All you need to know about Window Air Conditioners

Looking to get a windowed air conditioner to keep your house or apartment cool? There are a few things to consider when looking to get a window AC unit. You need to select one that is appropriately sized for the room you’re cooling. Window units are not designed to cool an entire house; rather they are only for cooling one room.

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For a room up to 350 square feet, you need a unit with 5,000 to 8,000 BTUs of cooling. A room up to 550 sq ft needs up to 12,000 BTUs, up to 1050 sq ft needs up to 18,500 BTUs, and up to 1600 sq ft needs up to 25,000 BTUs. In addition, you need to take into account the normal conditions of the room being cooled. Is that part of the house shaded or is it generally much hotter? Do you have the capacity to install a large unit in the room in question?

You also want to look for a unit that is efficient. On the specifications for the AC unit, there should be a listing for EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher this number is, the more efficient the air conditioner is. This means that you will cool more air for less electricity.

When installing the AC, make sure you have someone to help you. Window units are very heavy and can be unwieldy to hold and maneuver. If possible, install the unit on a north facing window; this side is most shaded during the course of the day and it will allow your AC to work more efficiently.

Saving on your Electricity Bill

Choosing an electricity provider that offers cheap electricity is a great way to save on your energy bill, but there are a lot of other ways to save. Using less energy and making your home more efficient will net you huge savings that can benefit you year round. Most of these tips are easy to implement and won’t cost you anything. Some of them require replacing inefficient parts of your home. While these will cost you extra money and time, they will often pay for themselves in energy savings.

 

Refrigerators

Keep your refrigerator set between 37° and 40°F and your freezer between 0° and 5°F to maximize efficiency. Keep the fridge as full as possible, but don’t stuff it. There needs to be some gaps for the cooled air to get around. If you have a lot of empty space in your fridge, fill it with gallon jugs of water. Vacuum the condenser coils every three months to keep them working efficiently. Allow foods to cool before storing them in the fridge, and remove all ingredients at once before cooking, to keep the door from being open too long. If your fridge is more than 12 years old, consider upgrading to an energy efficient Energy Star certified model.

 

Cooking

Use the smallest appliance for the job. Microwaves and crock pots use a lot less electricity than ovens and stove tops. When using the oven, remember to keep the door shut. Every time you open it, you can lose up to 50°F of heat. Avoid using the self cleaning function unless you really need it.

 

Cleaning

Scrape off food bits before washing your plates in a dishwasher. Soak or prewash only if the plates really need it. Wash only full loads of dishes or clothes in their respective washers. The machines use the same amount of energy, whether it’s a full load or quarter load. Use only recommended amounts of cleaning agents. Too much can decrease the efficiency of your machine. Clean lint filters after every wash, and let clothes air dry whenever possible.

 

Water Heaters

Water heaters are set to 140°F by default, but lowering that setting to 120°F can save you up to 10% on your energy bill. Insulate the hot water pipes leading from your water heater. Uninsulated pipes lose their heat pretty fast, meaning you get less hot water in your home and waste energy. Every year, drain a few gallons of water out of the water heater to get rid of sediment buildup. This sediment can keep the water from heating efficiently, making the heater work harder.

 

Lights

Clean the dust out of light fixtures. This is primarily a safety precaution to prevent fires, but clean fixtures can prevent overheating of the bulbs which can cause them to break sooner. Use small desk lamps or lighting fixtures for desks and workbenches. This saves you from needing to light an entire room for a small task. When leaving a room, be sure to shut the lights off. Finally, switching to energy efficient CFLs or LEDs will save energy, and these bulbs last much longer than old incandescent bulbs.

 

Heating and Cooling

Set your thermostat a few degrees above (summer) or below (winter) your preferred temperature to save energy. Each degree can amount to 1-3% of savings. Use a humidifier in the winter when it’s dry. This helps you feel warmer than the temperature setting itself. In the summer, use fans in conjunction with the AC. Fans create a wind chill when you are under them, making you feel cooler.

 

Electronics

Laptops use less electricity than desktops, so use those whenever possible. Don’t leave computers running when not in use. This draws a lot of electricity and can also wear out the computer faster. Put them into a sleep mode or turn them off if you won’t be using them for a while. Unplug the electronics in entertainment centers as even though they are off, they still draw electricity. Plugging all of the electronics into a power strip can save you a lot of hassle, as you can just unplug the power strip to shut everything off completely.

 

All in all, just be conscious of the energy you use daily. Take steps to reduce the amount of energy wasted and you will see your savings increase. If you are looking to replace any appliances or electronics, consider purchasing Energy Star certified products, as they are 20-30% more efficient than their counterparts. Remember that in addition to these tips, you have the power to choose your Houston electricity provider. Shop Houston Energy can help you find a provider that offers cheap electricity, giving you even more ways to save.