Help & advice: air conditioning units buying guide

An air conditioner is essentially a small version of a fridge without the insulated box. A fridge cools the space inside it; an air conditioner cools the space inside a room or the whole house. If you are looking to buy an air conditioner to take the sweat out of summer and make your home nice and cool, you need to know what to look out for in an air conditioner. Here are some helpful tips and advice to buy the right air conditioning units and get value for your money.

When should you buy air conditioners?

You should not wait until it gets hot to go shopping for air conditioning units. Air conditioners sell out fast when its gets hot. Retailers know this and often overcharge during days when they know people need them the most, such as in the middle of a summer heat wave.

Shop around for your air conditioning unit early on. This will ensure you actually get a decent unit and don’t get stuck with an inadequate, overpriced unit because decent ones sold out. Besides, you wouldn’t want to spend all summer shopping around only to get a decent unit when temperature have come down, would you?

Which type? Single unit or split unit air conditioner?

The two main types of air conditioning units are: single unit conditioner and split unit conditioner. The single unit conditioner, also known as mono unit conditioner, vents hot air out through a hose. It is easy to install, but not as effective as a split unit. Single units can get too hot and leak heat back into the house. You either install the unit through a drill hole in your outside wall or through an open window.

Slit unit conditioners are generally more expensive than single units, but more efficient and quieter. They don’t leak heat back in to a room in any way, but require some technical skill to install. Slit units must be mounted on the outside of a wall. If bashing holes on the outside wall of your home yourself doesn’t sound like a good idea, you may need to get an expert to mount the slit unit for you.

What size?

Air conditioning units come in various shapes and sizes. In the UK, the units are commonly calibrated in terms of BTU (British thermal unit). Theoretically, the higher the BTU of an air conditioning unit, the more efficient the unit is for cooling a room. Determine the room temperature you would like to maintain in your room and buy an air conditioner with a cooling capacity that matches your needs.

Remember, an overpowered unit will make a room feel clammy while an underpowered unit will have to run constantly and not provide enough cooling. So, get the right sized unit.

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