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Window Air Conditioner Tips

Heating and HVAC
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A window air conditioner is not a replacement for a central air conditioning system. Trying to use multiple window air conditioners to cool an entire house can be a very costly mistake. A central air conditioning system is meant to cool your entire home in most cases, or at least a large portion of it. Their hardware, filters and ductwork are meant for the larger jobs. Individual window units are not.

Start by making sure all windows in the area you want to cool are closed and properly sealed. Then close any doors you can to isolate the target area from the rest of the house. This will help to prevent the cool air from leaking through windows and doorways to other rooms or the exterior of the house. If you find that air leaks between the bottom of a door and the floor, you can find inexpensive cloth stoppers that can be placed at the bottom of the door to prevent air from getting through. Or, for a quick fix, you can try a bath towel.

While a good individual window air conditioner may be able to handle more than one room, don't overdo it. Follow the specifications provided by the manufacturer about the size of room the unit is built to handle. This may mean having more than one room with an individual air conditioning unit. However, the trade-off is having one unit try to do the job of two or more, and not only fail but increase energy consumption and your monthly bills. It's important to use the right appliance for the job.

You should also be aware of things that might add heat to a room and make the air conditioner's job more difficult. For example, if you run a washer, dryer, dishwasher or oven, these things generate heat that circulates through the room. They will make it harder for the air conditioner to reach a comfortable temperature. If you have any of these appliances in rooms that you want to cool down, avoid using them while the air conditioner is running. Otherwise you will be adding obstacles for the air conditioner to overcome and generating heat in a room you are trying to cool down.

The most commonly overlooked thing that can affect performance are the windows. You need more than just properly sealed windows. Sunlight that comes into your house also generates heat so you should have shades, blinds, or some type of screen for each window to stop excessive sunlight from coming into your house as your air conditioner is trying to cool it. This will allow you to set the thermostat a few degrees higher and help save on cooling costs.

During cooler months, when you will not be using your window air conditioner, place a cover over the portion that extends outside the window. This will stop moisture and debris from clogging or damaging the unit from the outside, hindering its performance later. And of course, regular air conditioner maintenance will improve performance, save energy and prolong the unit's life.

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