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Buying Air Conditioners: A Guide

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When you're shopping for an air conditioner , the worst thing you can do is look at the price tag first. You may get a cheaper air conditioner, but you're likely to be disappointed. Over time, that "great deal" will end up costing you more in energy costs than a more appropriate air conditioner for the space you need to cool would. Here's our guide to buying the right air conditioner for your home.

Buying Air Conditioners: What to Look for First

Before you look at the price tag, look at the size of the air conditioner as measured in kilowatts (kW). This will tell you how large an area the air conditioner is designed to cool. As a rough guide:

If you need an air conditioner for a bedroom, it may not need to be as powerful as an air conditioner for a living room. As a rule, 80 watts per square meter will be enough for most bedrooms, while 125 watts per square meter is needed for living rooms.

The size of your air conditioner is important because if you buy an air conditioner that is too small for a room, it won't be able to cool the room to the desired temperature or will have to run constantly to keep the room cool. If you buy an air conditioner that is too large, it will turn on and off more frequently and waste energy.

Types of Air Conditioners

What type of air conditioner do you need? A portable air conditioner may be best if you're renting or just need to cool a small area, but you'll need something more substantial for your home. Your options include:

Split systems have the cooling unit located outside of the home. These are designed for cooling one room. Reverse cycle air conditioners can provide you with heating and cooling. An inverter system speeds up and slows down as needed. If you run your air conditioner for hours at a time, an inverter system can be a more energy efficient option and will keep the room at a constant temperature. An evaporative cooler is less expensive, but will increase the humidity in a room. If you live in a hot, dry climate, an evaporative cooler might be a good choice. A ducted air conditioner will cool every room in the house.

Ducted air conditioners are the most expensive. If you want to cool more than one room, but don't want the expense of a ducted system, you can also choose a multi-split system that can direct air to two or more rooms.

Choosing Air Conditioners

Choosing the right size and type of air conditioner for your home is essential. After you've narrowed down the field, there are some other things to consider:

Energy efficiency labels tell you how efficient the air conditioner is. A more energy efficient air conditioner will cost less to run. Some air conditioners come with motion sensors. A motion sensor will turn on the air conditioner when it detects your presence in the room and will turn it off when no motion is detected over a period of time. Some models will even direct cool air towards the source of the motion. Smart air conditioners can be controlled from your smartphone or other WiFi enabled device. A remote control unit will make using your air conditioner easier. A dehumidifier is a useful feature, especially in humid climates. Sleep mode gradually adjusts the temperature when you're sleeping. The air conditioner will use less energy and runner more quietly while you sleep.

Take the time to choose your air conditioner carefully and you will be happier with your purchase. Over time, any extra costs will be forgotten and your summer energy bills will be lower.

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