single- room air conditioners. Single-room air conditioners generally cost anywhere between $100 and $800 as of 2010. Although they have a lesser initial cost and can be used in rooms where it is needed, they tend to be more noisy and end up being more expensive.

2. Coverage area: Coverage area is crucial. The power of AC units is measured in BTUs and the more they are, the bigger the area they can cover. Calculate the square footage of the rooms and then choose the suitable one with the most adequate AC unit. Get the help of a local sales expert about the size perfect for your home.

3. Efficiency: Check to see the energy rating of the AC unit. Energy efficiency is vital. You can look for the EER rating and the Energy Star rating. A high EER means a high efficiency which means less money spent on energy.

4. Measuring your room: It is important too, as you need to invest in the right air-conditioner after you have got the accurate measurements of your room. Try and get the height, width and length of the room.

5.Do not ignore the windows: Also measure the dimensions of the window in which the unit will be placed. Often brands don’t list the precise dimensions of their air-conditioners on the units themselves, so use a measuring tape to measure it yourself.

6. Make the right decision: Try and select the type of air-conditioner that best accommodates your needs, and the type of room in which it will be located. The window unit is generally plenty for most.

We suggest

• Cool air does not travel around corners, so remember placement of your air-conditioner is very important. Don’t place an air-conditioner in a curving hallway, and keep your bedroom at the other end of the hall at 65 degrees F, as it won’t cool the place.

• Make sure that you select a room which is connected to an adjacent space through an open door or archway. The two rooms together constitute one room when trying to buy an air-conditioner.

• You need to keep in mind the size of both rooms as you need an air-conditioner sufficient enough to cool both rooms. Measuring the rooms thus is very important.

The bottom-line

Air-conditioners today are an important household facility. It’s very useful in places with hot summer temperatures and is almost a necessity in most households. With time and newer technology, we can avail ourselves of newer air-conditioners which are efficient as well as affordable.

Quick tips

• You need to keep your devices upgraded, so replace an old air-conditioner with a new one, as they have newer units and are more efficient as well as save energy.

• It is wiser to get central cooling system if you need to cool more than 2-3 rooms. This saves up on expenditure and energy.

• Do not buy a large air-conditioner if not required for a small room, as it won’t work appropriately and will also be a waste of money and energy.

Frequently asked questions:

Q1. How do I choose an air-conditioner?

Ans. To choose an air-conditioner, you must first figure the area which needs to be cooled. Use a measuring tape and multiply the length and width measurements of the area where cooling is needed, and the result is your total area (square-feet) to be cooled.

Q2. How efficient are air-conditioners?

Ans. If you invest in an energy-efficient air-conditioner you can actually save quite a bit of your hard-earned money. The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) measures the unit’s efficiency. The National Appliance Standards mandates the air-conditioners manufactured to have an EER of at least 8.0 if not higher. The higher the EER, the less power consumed and a lower running annual cost.

Q3. Types of Air-Conditioners?

Ans. A few tips for better results:

Efficiency -Other than basic efficient qualities of an air-conditioner it also depends on the functionality of it in different houses. Keep windows and doors shut for best results and seal off window and door cracks with weather tape.

Ventilation – Air-circulation is an important aspect in effective home air-conditioning. For good ventilation results or to create a wind-chill effect use ceiling fans or large house fans, which make the house seem cooler.

Filters – You should take care while using filters and maintain it properly to avoid breakdown of the unit, and circulation of dirty air. They should be checked every few months in the summer to ensure the air flow is not being impeded.

Exterior – Try choosing an exterior surface that does not conduct heat. This help in efficient cooling of the room. Also avoid materials like metal and plastic, especially darker colors which conduct more heat.

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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