Author Topic: Air Conditioning - Options?  (Read 3213 times)

NumberCruncher

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Air Conditioning - Options?
« on: June 14, 2013, 09:09:07 AM »
So - while we usually get by well enough without air conditioning, there are some nights where it's still just so hot and humid outside that we find it impossible to get a good night's sleep, even with fans and various other work arounds.

We're moving next month, and there's no current A/C solution in our new place, so we were thinking of buying one window A/C unit for the bedroom. What should I keep in mind when looking for a unit? Is used usually fine? Different energy efficiency measures? Installation concerns or best practices? The prices I'm seeing are so widely variant -- from <$100 to >$500. Hard to know what we really need (well, we don't need A/C at all...just really want it!)

Our new place is still relatively small - maybe slightly over 500 sqft, and the bedroom itself doesn't have much room for more than a queen-sized bed and a dresser, so we're not looking to cool a very large area (and hopefully most nights won't need to use the A/C at all).

*edit: Renting, not owning - I don't think the new landlord would let us do anything permanent.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 12:52:56 PM by NumberCruncher »

maryofdoom

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2013, 09:23:21 AM »
I am in mostly the same boat as you. My house doesn't have central air - well, it has a hookup for it, but it's a long story as to why we don't have it hooked up, and the end result is because I am cheap.

I don't know where you're at, but I'm in southwestern PA, and it's really only about three to four months of the year when it's too darn hot for sleeping without AC. At least, it is for me, after growing up in Colorado where it's hot but dry. The humidity is really what kills me out here.

I have window units in each of the three bedrooms in the upstairs of my house. Before I get taken to task, though, I got one for free from a co-worker and paid $60 apiece for the other two. I haven't had a single problem with any of the units, even though one of them is super, super old. Plus our power bill in the summer is always less, even though I usually run the AC unit all night.

I'm sure that I could optimize these options, but they are what works for me right now.

I would advise you to pick up a used window unit on Craigslist.

jamccain

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2013, 12:18:15 PM »
Mitsuibishi Mr. Slim ductless air conditioning. Check it out as it would probably suit your needs very well based on what you said. Ductless is very popular everywhere except the United States.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 12:33:32 PM »
Mitsuibishi Mr. Slim ductless air conditioning. Check it out as it would probably suit your needs very well based on what you said. Ductless is very popular everywhere except the United States.

We are installing something like that (different brand) in our upstairs shortly. I can't stand the heat anymore, and the windows don't open in a way that would work with a window unit. Ductless are popular in North America where people have boilers instead of forced air furnaces. They are also more expensive then an AC you add on to your furnance.

OP - Size the AC for the room you want to cool. And since it's in the bedroom, I personally would pay extra for a quieter unit.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2013, 12:51:13 PM »
The ductless cooling sounds great and all - but looks like the installation involves going through the wall?  I should have specified in the first post - we're renting. 
:-/ 


It looks like in the bedroom alone, a 5,000 BTU unit should be good enough, and craigslist shows plenty of these up for sale now that are <1 year old and <$100. We'll take our time and look up product reviews to make sure we get a quiet unit. .

Spork

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 01:33:33 PM »


OP - Size the AC for the room you want to cool. And since it's in the bedroom, I personally would pay extra for a quieter unit.

And pay extra for a 240v unit!  (assuming this is the USofA where 120v is common.)  You'll pay more up front.  You might need some electrical work done.  But it will be a better unit to begin with and cheaper to run. 

There are a ton of no-name (or near no-name) brands at the big box stores.  Avoid.  In my experience: they don't last and they cost a bundle to run. 

We're paying a lot less a month for electricity now in 2300sqft of house than we were previously paying for 600sqft of house with 120v window units.  (We do have better insulation and more gas appliances, but ...  we were paying 4x a month of what we are paying now.)

justchristine

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2013, 06:42:42 PM »
Make sure you measure your window correctly.  I almost bought the wrong size because I didn't measure the inner most edges.  I would also try to get the most energy efficient one you can and make sure it has the correct BTU for the room area that you are cooling.  Most charts indicate a 12000BTU unit for a 500 sq ft area. 

One feature on my old unit that I initially thought wa dumb but came to love was the timer.  If it was still hot when I went to sleep but was supposed to cool down later, I'd set the timer to turn off when the cool front was supposed to come through.

Emg03063

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Re: Air Conditioning - Options?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 04:07:31 AM »
If you're somewhere that doesn't have high humidity with your heat, look into swamp coolers.