Want more power and lower hydro bills from your AC? Here are some tips on how to stay cool when buying an air conditioner to keep you cool.
If you’re looking for the right air conditioner for your room, it probably means you moved into a place that doesn’t have central air, or you live in a climate that has become hotter because of global warming.Either way, the weather’s nice!
Here are a few tips on how to choose the right air conditioner for your home to maximize its power while minimizing your electricity bill.
1. The size of the room
First, you need to know the square footage of the room you’re trying to cool. Does everyone remember high school math? No? Okay, here’s the formula:
- Determine the width and length of the room. Then multiply the length by the width. Voila! Square footage!
What’s that? Your room is not a perfect square or rectangle? Then enjoy this mind-exploding calculation:
- Break the weirdly shaped part of the room up into triangles. Then find the square footage of the triangles by multiplying 0.5 x length x width. Add that amount to any square sections to determine the total square footage of the room.
2. Size of the air conditioner
Let’s assume that you want a portable unit that you can remove and store, and not a central air unit that requires professional installation.
All air conditioners have a cooling number called BTUs (British Thermal Units per hour), which is the measurement for the heating and cooling capacity of appliances.
Ordinarily, an air conditioner needs 20 BTUs for each square foot in the room.Here’s a rough guide to the BTUs needed based on your room’s square footage:
- 100–300 sq. ft.: 5,000–7,000 BTUs
- 300–550 sq. ft.: 8,000–12,000 BTUs
- 550–1,000 sq. ft.: 4,000–18,000 BTUs
- 1,000–1,200 sq. ft.: 21,000–24,000 BTUs
- 1,500–2,000 sq. ft.: 30,000 BTUs
However, there are a few other factors to consider when choosing the right size air conditioning unit:
- If the room gets a lot of shade, reduce the BTU capacity by 10 per cent.
- If the room gets a lot of sun, increase the BTU capacity by 10 per cent.
- If the room usually has two people in it (such as a bedroom or living room), add 600 BTUs for each person.
- If the unit is in the kitchen, add 4,000 BTUs.
3. The right unit
There are two main kinds of portable air conditioners:
- Window-mounted air conditioners. These can be easily installed without a professional, but are heavy and cumbersome so make sure you have help. They come with a kit that will fit in different window widths. Check to see which direction your windows open and make sure the kit works for that style. Follow the instructions carefully.
- Freestanding portable units. These units are usually on castors and can be easily moved. But double-check what the drainage options are. If the unit has a reservoir that shuts off the unit when full, it will need to be drained regularly. If it has external hoses, it will need a window with adequate drainage options.