Buying Guide to Window Air Conditioners

If you don’t have central air conditioning, you will most likely need to rely on a window air conditioner for your summer cooling needs. The average price for most models has become very reasonable over the past few years, but many of these models may not be what you are looking for. Let’s take a quick look at what you need to know about a window air conditioner before making your purchase.

Your Windows

A window air conditioner is typically meant for use for double-hung windows. In the event that you have a different type of window in your home, you will need to look for specific models that can be safely installed. Your other options will include portable models that are not actually installed in your windows. If you cannot find a window air conditioner that can be used with your existing windows, you may need to have a contractor or a friend come up and cut a hole in your wall for your air conditioner. Keep in mind that you will need to purchase a cover for this permanent unit to keep cold air out during winter.

If you have windows that do not have a wooden frame you may end up having to drill holes to securely attach your window air conditioner. Most window air conditioners will require at least some drilling for proper installation. This will ensure that your air conditioner does not fall out of the window, preventing damage to the unit and possibly injury to someone below.


All window air conditioners are rated using BTU’s. This will give you a guide at how effectively they can cool a certain amount of space. You will need to know the square footage of your rooms before you can select the right window air conditioner. A good rule of thumb to follow is: 6000 BTUs will cool approximately 200 square feet. If your room is smaller than this, you should select either a 6000 BTU model or one that is a little bit smaller. If you are working with a very large room, you will need at least 8000 BTUs or more to effectively cool the space. Err on the side of caution and purchase a window air conditioner that can cool a space larger than your existing room. One downside to air conditioners that have more BTU’s is that they are usually much larger than their weaker counterparts. If you are working with a room that has a small window and a lot of space, you may want to consider a permanent installation.


Window air conditioners now have several new features that make them even more effective. For example, many units now come with remote controls so that you can easily change the temperature settings or increase the speed. This is a great option for a window air conditioner that will be used in a bedroom. Other features include timed on and off, which can help you cut your cooling bill significantly.

The type of filter that your window air conditioner will use is also important. Most come with a simple filter that you should remove and wash at least once a week. However, newer models now offer HEPA filters which are a great feature for allergy sufferers. Never run your window air conditioner without this filter, as you may void the warranty and cause serious damage to the unit.

Energy Efficiency

Newer window air conditioners are much more energy efficient than older models and can greatly reduce your cooling costs. It is never cheap to run a window air conditioner, but you can save money by purchasing an energy efficient unit and only running it during peak hours when the heat is truly unbearable.

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