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Keep it cool with a window air conditioner

What is a window air conditioner and how does it work?

A window air conditioner installs into a standard-sized window opening and exhausts hot air outside while bringing in cold air to cool a room. They usually come with accordion panels to securely fit inside a single or double hung window. Position it to direct air to the centre of the room.

They are typically white and are available in various size options, from those that are less than 40cm wide to those that are 60cm and larger to fit bigger window openings. They also come with different BTUs (British Thermal Units), the measurement of how much hot air they can remove in relation to the size of the room. This can range from under 7,000 BTUs to upwards of 14,000.

When are window air conditioners the best option?

Window air conditioners are ideal for small rooms or apartments since they employ an unobtrusive and discreet design that doesn't use up floor space. If you live where it tends to be warm for most of the year, window ACs are a good option because you can install them once and leave them there year 'round. They aren’t the easiest option to remove and store away for the winter.

They are one of the most cost-effective solutions for air conditioning in the home and are also very energy efficient. If you don't want to worry about drainage, they are worth considering since they simply expel hot air outside, requiring little to no maintenance (but for changing/washing the filter). They also tend to run quieter than other types of air conditioning. Browse a selection of air conditioners from top brands, including Insignia and Danby, for the best option for you. 

What features should you look for in a window air conditioner?

The first thing to make sure of when choosing air conditioners for windows is that the size will fit your window opening. While there are standard sizes, measure to be sure. Second are BTUs: to cool a 150-300 square foot room, you'll need at least 5,000 BTUs, and to cool a room that's 500 square feet and larger will require 12,000 BTUs or more.

Look for logical and intuitive controls for operation and a slide out filter that is easy to clean. Some have washable HEPA filters. Window AC units that are Energy Star-rated will operate most efficiently. Check the dB level as well, which will tell you how loud it is when running, from under 45dB to above 55dB, which is about as noisy as a conversation.

Other neat features that can come in handy include digital temperature readouts, a built-in timer and/or sleep mode so it will turn off at night to avoid over-cooling, a remote control, WiFi connectivity, and adjustable fan speeds. As noted above, the window AC unit should be positioned to direct air to the centre of a room. So, if your window is in an odd position, make sure the window AC can be adjusted to blow air in the desired direction.

Want More Info? Check Out These Resources:

Air Conditioning 101

How to Properly Size Your Air Conditioner

Why we need Air Conditioning – not just for Comfort!

Portable vs. Window Based AC Unit: Which One Should You Choose?