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Things to know before buying a window air conditioner

Last updated on May 13, 2022

Looking to buy a window air conditioner?

Summertime is nearly here and you would obviously like to spend your time at home in a calm and cool environment. 

If you don’t have such luxury yet, you are probably thinking about buying an air conditioner

For people living in a one-room apartment or looking to save on electric bills, buying a window air conditioner might be the best decision to make your room comfortable enough for better quality sleep.

Also Read: 10 best air conditioners to buy in Australia.

Why do we use a window air conditioner?

A window air conditioner is one of the simplest forms of air conditioners in which all the components are fitted inside one single unit. 

window air conditioner
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This type of air conditioner is specifically designed for a single room and is mounted in the window, half inside and half outside.

A window AC cools down the room temperature. The operation of this AC is the same as other air conditioners except it has everything in one unit. 

Like other air conditioners, it takes the hot air from inside, and, after filtration, passes it over the evaporator coils and the refrigerant coils so heat and humidity are removed, and the cold air is blown back into the room. 

The refrigerant’s temperature is raised by the compressor and the heat is expelled out. 

After the condensation process, the refrigerant is again cooled down before it is ready to take another cycle. 

If you are living alone or with a few people only, you can cool down one room with a window air conditioner instead of having an expensive central air conditioning system, and this can also save you money.


Window air conditioners: What are the benefits?

Easy to install

One big advantage of buying a window air conditioner is that you can easily install it even by yourself. 

In contrast to the heavy central air conditioning system, a window AC is lightweight, and you can shift it from one room to another by yourself. 

window air conditioner
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Also, if you are living in a rented apartment and do not have a central air conditioning system, your first choice should be buying a window air conditioner that you can carry with you whenever you have to move.

Save you from high electric bills

When you are not using all the rooms in your home at the same time but tired of paying high electric bills, installing a window air conditioner could be the best option for you. 

These air conditioners are known for having more energy efficiency. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, they are designed as energy-efficient and cost less money.

Since it just works on cooling a single room instead of the whole house, it needs less time and energy for cooling. 

Obviously, this leads to less energy and electricity bills.

Extremely low cost

One major advantage is the lower cost of the window air conditioner than other types of air conditioners. 

People who have low income usually think that they can’t enjoy the luxuries of life. 

For those people, a window air conditioner has been developed with extremely low costs.

window air conditioner cost data
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The price range can vary due to different brands’ availability. You can purchase a Window AC for as low as $200 and as higher as $3000 which still is reasonable compared to central air conditioning systems.

No high maintenance costs

If you have a central air conditioning system or know someone who does, you might be familiar with how much money is spent on its maintenance. 

A really complex air conditioning unit means maintenance is complex too and requires experts.

But with a window air conditioner, you don’t have to set aside a portion of your income for maintenance. Just like its design, its maintenance is also quite simple. 

And you would be surprised to know that you can do it all by yourself.


Window air conditioner: The drawbacks

Noisy

A window air conditioner can be very noisy compared to a central air conditioning system and split air conditioner. 

If you need a peaceful environment and cannot sleep in noise, you probably would not want to install one. 

It’s not used in offices, where a quiet and calm environment is needed for people to focus on their tasks.

Security risk

Of course, after buying expensive equipment you would want to keep it safe. One disadvantage of a window air conditioner is its security risk. 

Obviously, it’s designed in a way that it is half inside and half outside of the window, and several security measures are also available. 

But still, if you will be away from your home for a long time, you will need to place it inside for more safety, and people usually find that really exhausting.

Losing the comfort of window

Another drawback of installing a window air conditioner is losing your space for the window. As the name suggests, it is installed on the window and utilizes the entire space. 

window air conditioner
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If you want fresh air or need to open your window, you cannot, and this sometimes becomes a frustrating situation. However, you can remove the Window AC if you want to be able to open your window for a few months.

Designed for rooms only

Due to hot weather, you might want to be able to spend your time in a cool environment but are short of money. 

If you think that buying a window air conditioner can help you cool down the entire house, you are wrong! 

