How to Choose an Air Conditioner for Apartment Living
We all love heat and sun and time outdoors. But time indoors during a hot summer can be a different story, especially if you live in an apartment without a central AC unit.
Summertime is AC time, no matter where you live. Your indoor air conditioner for apartment living can make or break your summertime indoor experience. It’s important to pick the one that is right for your apartment and temperature needs.
If you already have an AC unit, it’s also crucial to see if it’s due for an upgrade.
There are many things to keep in mind when choosing a new air conditioner for apartment living. Check out our how-to guide below and you’ll soon be on your way to finding the unit of your apartment dreams.
1. Identify your cooling needs
This is the first and most critical step in selecting the ideal air conditioner for apartment living.
Take a close look at your space and decide what room(s) you want to keep cool during the hotter summer months. Prioritize spaces where you hang out the most, such as your kitchen or living room.
Most air conditioning units will have a maximum room volume that they cool. Measure the volume of the space(s) you’d like to keep cool. You can calculate the volume by measuring the width, height, and length of your space(s) and multiplying all of these numbers together.
Next, identify all windows in your living space. You’ll be needing venting options for your air conditioning unit, no matter which one you choose. Write down the window measurements as well.
All of these measurements will come in handy when deciding on the size and style of the air conditioner that’s best for your apartment.
2. Decide between portable and window air conditioning units
This is one of the deciding factors in your search for the best air conditioner for apartment living. Every apartment is different. Frequently, the space itself will dictate what type of unit is ideal.
Whether you choose portable or window, you will need access to a window for venting purposes. Every AC unit produces hot air that has to be released outside in order to keep the space cool.
If you have a lot of windows in your apartment, a window installation may be ideal, especially if you don’t mind taking up some sill space with a unit.
If windows are few and far between, a portable unit may be a better choice, as these will just require a venting outlet through a window. Most portable units include a window kit that will enable easy installation.
3. Choose the size that’s best for you
This may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to finding an air conditioner for apartment living, but size can often be overlooked. It’s critical to make sure your cooling needs, as well as your space needs, are met simultaneously.
Air conditioners, whether portable or meant for windows, come in a variety of sizes and styles.
There really is no limit here. Keep your room and window measurements close when figuring out what size is best. If you choose a window installation, you’ll need to make sure it fits your window.
If you’re going the portable route, you’ll want to know how much room the unit will take up in relation to the space and the venting window.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to AC units. Choose the size that suits your space and go from there.
4. Find out where your AC unit is going to go
The best air conditioner for apartment living is the one that fits all of your needs, especially your space.
Air conditioners are going to take up space regardless, so you need to plan accordingly. They will also require an electrical outlet relatively nearby.
You need to be able to fit the unit into your apartment, particularly if it is a portable air conditioner. If you choose a portable unit, you’ll need some floor space that accommodates the unit and provides access for the unit’s venting system. Most apartment owners place their portable AC units right next to or underneath a window for easy venting.
Depending on the size of the portable unit you choose, this could simply involve pushing a few sofas around or clearing a spot next to a bookcase. If you find that this isn’t possible, consider choosing a smaller unit or a window air conditioner.
A window air conditioner for apartment living has to fit your window and be installed securely. It’s also important to insulate any areas left open to the elements as a result of a window unit installation.
If you are skeptical at all about installing a window AC unit, consult a professional for assistance. In fact, it’s highly advised that you have professional assistance to ensure a safe and effective installation.
5. Decide how much noise you’re willing to tolerate
Let’s face it. Air conditioners can be noisy because they are constantly pumping air around. Some people don’t mind the noise AC units produce, while it can be prohibitive for other apartment owners.
You’ll want to check out the decibel level of the unit you’re investigating when purchasing an air conditioner for apartment living. The lower the DBs, the quieter the unit. Compare a few models and choose the level that’s most comfortable for you.
6. Think about your needs for being green
Let’s face it: energy use can be hard on wallets and the environment, and air conditioners can take up a lot of it. It’s important when choosing an air conditioner for apartment living to keep in mind how efficient you’d like to be with your cooling.
When it comes to choosing an efficient AC unit, you’ll want to explore some key things. Look for units that have been identified with an Energy Star, a government-backed designation applied to household appliances that maximize energy use. Energy Star appliances are, in general, kinder to the environment.
You can also check out the Energy Efficiency Ratio of the unit(s) you have your eye on. This ratio calculates the unit’s BTUs (British Thermal Units) in relation to every watt of energy used.
The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is. You can find the EER of any particular unit on its Energy Guide Label. This label will always be attached to all new air conditioning units, no matter the manufacturer.
