Stay Cool with a Window Air Conditioner

Anyone who lives in a small apartment or college dorm room can benefit from buying and installing a window air conditioner.

Consumers can find these small appliances for less than $200, which is much less expensive than having a central air conditioning system installed.

iStock_columns.This type of cooler fits inside the window frame and is simple to install. It attaches to the windowsill and the window closes down to its top edge.

Portable units are different because they are designed to roll from one location to another on a set of casters. Most window units offer better performance at a lower cost than portable coolers.

Even installing window coolers in multiple rooms is still less expensive than installing central air.

Before purchasing a window unit, it is important to measure the room. This determines how many BTUs the appliance must provide for adequate cooling. For a room that measure 350 square feet, you will need 8,000 BTUs.

Different models are available with a variety of special features to suit any lifestyle and need.

A model with louvers attached to the front allows users to direct the airflow to a specific area of the room. Models with programmable timers and fans with multiple speed settings are energy efficient to save money on utility costs. Many modern coolers have remote controls providing users a way to make temperature adjustments from any location in the room.

Additional optional features include units equipped with built in dehumidifiers. These keep the interior air dry and often have antibacterial filters to remove harmful bacteria and offensive odors.

Consumers should research the various options, especially if they want to purchase a cooler that will save energy. An easy way to do this is to look for a model that carries an Energy Star logo.

Energy Star ratings are awarded to products that meet the EPA’s standards for energy savings and cost. Having one of these products will control energy costs in the hottest climates around the country.

Friedrich, LG and General Electric are the biggest sellers of air conditioners in the United States. These brands are all available at Sears, Best Buy and other big-box retailers. Those who prefer to shop online can find them at Amazon.

Purchase price will vary according to the manufacturer and how many BTUs the unit produces. Smaller units are available for approximately $180, while a larger model can cost as much as $500.

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