For people living in hot and humid parts of the world, the air conditioner is probably the greatest invention of all time, providing relief from the scorching, blistering heat, especially during the summer.
But buying an air conditioner is not as simple as visiting a brick and mortar store, or clicking on your selection online and heading to the checkout section of a reputable online seller of appliances.
There are a few critical factors that you need to take into account before choosing which air conditioning model to purchase.
Here’s a brief look at each of these factors.
When it comes to air conditioners, bigger is not necessarily better, and a small air conditioner does not always translate to lower electrical consumption. In the same vein, a larger air conditioning unit won’t help keep costs down over the long term.
While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest or largest model, depending on your personal circumstances and needs, the most important thing you need to do before buying an air conditioner is to measure the area where it will be used.
Start by multiplying the length of the room by its width. After that, multiply that number to 25 BTU. The final figure you arrive at will be the cooling capacity required for that area in your home.
However, there are instances wherein you will need to make allowances. First, consider how much sunlight that area gets. If there is ample shade, you can shave off 10 percent from the cooling capacity. Conversely, if the area is located in a sunny part of your home, you will need an additional 10 percent.
Furthermore, you will need to add an extra 600 BTU for every person who is going to occupy that area in your home. The only exception to this rule is the kitchen, where you need to add an extra 4,000 BTU.
Bigger is not better
If you think that you can do away with the computations by merely buying the biggest air conditioner that you can afford, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Bigger air conditioners are not always better. If it is too big, it will not run efficiently. Apart from cooling the air, an air conditioner also reduces moisture in an environment by taking away moisture. It is humidity that leaves you feeling hot.
If the air conditioner is too big for the room, it will cycle frequently. It may still cool the room but leave it humid as well.
Conversely, you might think that you are saving a small fortune by buying a small unit. However, if the air conditioner is too small, it has to work doubly hard to get the effect that you want. That translates to higher running costs, effectively canceling your initial savings.
Air conditioner types
Air conditioners for residential use can be broadly categorized into three types: window air conditioners, portable air conditioners, and split ductless air conditioners.
Window air conditioners come in small, medium, and large sizes. Among the three, small air conditioners are the cheapest and lightest. The higher you go up in size, the costs start rising, and the degree of difficulty in installation goes up.
Portable air conditioners are ideal for residences where it is not possible to change the window configurations, or there are building regulations that prevent the use of window air conditioners.
Take note that these air conditioners aren’t as efficient as window air conditioners and can be quite heavy despite their name.
Split ductless air conditioners can cool multiple walls at the same time while forgoing the need for additional ductwork and the opening of walls.
Although the upfront cost is significantly higher compared to the other two types of air conditioners, split ductless air conditioners are efficient in cooling a few rooms at the same time.
Other important things to consider
Units with high Energy Star ratings use better materials that translate to efficient performance.
Quite simply, some models generate a high level of noise during their operation. Take this into account when you are planning to install a unit in your bedroom.
Buying the right type of air conditioner is just one part of the larger equation. In order to get the most out of your purchase, it needs to be installed properly. This may mean a few modifications in the room where the unit will be used.
If you want to obtain more savings on electricity, consider getting a model with intelligent cooling, which allows you to get a higher degree of control through the use of your smartphone.
Manufacturers have different warranty periods. Check out the website of each manufacturer on your shortlist as well as the seller’s for additional information.
Make your investment count
There’s more to buying an air conditioner than going to the store, virtually or in person. Consider these steps before making a purchase so you can find the right model that suits your needs.