James White on July 20, 2015 21 Comments When looking for a solution to your heating issues, window air conditioners are a sure way to solve the problem. With a multitude of variations and unique designs to seamlessly fit into each of our lives, shopping for window A/C units can be overwhelming and leave you with many questions. Don’t fret—we’ve compiled and answered the most frequently asked questions about window air conditioners to make your shopping experience that much easier. What size window air conditioner do I need? Where should I install my window air conditioner? What are the benefits of a window AC? Can I install the window air conditioner myself? How do I clean and maintain the air conditioner? Can I leave a window air conditioner unit installed during the winter? Will energy star rated models save money? If you have a question about window air conditioners that you don’t see listed here, please leave us a comment below or give us a call at 1-800-297-6076. 1. What size window air conditioner do I need? Before ordering your window air conditioner, it is important to measure the window to ensure that the unit isn’t too big or small, and that it will be a perfect fit for your room. Incorrectly sized units can lead to moisture permeating through the cracks and inefficient cooling throughout the room. This will cause the appliance to operate more than it should, and evidently lead to higher energy bills. The acronym BTU, British Thermal Unit, is used throughout the Home Air Quality market and helps discern each appliances’ ability to cool or heat a particularly sized room. For rooms up to 250 sq. ft., window air conditioning units with 7,000-8,000 BTUs are recommended. However, spaces that range from 300–425 sq. ft. would be better suited with a unit that has approximately 10,000—12,000 BTUs of cooling power. Larger rooms that range from 425 to 525 sq. ft. would require a window air conditioner with approximately 14,000 BTUs of cooling power. The chart below can help give you a better idea of what BTU range you will need based on the room size and the desired temperature you’d want to keep it at. Please view this article for a more detailed explanation of how to select the right-sized air conditioner for the space you live in. 2. Where should I install my window air conditioner? When deciding the perfect location for your window A/C unit, there are several factors that should be taken into account. The ceiling height, number of doors and windows, amount of sunlight, user traffic and the room’s purpose should all be evaluated to ensure that you get the right window air conditioner that fits your needs. According to Energy Star, adjustments for these variables must be taken into account so that you get the most out of your appliance. If the room doesn’t get as much sunlight or is shaded heavily, then the BTU capacity should be reduced by 10 percent. On the other hand, if the room is very sunny, the BTU capacity should be increased by 10 percent. For the amount of traffic, if more than two individuals regularly occupy the room, the capacity should increase an additional 600 BTU per person. For room functionality, 4,000 BTUs should be added for kitchens. If the unit will be located in the corner of the room, it is important that it is properly equipped with the correct features to help direct and cycle air throughout the room. To figure out the square footage of the room that you want the window air cooling unit installed, two simple formulas can be followed to calculate the square footage. If the room is rectangular or square, take the length of the room and multiply it by its width. In the case of a triangular room, the length of the area should be multiplied by its width and then divided by two. 3. What are the benefits of a window air conditioner? Installing the right window air conditioner for your needs can provide a number of benefits which help keep you comfortable and your utility bill low. Getting a unit with the proper BTU capacity for your room will help gradually cycle the air and maintain a cool temperature. If you get a BTU capacity that is much larger than the recommended amount, then the unit will cycle on and off more frequently, which can lead to more user-maintenance and a shorter lifespan. Also, with larger units, air distribution will be sporadic and uneven, while smaller units will cycle air efficiently and for longer periods of time. Window air conditioners with the proper measurements and capacity will be more efficient when it comes to dehumidifying your space. Units must cycle for substantial periods of time in order for moisture to condense and drain from the unit. So, when you install a unit with a larger-than-needed BTU capacity, it will cycle for shorter periods of time and will condense less moisture. Noise is also reduced when a unit with the proper BTU capacity is installed. The unit will have a smaller fan motor and compressor, which will allow the appliance to operate at lower speeds for longer periods of time and reduce loud system startups. 4. Can I install the window air conditioner myself? Yes, window air conditioners have a user-friendly installation which helps you save money and ensure for a quick cooling process. After you’ve chosen the perfect location for your window unit and confirmed that the unit has the correct dimensions, the installation process can be completed in just a brief amount of time. It is important to clear anything that might get in your way during the installation process to allow for easy access to the window. If your window air conditioner comes with install brackets, it is important to refer to your user manual for its proper installation before continuing. Once the install brackets have been set up, the unit is now ready to be placed in your desired location. Refer to your owner’s manual for the specific placement and angulation of the air cooling appliance (required angled placement helps units with condensation drainage). After this step, it’s important to secure the accordion panels to the bottom sash of the window. Be sure to reference your owner’s manual for the proper size and angle of the holes for the accordion panels, if they haven’t been drilled before. Finally, you should be sure to properly insulate the window with foam weather stripping, now that a separation between the two panes of glass exists. This comes with the installation kit but can also be purchased at a local hardware store. Caulking the outside of your window can help prevent any kind of weathering, as well as keep unwanted pests from intruding into your home. Caulking also helps prevent cool air from escaping outside. 5. How do I clean and maintain the air conditioner? Maintaining your window air conditioner is a swift and easy process. Performing regular maintenance on the unit can prolong its life and allow it operate as expected. Before beginning any maintenance, be sure to ALWAYS unplug the appliance to prevent any kind of injury. Cleaning the air filter is very crucial when it comes to staying comfortable in your home. Some window A/C units have reusable filters, while others utilize replaceable filters. Be sure to reference your owner’s manual to figure out which cleaning/replacement process is best for your unit. For reusable filters, start by gently washing it with warm water and a subtle amount of dish soap or white vinegar. Allow the filter to dry completely before placing it back into the air conditioner. It is recommended that reusable filters be cleaned at least once per month, but depending on allergies and household pets, it may be best to clean it more frequently. If the unit uses a replaceable filter, it is typically recommended to be replaced every two months. Overtime residue and other dirt will begin to build up on the unit’s condenser coils. If left untreated, the air conditioner will have to work harder to keep you cool, which not only raises your electricity bill but may also shorten the lifespan of the unit because it is working harder than it should have to. A simple solution for routine maintenance is to vacuum the coils with a brush attachment. For a more detailed clean, the unit should be removed from its casing and set outside. The coils should then be rinsed and an all-natural cleaner should be applied to the coils. Finally, rinse off the cleaner and allow it to air dry before the next use. 6. Can I leave a window air conditioner unit installed during the winter? When deciding if your window A/C unit could withstand the winter weather, it is important to consult the owner’s manual that came with the unit. We recommend that you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the unit will be able to endure the climate. Certain measurements for properly storing the air cooling unit should be taken—whether it’s protecting it with a tarp or a durable plastic cover—it’s important to prevent moisture from getting into the unit. If the window A/C has heating features, it’s important to protect the unit while also being sure not to block the unit’s airflow. 7. Will Energy Star rated models save money? Yes, window units that are Energy Star rated generally reduce energy costs by approximately 30 percent. Obviously, there are many factors that may influence how much energy you save, but yes, an Energy Star rated window unit will help you save money. Developed in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star ratings are used to recognize and promote energy efficient appliances. In order for a product to become Energy Star rated, it must pass strict energy efficiency guidelines.