When it comes to the relief they offer in hot weather, air conditioners hold a special place in the hearts of most homeowners. Unfortunately, many people end up paying much more than they should for AC installation--simply because they haven't selected the best air conditioner for their situation. If you have plans to purchase a new air conditioner for one of the rooms in your house, read on. This article will present two important considerations to help guide you.
Choosing the right sized unit
It should be fairly clear that if an air conditioner isn't powerful enough, it won't be able to cool the room well. Yet have you ever stopped to consider than an over-sized unit can cause problems as well? Those who buy excessively large air conditioners often end up with moist, clammy rooms. That's because, in cooling the space so quickly, that super-sized AC doesn't have time to perform its other, equally important function: dehumidifying the room.
An air conditioner's cooling ability is expressed in British thermal units, commonly referred to as BTUs. The basic principle of the ranking system is simple: the larger your room, the more BTUs you will need to cool it. But selecting the right sized unit doesn't stop there. You must take into consideration additional factors, including: insulation thickness, amount of exposure to direct sunlight, and the heat given off naturally by certain appliances.
Don't be discouraged if that seems like a lot. Thankfully, you don't have to be an HVAC contractor to figure out how to best cool your room. Just plug some data about your room into an online AC calculator. This will crunch the numbers and give you a good idea about roughly how many BTUs you ultimately need.
Dialing in the right control features
Though all air conditioners perform the same basic task, there's a lot of variation in terms of what control features are made available to you. Not only can having access to the right functions make you more comfortable, but it can also help to increase the efficiency of your air conditioner. Here are a few features to keep a look out for.
Adjustable fan speed
Even with premium units, an air conditioner fan at full blast can be a noisy affair. Thus, it is nice to be able to switch to a lower--and hence quieter--fan setting, once your room has reached a desirable temperature.
Don't trust your temperature to a unit with a manual thermostat--they're notoriously inaccurate, and make micro-adjustments virtually impossible. Instead find a unit with a digital thermostat. This will allow you to set the temperature down to the exact degree.
An exciting new development in air conditioner technology involves the ability to control your AC using a smartphone. While this may strike some as just another gimmick, consider how helpful it would be if you forget to turn off your AC before leaving for work. Likewise, it allows you to turn on your air conditioner in advance, thus ensuring a nice cool room once you return home.