Other Factors to Consider Before Buying a New Unit


Other Factors to Consider Before Buying a New Unit

If you've ever shopped for room air conditioners, you may already know that they can come with a wide variety of features. Some of these features may help cool your space more efficiently.

Controls and energy-saving modes
You can save both energy and money with such features as a programmable thermostat, a built-in timer or an energy-saving mode, which switches off the fan automatically whenever the compressor motor stops. A remote control can make it easier to save energy if the air conditioner is installed in a hard-to-reach spot.

You may also want to factor sound into your decision. Noisy units might cost less, but may bother you and your neighbours. To compare machines accurately, ask the salesperson to run each unit for a minute or two with the fan and compressor operating. Listen closely to the sound generated by the fan (indoor noise) and the compressor (outdoor noise).

Installation and maintenance
Another important consideration is ease of access for maintenance, installation and removal. Removing and storing your air conditioner properly for winter can make the unit last longer and lead to greater savings. Consider, for instance, the potential for heat loss when the unit is removed for winter. Can the empty space be insulated easily? Most through-the-wall units require experienced installers, while smaller, lighter window units are relatively easy to install. A large, heavy unit usually needs a slide-out chassis and outdoor support and may require special electrical circuitry.

Perhaps you've already thought about where to install the room air conditioner. Keep in mind that an ideal location allows for adequate circulation of air around the unit, both indoors and out. The best location is usually free of drapes, furniture and exterior shrubbery and doesn't expose the unit to direct sunlight.

Air circulation
You'll want a unit that enables you to distribute cool air where it's needed. This is particularly important for large spaces and when a unit is installed in a corner or near a door. Also, remember that a clean filter improves air circulation, so learn how to clean the filter on your new unit.

Other cooling units
Overall, today's room air conditioners are more efficient, quieter and less costly to own and operate than current portable units. In Canada there are no minimum energy efficiency requirements for portable models.

Ask your retailer for information and advice about which features are best for your situation.