Sometimes more energy efficient units can be more expensive, and some consumers may pass them up in favor of cheaper air conditioners. Keep in mind, however, that energy-efficient models may actually save you money over time as they maximize energy usage more than cheaper models do.
7. Assess your budget and current energy expenditures
Money can be a huge factor in deciding on any household appliance. It’s important to compare models of different price ranges in your air conditioner search.
Because air conditioners require a lot of energy, think about your budget for energy costs. Identify how much you spend typically in the summertime on energy expenses for your apartment. If you’ve just moved to your apartment, speak to your landlord or building management about typical costs.
Remember that choosing an energy-efficient model may be a wise investment, as it reduces energy use over time and can be cost-effective.
8. Research what type of maintenance you’ll need to perform on the unit
No matter what household appliance you purchase, maintenance is always a factor. It’s important to choose a quality brand that either won’t require much maintenance or has clear instructions for care.
Some AC units will require cleaning of filters and removal of built-up moisture. Occasionally you may have to defrost a unit if ice accumulates. However, a lot of contemporary units have self-evaporative technology that pretty much takes care of maintenance for you.
When choosing your ideal air conditioner for apartment living, read online reviews of units. Contact the manufacturer to get a clear grasp on the type of maintenance your unit will require.
9. Think about warranty
An air conditioner can be a huge investment. It’s important to see what warranties are available for the unit you’re thinking about before purchasing, in case you encounter mechanical issues of any kind.
A lot of devices have shorter-term warranties. Some have lifetime warranties. These warranties may cover mechanical issues only, which means that if you are directly responsible for damage, you may not have warranty coverage for that damage.
Decide if you’d like a warranty with your AC purchase first. If you opt for a brand that does carry a warranty, make sure you are absolutely clear on all of the terms of the warranty. Call the manufacturer if you are uncertain about warranty specifics.
10. Check with your landlord before making a move
At the end of the day, it’s important to make sure that you choose an air conditioner for apartment living according to the stipulations of your building or landlord.
Some landlords or buildings could care less what appliances you install, but check with your lease agreement to see if you need to report the unit. You’ll want to do this especially if you are opting for a larger AC unit that will be pumping a lot of hot air out a window.
If your landlord doesn’t approve of the unit you’ve chosen, ask if h/she would approve of a different model. If your building does not have a central cooling system, most likely your building management or landlord will be flexible when it comes to AC units in tenants’ apartments.
Checking for an Upgrade
If you already have an AC unit in place in your apartment, it’s always worthwhile to see if it’s time for an upgrade. Take a close look at your air conditioner for apartment living with these things in mind.
- Is your unit more than ten years old? If so, it’s time for a replacement.
- Pay attention to your energy bills. Are they going up? This could be a key sign of inefficient cooling.
- If your unit is in constant need of repairs, it’s time for an upgrade.
- Are you really noticing the noise of your AC unit? This may be a sign of a defective or poor inner coil in your air conditioner.
- Assess your apartment’s air circulation and quality. Is it overly humid? This could be a sign of poor ventilation and a defective evaporation system in your unit.
- Identify your Home Energy Yardstick score. If you score less than five, you may want to invest in a more efficient cooling system.
- Call your unit’s manufacturer. If you have registered your appliance with the manufacturer, you may be eligible for an automatic upgrade or replacement.
The Best Air Conditioner for Apartment Living
Finding the ideal air conditioner for apartment living doesn’t have to be difficult. No matter your apartment size, you can find the unit that meets all of your needs.
When upgrading your current unit or deciding on a new one, begin by identifying your cooling needs.
Do you live in an ancient apartment with no central cooling system? Does your apartment stay relatively cool during the summer, and do you want an extra boost of cool air? Where do you spend most of your time indoors?
Next, decide whether or not you’d like a window or portable air conditioning unit.
This can be determined by a number of factors, including cost, cooling needs, available space, windows, and desired unit efficiency. Once you’ve decided between portable and window, identify the ideal size, cost, efficiency, and placement of your unit. Lastly, make sure you know your unit’s warranty and maintenance needs and check with your landlord before you install it.
A portable air conditioner is an excellent solution for apartment owners and renters looking for a convenient, quick, and inexpensive way to cool their pad. Portable air conditioners come in a variety of sizes, styles, and prices, making them a flexible choice for any consumer.
At Portable Air Cons, we know the best of the best out there when it comes to portable air conditioners. Choosing an air conditioner for apartment living is our specialty! Let us help you in your portable air conditioner purchase today.