You can buy it only to cool down a single room, because it is specifically designed with a cooling capacity that can only cool down a small space.

Window air conditioner: 5 things to know before you buy

Size of room and your AC unit

First things first, the room where you want to install your window air conditioner should match your AC. 

When you go to buy an AC, the first thing the salesperson will ask you about is the size of the room. That is because the cooling that your window AC provides depends on its capacity and your room space. 

Therefore, you need to buy an air conditioner that matches your room size. 

Buying a window air conditioner that is too small relative to your room space will lower its cooling capacity, and it wouldn’t be able to cool down the room as expected. 

Also, its compressor would need to work harder to cool down the room leading to high energy and electricity bills.

Similarly, if the size of your window AC is large, relative to your room, its cooling capacity would be higher. 

It would create an uncomfortable environment where you cannot get a good night’s sleep. Apart from that, a larger AC means its cooling cycles will be short and it will exert pressure on the compressor.

Energy efficiency

With innovation and advancements in every field, electronic technology is also making progress. Machines and other electric equipment are becoming more energy efficient. 

For air conditioners, they are becoming more energy efficient using less electricity and power but performing the same work.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has standardized the energy efficiency ratings. 

The higher the rating, the less energy and electricity used by the air conditioner. Refine your choice and choose the more energy-efficient window air conditioner. 

The most efficient AC is the one with 5-star ratings. 

It can cost you more initially, but can save you money in the long term. Your second option can be the air conditioner with 3-star ratings. 

Energy efficiency is measured in the energy efficiency ratio showing the BTUs that the air conditioner uses for every watt. 

The more the BTU units, the more the air conditioner is efficient. 

Cooling capacity

One big requirement before buying a window air conditioner for your room is evaluating its cooling capacity.

You should buy the air conditioner with the maximum cooling capacity according to your room size. Cooling capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU).

The more the BTUs, the higher the cooling capacity. It’s essential to buy an air conditioner which matches your room space closely. 

cooling capacity
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High cooling capacity air conditioners within a small room can affect the humidity of the room. Besides, they can generate higher electricity bills. 

The same effects occur with a very low capacity window air conditioner. 

To evaluate the exact cooling capacity you need, you have to calculate the area of the room in square feet and tally it with the above chart. 

Variation in BTU can be necessary if some other factors can affect the cooling like direct exposure to sunlight or the number of people in the room and other heat-generating factors.

Proper installation

After you have evaluated the room size, the cooling capacity of the window air conditioner needed for your room, and the energy efficiency, the next step is to know everything about the installation. 

The installation process is not as complex as for central air conditioning systems and does not require expert technicians, but there are still some things that you need to know ahead.

window air conditioner installer
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First, you have to measure the size of your window and the size of AC that you’re going to install. The measurements don’t have to be exact and perfect, since if there is a little space left in between, it can be covered with different methods. Also, if you are thinking of installing it on the wall, you must take the exact measurements. 

Second, it’s better if you spend some money to have an expert technician install it.

Voltage requirement

Voltage is one of the major requirements as it is needed for your air conditioner to operate. You have to make sure that the voltage you get in your home is enough to support your AC. 

Many of the other electric appliances work on voltages lower than 220 V. 

The air conditioners with low cooling capacity i.e. lower than 15000 BTUs can run on 115-125 V. However, the ones with high cooling capacity run on 220 V. 

So, whatever the cooling capacity of your AC unit is, make sure it matches the voltage in your home.

Window air conditioner: Wrapping Up

If you cannot afford a central air conditioning system or split unit AC, or if you’re a living on rent in one room, a window air conditioner could be the best choice for you. 

However, buying without having complete knowledge can lead to to long-term problems and financial loss. 

So, you can use the above-mentioned tips to help you narrow down your choices and pick the most suitable option for yourself. 

Gaurav Sharma

At E-Green Electrical , Gaurav writes about Electrical energy, Solar energy, Energy conservation and electrical product reviews. He is most interested in how we can utilize technology and renewable resources to reduce energy consumption , prevent pollution and save money at the same time.

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