Air Conditioner Buying Guide
Air Conditioners 101
Types of Air Conditioners
Portable Air Conditioners
Window Air Conditioners
Air Conditioner Buying Tips:
• Portable or window-mounted units are best for single rooms or apartments
• Look for convenient features such as digital controls and programmable settings
• Energy Star qualified appliances are more efficient and save money
Air Conditioner Features
Air Conditioner Filter +
The filter traps dirt, dust and allergens and extends the life of your air conditioner. The finer the filter, the smaller the particles captured. This results in cleaner, healthier air in your home. Many portable and window air conditioners have disposable filters that you can replace every season. Central air conditioners rely on the furnace filter, which should be replaced several times a year depending on your interior (pets, etc.) and exterior (excessive dust) environments.
Control Panel +
Portable air conditioners have on-board control panels, with multiple settings to manage auto on/off, fan speed, noise level and energy usage. Some models are operated by handheld remote controls, while others can be synched up to your smartphone or tablet. Higher-end portable air conditioners typically provide more sophisticated options than basic versions. Digital LED temperature displays and backlit control pads are fairly standard and easy to read in low light.
Energy Efficiency +
An air conditioner with an Energy Star rating will be kinder to your household budget and to the environment. Such models often use eco-friendly refrigerants that help to reduce harmful emissions. Many also use less power than non-rated units. A 24-hour timer offers more savings by allowing you to program your air conditioner to turn on or off according to your schedule, and cycle down automatically when the temperature drops.
Front Panel +
Some room layouts prevent you from positioning an air conditioner in the optimal location. Look for adjustable grills or louvers on the front panel that allow you to direct airflow to the right spot, usually the middle of the room. Some manufacturers are designing front panels to be more streamlined and less obtrusive. You may be able to find a room air conditioner with a discretely coloured or customizable front panel that blends in more nicely with your home decor.
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Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips:
- Remove and store window-mount units or cover them during winter
- Clean or replace your air conditioner filter regularly according to the manufacturer's specifications
- Clean drain ports to prevent clogging and avoid water leaks
- Always disconnect power before performing maintenance