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 Room Air Conditioner
 

Room air conditioners (also called window air conditioners) differ from central air conditioners in that they are not meant to cool an entire home. Rather, they are intended to cool a small area in the summer, generally 1 or 2 rooms. However, the principles are similar to a central air conditioning unit. A compressor sends refrigerant through coils and as air passes over them it cools the air, with any moisture from the process being drained outside.

A room air conditioning unit is more appropriate for smaller homes, homes in a fairly temperate climate, or even those that are only exposed to sunlight on a portion of the home. The benefit of a room air conditioning unit over a central air conditioning unit is that they are more economical and use less energy in total, although these benefits are lost if you require multiple units.

Typically room air conditioners sit in a window and exhaust the warm air outside. Once cooler weather arrives, the unit can be removed and stored. However, some models are meant for permanent installation.

Room air conditioner units come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the size of your window as well as the size of the room you want to cool. The cooling capacity of room air conditioners are measured in British Thermal Units per hour (BTU/hour). What size air conditioner you require for a room depends mostly on the room size, as well as a few other variables. Below is a chart listing the size of room air conditioner required to cool a specific-sized area. To get the floor area of a particular room, multiple the length by the width in either meters or feet.

TOTAL FLOOR AREA

BASIC COOLING CAPACITY

M 2

SQ. FT.

BTU/H*

9-14

100-150

5000

14-23

150-250

6000

23-28

250-300

6500

28-33

300-350

7250

33-38

350-400

8000

38-41

400-450

8750

41-46

450-500

9650

46-51

500-550

10 500

51-65

550-700

12 500

65-93

700-1000

15 000

93-111

1000-1200

17 000

111-149

1200-1600

19 000-27 000

149-167

1600-1800

24 000-27 000

167-260

1800-2800

27 000-33 000

In addition to the area of a room, there are a few other factors to consider.

  • eavily shaded rooms require less cooling capacity. When placing a room air conditioner in heavily shaded room, the required BTU capacity can be reduced by 10%.
  • Rooms heavily exposed to sunlight require more heating capacity. When placing a room air conditioner in a room with heavy exposure to sunlight, the required BTU capacity should be increased by 10%
  • In household where more than 2 people regularly occupy the room the air conditioner is in, increase the BTU capacity by 600 BTUs for each person. When placing a room air conditioner in a kitchen, increase the BTU capacity by 4,000 BTUs.

The newest room air conditioners use high efficiency compressors, fan motors and heat transfer surfaces to transfer more heat from the air to the coils, saving energy otherwise required to compress the refrigerant. Additionally, some new models feature a compressor cycling feature that turns the compressor on and off rather than running it continuously. When purchasing a room air conditioner, you should also look for models that feature speed controls for the fan, digital thermostats for more precise temperature control and programming functionalities for when you want it to turn on and off.

ENERGY STAR room air conditioners reduce energy consumption a further 10-15% over standard models. Each size and type of room air conditioner has their own requirements to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. They are listed in the chart below.

Style

Btu/hr.

EER
(Window-Mounted)

EER
(Through-the-Wall)

Standard

< 6 000

10.7

9.9

6 000 to 7 999

10.7

9.9

8 000 to 13 999

10.8

9.4

14 000 to 19 999

10.7

9.4

>= 20 000

9.4

9.4

For more ways to save on energy and operating costs, please see our tips sections below.

 
  
 
 
 Room Air Conditioner Tips
 
Make use of a programmable thermostat
Energy
Purchasing a programmable heater will allow you to automatically adjust the temperature while you are at work, when you are sleeping and while you are on vacation. Adjusting the thermostat by just 2 degrees can save a ton of CO2 each year.
Use ceiling fans to conserve energy
Energy
Use ceiling fans to circulate air and keep cool in the summer. Reverse the fan in the winter to push warm air down and conserve heat.
Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
Energy
When buying new, look for ENERGY STAR products to ensure optimal energy savings.
 
  
 
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