If you find yourself living in a house or apartment without central air conditioning, it’s time to go shopping for a window unit. Here’s what to look for and how to properly maintain it.
It’s a matter of BTUs. Shopping for a window air conditioner isn’t complicated. The main thing to look for is the right number of BTUs or British Thermal Units. For example, a 400-square-foot space needs a unit capable of generating 10,000 BTUs. Add another 2,000 BTUs with each additional 100 square feet. If the space is not only bigger, but separated by walls, consider a second unit.
Easy installation and maintenance. Putting a unit in place is relatively easy but may require two people because the units are bulky and heavy. Check YouTube for specific installation instructions. Maintenance is simple. Once a week turn the unit off and pull out the side filter. Clean, dry and replace.
But it blocks the window! Unfortunately, using a window unit mean you’ll lose a big portion of your window as a source of light. To mitigate this, replace the accordion covers on either side with clear Plexiglas attached with Command strips. Take advantage of the light coming through the top portion of the window by keeping it free of window treatments.
Go portable. Consider a cooling unit that sits on the floor inside the home. These machines, which measure about three feet tall, have two hoses about four inches in diameter that run out the window. A plastic shield slips into the window track.
Costs. A 10,000 BTU window air conditioner costs about $400. Some models can be controlled by an app on your smartphone. A portable air conditioner is similarly priced at $400 for 10,000 BTUs.