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Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Air Conditioner for Your Home or Office

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 11/18/2008

Of the various types of air conditioners, the best ones for your home or office are window and split air conditioners. The window air conditioners are fitted in the wall, while the split air conditioner has two parts, one inside the room and the other outside.

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    The purpose of an air conditioner is to maintain comfort temperature, relative humidity, and flow of air inside the room. Many times we get confused about which air conditioner will be best for our use. Here are a few important points you should consider before buying a new AC for your home or small office:

    1) Type of AC: There are four main types of air conditioners: Window AC, Split AC, Packaged AC and Central AC. Of these, the ones that are most commonly used for homes and small offices are window and split ACs. For the window AC you will need to make slot in your wall and there should be an open space behind the wall. If you don’t have such a space or don’t want to carry out the breakages in the wall, then a split unit is more suitable. The split AC looks beautiful and it adds to the aesthetics of your room.

    2) Noise of the AC: Air conditioners should be quiet when run to ensure sound sleep during the night; if the AC makes noise the very purpose of purchasing the AC is not served. If you are purchasing the window unit make sure that it has a solid and strong body to minimize the rattling sound from the fan. There is also the noise from compressor. In case of the split units the noisy part of the air conditioner, comprising of the compressor and fan are placed outside the room. The indoor unit comprising of the blower is quiet. Overall, the split ACs makes less noise inside the room than the window ACs. However, the cooling efficiency of the window ACs is slightly more than the split ACs. This is because there are more cooling losses in case of the split AC.

    3) Power consumption: Power is an important factor to consider while purchasing an AC. If your AC is an old type it will consume lots of electricity bringing highly unexpected bills at the end of the month. EnergyStar.gov, a service of the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, rates the small air conditioners for energy efficiency, which helps the consumers choosing the proper AC unit. The rating of the air-conditioners is based on the parameter called Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). EER is the ratio cooling capacity of the AC in BTU and the electrical power that the unit consumes in watts. The units that have EER 10% higher than the conventional models are given Energy Star compliant rating. This rating assures us that they will consume less power than the other ACs. As per the estimates of department of energy, if one were to replace a 10 year old AC with an Energy Star new AC, there will be yearly saving of about $25 in electrical bills.

    If you consider these important factors before purchasing the new AC, you can be assured of the comfort you're looking for. If have to install AC for the whole building or big office, its advisable to consult an HVAC designer or engineer.

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