Article and Tips provided by SaveOnEnergy

Purchase the perfect air conditioner for your space with efficiency in mind.

How do you know which cooling system is right when they all promise to help keep you cool? While it may seem like any room air conditioner might do, it’s important to do your research so you can choose the right unit that will not just keep you cool, but help you save on energy costs too.

Think about size first
When it comes to room ACs, bigger is not always better. In fact, an AC that is too large for a space can be less effective, decrease home comfort and waste energy.

To determine the right size, start by measuring the area you need to cool. The square footage will determine the cooling capacity needed, which is indicated by British thermal units (BTUs/hour). As a rule of thumb, average 20 BTUs for each square foot of living space. Once you’ve determined the BTUs, you’ll need to factor in a few other considerations, like windows and ceiling height:

  • - If the room receives little to no sunlight, reduce BTU capacity by 10%
  • - If the room receives a lot of sunlight, increase BTU capacity by 10%
  • - If the room is typically occupied by more than two people, increase BTU capacity by 600 BTUs per person
  • - If the AC unit is being placed in a kitchen, increase BTU capacity by 4,000
  • - If you’re still not sure, consult a certified air conditioning contractor they can help you in choosing the right sized unit for your space.

Research what's available
There are a variety of room air conditioners available on the market. Before purchasing, familiarize yourself with the different types and their available features:

Window air conditioners
Window AC units can cool rooms from 100 square feet to 650 square feet. Check the BTUs to determine if your space needs a small, medium or large AC unit to cool the room properly. Small-to-medium sized units are relatively easy to install, but larger window units may require installation by a contractor. All units can typically be installed in single or double hung windows, and most come with adjustable panels that ensure the AC is properly fitted to your window, reducing the risk of air leaks.

Portable air conditioners
These AC units can be moved from room to room, making it easy to cool specific areas when needed. Most portable units have a venting kit for the exhaust, so keep this in mind when thinking about placement. If the unit has a hose to utilize outside air, you’ll need to make sure it can be placed near a window.

Split ductless air conditioners
Split ductless air conditioners are a great way to cool multiple rooms without having to install multiple window units or the ductwork needed for central air conditioning. Upfront costs may be higher than alternatives and you'll require a contractor to install the system, but these units are typically more energy efficient and have additional features like air filtration.