Tips For Buying And Using A Window Air Conditioner

One thing you'll notice when you shop for a window air conditioner is that you have choices when it comes to size and features. Buying the right unit is important for your comfort, and using the AC properly helps it work more efficiently too. Here are some things to know about buying a window AC and using it once you get it home.

Measure the Square Footage You'll Cool

While window air conditioners are often used to cool a single room, it's possible to cool a small house with a few units if your home is designed in a way that allows for air circulation. Decide if you want a unit just for a bedroom or if you want one in the living room that can also cool the kitchen and surrounding areas. Take measurements of the space so you can look for a unit that will cool the square footage you need.

More power is not necessarily better if you just want to cool a small room since the AC may get the room too cold and you'll spend more money than you need when a smaller unit will work fine. Also, consider other factors such as how much solar heating the space gets during the day and how well insulated the room is.

Choose a Unit With Energy-Saving Features

The added features on a window AC affect its cost, so you may just want a basic model. However, you can get an AC that you can program and operate with a remote. Some have lights that let you know when it's time to clean the filter, and some air conditioners can double as heaters in the winter. An AC with an energy-saving feature will shut on and off according to the temperature you have set and will save on operating costs compared to an AC that blows continuously until you shut it off.

Install the AC so it Drains and Is Secure

Proper installation is key for getting the best results with a window air conditioner. If lifting a heavy AC is difficult, you may even want to ask the appliance store if they can deliver and install it for you. If not, be sure to follow all instructions and get help balancing the AC in the window until you secure it in place. The right tilt is important so water drains out of the unit and you don't have to deal with mold growth.

Also, putting foam insulation and weatherstripping around the air conditioner blocks air leaks that can occur with the window raised. You'll also want to secure the window with a bar or dowel so the unit is locked in place and intruders can't push up the window and get in your house.

Your window AC could last for several years if you maintain it properly. Wash the filter at least once a month or more often if the filter light comes on. Clean the unit when needed since grime can build up inside the unit due to dust accumulation and condensation. Periodic cleaning keeps the air fresh and gets rid of any mold or mildew that could become a problem. If you take the air conditioner out of the window for the winter, make sure it's dry before putting it in storage and pack it securely so it will be ready for use as soon as the weather turns warm next spring.