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Top 10 Air Conditioner Buying Tips

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If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner you not only want to get the best deal but you want to get a unit that will meet your cooling needs. Here are ten tips to help you find the air conditioner that’s right for you.

  1. Shop during the off season. Air conditioners tend to be more expensive during the peak cooling season and may even be difficult to find at any price. So shop around during the fall and winter before you need one.
  2. Air conditioners are available as window, portable, through the wall and whole house units. You need to determine what type you need. If you have an apartment you’ll probably want a window or portable unit while as a homeowner it may depend on whether you want to cool a single room or the entire house.
  3. If you’re in the market for a window, portable or through the wall unit, look for one with an Energy Star rating that can use at least 10 % less energy than non-rated models. The unit should also have an adjustable thermostat, multiple speeds, directional vents, all things that will help you to stay cool while cutting your energy costs.
  4. Check the BTUs (British Thermal Units) or cooling capacity of any air conditioner before buying. An air conditioner will have a BTU rating from 5,000 for a single room unit up to 28,000 BTUs for multiple rooms. The higher the BTUs, the more cooling power the unit has.
  5. If you’re hiring a contractor to install a central air conditioning unit, you’ll need to take the time to locate the right contractor for the job. Don’t just accept a quote over the phone. The contractor needs to come out and assess your particular home. He should measure the space, check the amount of insulation, the number of windows and a myriad of other things that is not possible to do in a phone conversation.
  6. Don’t buy more air conditioner than you need. Bigger is not necessarily better in this case. You’ll not only pay more for the unit but it will also cost more to run. It will cool the room too fast, leaving excess humidity in the air and creating an uncomfortable environment.
  7. If you live in an apartment or house that doesn’t have double hung windows to hold an air conditioner and you’re not about to cut a hole in the wall, consider a portable unit. A portable AC unit sits on the floor, usually on wheels and can be moved from room to room. The condensation is collected in the unit, sent outside through a tube or recirculated back into the air.
  8. You’ll find that many newer air conditioners come equipped with electrostatic filters. This type of filter works like a magnet to capture small particles of dust, dander and pollen and is a great option if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies.
  9. If you’re considering a through the wall AC unit, keep in mind that it involves more than just cutting a hole in the wall. You will need a sleeve that fits in the hole to support the unit. Since a wall unit involves cutting a large hole in your home, this is a job best left to a professional.
  10. Installing a central air conditioner is a great option if you need to cool several rooms. Central AC will give you whole house comfort but it will also cost more especially in terms of the initial cost. In existing homes new ductwork will need to be added throughout unless there are existing heating ducts that can be used.
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