Buying Guide – How to Shop for an Air Conditioner
Before buying any air conditioner, it’s vital to have a few considerations in mind. Will your window accommodate air conditioner units beyond a certain size? How large a room or open space do you need to cool? Would you prefer a remote control or are you okay with routinely making manual adjustments?
Besides questions like these, you’ll also likely want to consider the long-term cost of the product. It does no good to bargain shop for an A/C unit, only to buy one that uses a lot of electricity. Energy efficiency is essential for avoiding waste and saving money.
This guide will address many of the most common terms and concerns about buying a window air conditioner. Read on to learn more information that will help you better settle on the right unit for your home.
How to Choose the Right Air Conditioner for Your Bedroom
One of the first and most important things to keep in mind when shopping for an air conditioner is the room where you’ll likely install it. Too powerful an air conditioner can waste energy and money. A smaller air conditioner unit stops can seem like a bargain, but many of these models struggle to effectively cool larger rooms. Before buying an air conditioner, you should take measurements of the space you need to cool.
Factor in room shape, because square foot coverage will change according to the shape of the room. You’ll need to use certain calculations to determine the total square feet in the space, so you’ll know how powerful the air conditioner you need to buy must be in order to cool the entire room.
Air conditioner power is measured by the British Thermal Unit (BTU). The larger the room space, the greater the unit’s BTU must be to effectively cool it. For instance, the best air conditioner for rooms with 150 to 250 square feet of space would generate about 6,000 BTUs per hour. For an area of around 1,500 square space, the BTU number jumps to 30,000.
In addition to power, you should also consider efficiency. For air conditioners, this is measured by an energy efficiency rating or EER. The EER is the ratio of a unit’s cooling capacity (BTU) over the power input, measured in watts (W). The higher the EER number, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.
Window-mounted air conditioners come in different sizes. Before wasting money on a unit that won’t fit, make sure to carefully measure your window’s dimensions. Many window-mounted units have easy install window kits, making it a quick and straightforward task to adjust the A/C unit so it fits the unique dimensions of your window. Additionally, the side panels in window air conditioners not only help keep the unit in place, but they also prevent excess air from escaping.
Other Important Considerations for Air Conditioner Shoppers
In addition to size and power output, A/C unit shoppers should take these other factors into account:
Personalized settings: No customer is alike, and it’s only natural for shoppers to select an best air conditioner suited to their personal preferences. If you’re buying an A/C unit for the bedroom, you want a product that’s robust enough to cool your space, but one that won’t make you feel like you’re sleeping outside in the dead of winter. There are certain settings and add-ons that you should look for before committing to a product.
Timer: Wouldn’t it be nice to set your air conditioner and then have it go on and off without you having to tinker with it any further? For customers that are on the go, or would prefer to come home or arrive at the office and find things adequately cooled down, a timer option is essential. Having a 24-hour timer on your air conditioner allows you to plan far ahead as to when you’d prefer your unit to begin or stop cooling.
Temperature range: Not every unit operates within the same temperature range. Some of the more powerful ac units have a wider temperature range, capable of cooling a room down to 61 degrees. Because preferences vary, you’ll want to make sure you have an idea what the temperature range is for your unit and how much BTU you need to cool your room to your preferred level of coolness.
Remote control: Remote controls aren’t only for the TV. In the modern world, you should have the option to get your air conditioner at the push of a few buttons rather than continually walking back and forth across the room to manually make adjustments. Be aware that some units can be adapted to do certain functions automatically, making it that much easier to cool your room without a lot of fuss.
Fan settings: Most units come with two to four fans, with low, medium, or high power settings. Fan cooling can be very energy efficient; additionally, the fan usually runs quiet, which is helpful for enjoying a good night’s sleep with minimal distraction.
Filter: Some filters are reusable while others have to be replaced periodically. A good, clean filter can lower your unit’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%. It’s important to routinely clean or replace your filter, especially if it gets regular use or you happen to own furry pets. Clogged filters can severely impact the air conditioner’s cooling capabilities.
Cover: There may be cool nights or cold winter months where using your air conditioner isn’t necessary. In those instances, you might be worried about unwanted cold air seeping through the unit and into your home. It might be wise to invest in an insulation cover for your air conditioner.
Air Conditioner Shipping, Returns, and Warranty Considerations
Shipping: If purchasing your A/C unit online , you’ll want to double-check that it can be shipped to your location. Be sure to inquire about the following:
- Does the seller ship to non-contiguous states?
- Is international shipping available, and if so, to which countries?
- Is free shipping available?
- Can customers pay more faster delivery (i.e., expedited shipping)?
- Is in-home installation available for an extra charge?
Customers can avoid costly complications by doing as much research as possible before making an order.
Return policy: Ask the seller, store, or manufacturer if the air conditioner unit you’d like to buy has a trial period. Testing the product for a few weeks can help buyers decide whether this is the best unit for them, or if they should send it back for a refund or product exchange.
Make sure you hold onto any receipt, as many stores and manufacturers demand proof of purchase before issuing any kind of refund. Also, ask the seller how much returns cost in terms of shipping, transportation, etc.
Warranty: As A/C units can get very expensive, you’ll want to check if the product is covered by a warranty that will allow you to repair or replace it at little or no cost. Read the warranty, because it’s possible that conditions might change as time passes.
For example, it’s possible that any defects found within the first year get paid for, but after two years of ownership, the manufacturer will only claim responsibility for specific issues. This is also known as nonprorated/prorated coverage; nonprorated coverage implies the manufacturer will bear most of the repair and replacement costs, while prorated coverage indicates the owner must shoulder at least some of these costs.
Never attempt to repair the air conditioner yourself if you believe the product is faulty or defective. If you damage or otherwise compromise the unit during home repairs, the manufacturer will most likely void warranty coverage for the air conditioner.
Additional Tuck Resources
For more information about air conditioners and other products that help regulate your sleep temperature, please visit the Tuck.com pages below: