All You Need to Know about Air Conditioning

All You Need to Know about Air Conditioning

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Published by TOP4 Team

Installing an air conditioner in your living room, bedroom or home office can help you keep cool when the temperatures start to rise. Whether you choose a window, portable or built-in wall unit, an air conditioner can help keep your home comfortable through the warm summer months.

An air conditioners with good quality must do these three things to properly cool an area:

  • Lower air temperature

  • Remove air moisture

  • Filter the air The air conditioner must be the right size to perform all of these functions and successfully make the room cool and comfortable.

Selecting Your Air Conditioner

Size does matter when choosing an air conditioner. It's very important to get a unit with the cooling capacity to handle the room where it will be installed. A unit that is too small may not be able to cool a space efficiently, while an oversized air conditioner in too small a space will cycle on and off, wasting energy and decreasing the unit's ability to adequately dehumidify the room.

While there are many different types and sizes to choose from, not all air conditioners are created equal. As you shop for your new air conditioner consider the following:

  • Where and how the air conditioner will be installed or used?

  • How large is the room where you plan to install your new unit?

  • What special feature options are most beneficial to you?

  • Will you be installing your new air conditioner by yourself or will you have help?

Window Units

Window units are by far the most popular. Models can be installed in most single or double-hung windows and typically come with accordion panels that allow for a secure fit. Some models can fit in sliding windows. They do require a support of some kind, such as a wooden plank or a specially designed shelf that can be attached to the exterior of your home for the dedicated reinforcement.

Installing a window unit is an easy DIY project. Make sure you measure the inside window dimensions before you shop.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Easy to install

  • Easy to remove and store

  • Affordable

  • Heating and cooling units available

  • Blocks window where installed

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners or freestanding units can be used to cool a specific area in a home such as a bedroom. They don't require any permanent installation and instead have a standard window venting kit for the exhaust hose. Many portable units are mounted on casters so you can move them freely from room to room. They come with a large, flexible hose that is attached to a window for exhausting hot air, much like a clothes dryer is vented. Most portable units have reservoirs that need to be periodically emptied, although some also come with optional hookups for a drainage hose. Some new models evaporate much of the moisture and exhaust it, greatly reducing the frequency of need to empty a container. Portable air conditioners can also be used to support any central HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning) systems.

When choosing the right portable air conditioner be sure to measure the room size (length x width), match the room size with the BTU and check electrical requirements.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Easy to set up or relocate

  • Can use in multiple rooms

  • Heavy

  • Less efficient

Built-In Air Conditioners

Built-in air conditioners can be installed in your wall for permanent placement and operation. These units often provide both cold and hot air operation for more versatile use. They are a great solution for rooms or additions to your house that may not be connected to the central heating and air conditioning system. Wall units require opening a hole in an exterior wall. They don’t take up window space, and they allow for a more airtight and secure fit. Many window models can be installed through the wall, just add a frame to support the unit. Smaller units can be installed by handy do-it-yourselfers. Larger wall units may require professional installation.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Permanent

  • Models with heat function available

  • Location flexibility

  • Option to use wireless thermostat

  • More expensive

  • More involved installation

  • Additional parts may be required

Installation and Maintenance

All room air conditioners function pretty much the same, although energy savings and cooling capacity can vary by brand and model. Like central air conditioners, room air conditioners cool and dehumidify the room air by extracting heat and moisture, and then return the air to the room.

When it comes to maintaining your unit be sure to:

  • Clean filters on the regular basis to ensure optimum performance

  • Install foam weather stripping around window units to keep cool air inside

  • Remove and store away window units during winter months

  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for proper removal and storage


Air conditioners can be heavy and awkward to handle. Make sure you have assistance when handling heavy units to avoid any injuries. Also use caution when installing them on the upper levels of your home. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe and proper installation.

Electrical Requirements

Be aware of the room's electrical requirements before selecting your air conditioner. There are three electrical requirements to consider before making a purchase.

  1. Is the outlet within reach of the line cord?

  2. Voltage requirements

  3. Amperage available

UL requires that the only 115-volt model using more than 7.5 amps be connected to a standard single outlet. 208/230-volt models require one of three branch circuit power supplies.


#Air Conditioning
#Air Conditioning Tips
#Electrical Requirement
#Air Conditioner Installation and Maintenance
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