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A Guide to Small-Room ACs

Today’s small-room ACs are design marvels that do a great job of cooling confined spaces. When compared to a central AC unit, room ACs are a more affordable option. They’re practical for those who rent homes, or for those who can’t afford to install a whole-house system. In this guide, buyers can learn what to look for in a room air conditioner.

The Benefits of Single-Room Air Conditioners

Roughly 25% of American homes have single-room units, and they’re steadily becoming more common due to these factors:

  • Affordability – The smallest window units cost about $100, and larger, high-capacity units cost up to $700. While that may seem expensive, it’s still cheaper than a central HVAC unit.
  • Efficiency – Most units have digital controls, as opposed to the rudimentary low and high settings found on earlier models. Choose a unit with an energy-saving setting to further reduce utility costs.
  • Availability – Room ACs are sold at most home improvement stores, and they can also be found at big-box department stores.
  • Simple installation – Most single-room units are very easy to install, and free-standing models can quickly be moved from one room to another.

Small units drawing less than 7.5 amps can be plugged into a standard outlet as long as it’s not shared with another appliance. However, a large unit requires a dedicated 220-volt circuit.

Window Units

These are the most popular single-room option. A window unit can be installed in a single- or double-hung window, and most are sold with panels that allow for secure fitment. It’s relatively simple to install a window AC, as long as the buyer measures the window’s inside dimensions before shopping.

Portable Units

A portable AC is a freestanding, self-contained unit. Most have wheels for easy movement around the house. These units come with a flexible, large hose that’s routed to a window for hot air exhaust, much like that found on a clothes dryer. Though they’re more costly than window units, they’re easy to install and use.

While central HVAC units have tremendous advantages, there’s a lot to be said for the humble single-room unit. By considering the benefits and tips listed here, buyers can make the right choice for their home, lifestyle, and budget.