Here's how to select the right
air conditioning window unit for whichever area you may need it for:
Most air conditioner packaging displays an average of how many square feet it
will cool. It will also provide suggestions on the proper installation. AC units
can use a lot of electricity, so select one that's closest to your needs by
looking at the EER rating (or Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher the EER
number, the more efficient the unit is.
Make certain that you have enough attic insulation over the area being covered
and factor the amount of windows that allow direct sun into the area before
choosing your AC unit. If the unit it too large for the room it will continually
cycle on and off which will prevent it from properly dehumidifying the room..
An efficient air conditioner can save you lots of money on your electric bill.
Just like furnaces and water heaters, air
conditioners have an energy efficiency rating—EER for short. Buy an air
conditioner with an EER of at least 10. Although air conditioners with EERs
higher than 10 usually cost more, you will recapture this cost by using less
It's important to buy the correct size air
conditioner (in terms of how much cooling it produces, not its dimensions). If
the air conditioner is too large, it won't operate efficiently and it will use
more energy and cost you more money. Ask the salesperson for help in choosing
the correct size air conditioner.
Window air conditioners have filters. Remove
and clean the filter every month to help save money and keep the air in your
Make sure the "fresh air" vent on the air
conditioner is closed so you're not cooling outside air.
If possible, put the air conditioner in a
window that faces north or is shaded. Keeping the air conditioner out of
direct sunlight improves its efficiency. Remove and store the air conditioner
during the winter rather than keeping it in the window.
How to Fix a Window Air Conditioner
When a window
air conditioner cools poorly, it doesn't necessarily mean you're in for an
expensive trip to the repair shop. It could be the machine just needs a good
cleaning and some tender care.
Remove the front grill. Pry it off with
a putty knife if it's held by clips, or use a screwdriver if it is screwed
Unplug the air conditioner, slide it
out of the window cabinet and set it on a sturdy table. You may need a
helper to move the air conditioner if it's heavy.
Locate the mesh filter. It covers the
radiator-like fins on the machine's evaporator coils.
Remove the filter, and wash it and the
grill in a mixture of warm, soapy water and bleach--this will remove any
mold. Shake out the excess water and set the filter and grill in your dish
drain to dry.
Vacuum the evaporator coils thoroughly,
using a vacuum with brush attachment. Remove any stubborn dirt with a
plastic scrub brush.
Inspect the fins on the coils. If any
fins are bent or flattened, buy a fin comb from an appliance store and run
the comb up or down the fins to straighten them.
Turn the air conditioner around so the
back is facing you. You will see a second set of coils--the machine's
Vacuum these coils thoroughly, using
the vacuum and brush attachment. Remove any stubborn dirt with a plastic
Inspect the fins on the condenser
coils, and if any are bent, use the fin comb to straighten them.
Remove any dirt or lint from inside the
unit, using the vacuum and crevice attachment. Make sure you clean the fan
blades, too, using the vacuum and brush attachment.
Put the air conditioner back into the
Reinstall the filter and front grill,
and plug in the machine
If you have a small area to cool
in the summer - say, one or two rooms - a room air conditioner may be a more
economical choice than a central air conditioning unit. It will cost less
initially and it will cost less to operate in the long run.
Most room air conditioners sit in a window
where they can exhaust warm air to the outside. Window installations can be
drafty, however, so at the end of the warm weather season some people remove the
unit from the window and store it for the winter. Room air conditioners can also
be built into the wall for a more permanent installation.
Keep in mind that, when choosing a room air
conditioner, size is important. A unit that is too small will run continually
without cooling the room effectively. On the other hand, if you buy a unit
that's too large for the space you're cooling, it actually will be less
effective than one that's the correct size. Bigger isn't necessarily better.
Air conditioners work by removing both heat and
humidity. Humidity condenses from the air when it passes over the air
conditioner's cooling coils. So a unit that is too big will cool the room so
quickly that it won't have the opportunity to remove as much humidity from the
air as it should. As a result, the unit will keep turning off and on and the
room will feel damp, clammy and less comfortable. A properly sized unit, on the
other hand, will remove humidity effectively as it cools.