Things to Consider Before Buying an Air Conditioning Unit

Living Room with an Air Conditioning Unit

At the height of the hot climate or dry season, a hot, stuffy house can be very uncomfortable. It’s that time of the year again, when the sweat trickles down our spine and we are in need of a cup of water almost all the time. Cooling down your home should help you get a better night’s sleep when it’s muggy outside.

Air conditioners are a vital staple in most households in Nigeria. With sweltering temperatures, especially during the dry season, the need for a cool refreshing breeze flowing throughout your home is becoming ever more necessary.

There are many different types of air conditioners out there, each with different capabilities based on the speed that the air is lowered, performance, and durability of the hardware itself.

Types of Air Conditioning Units

There are many different types of air conditioning units, so choosing the right one and right size for your home is of the utmost importance. Whether you desire a high-quality coolant or just need something small to get you through a few weeks, this guide will show you your options.

Portable Air Conditioners  

Portable AC

These types of AC units are not so common in Nigeria. They are portable and mobile. They are floor systems usually with wheels that cool rooms down by removing heat out of the air and dehumidifying it, then returning the air much cooler into the same space. However, the one catch with these devices is that they also exhaust the hot air as well from a separate exhaust port in the device. This means that they need to be placed near a window or semi-outdoor location in order for the hot air to be released out and away while the cool air is blown into the house.  

Window Mounted Air Conditioners  

Window Mounted AC

These air conditioning units are placed in the window frames, with half inside of the home and the other half sticking out of the window. These are very commonly seen in apartments. These types often exhaust hot air out the back while blowing cool air into the home.  

Wall Mounted Air Conditioner

Wall Mounted AC

This AC option is nice because it gives the room a more modern and elegant feel while also keeping it cool. The AC unit has a much more modern aesthetic look and sits thinly along the wall as your HD TV would. This option is very similar to the window AC units, and the through the wall air conditioning units also lack any exhaust vent to eschew hot air, due to a lack of access to the outdoors. The newer technology in these devices allows it to give off more cooling power as well.

Ductless-Split Air Conditioner

Split AC

Considered the most popular of all the air conditioning devices, the ductless AC units are known for their high-efficiency cooling mechanisms. This is the unit that will give you the most value for your money. The Split system usually operates by having a main outdoor system with multiple mini hubs placed throughout the home to deliver cooling throughout.

Other things to know

What is the best kind of Air Condition Unit?

It is impossible to say that one AC unit is better than the rest because it is such a case by case basis. You need to analyze the layout of your home, your environment, and your weather in order to determine the best AC unit for your property. What might be a great fit for one person might not work for another?

What extra features should I look out for? 

  • Dehumidifier mode: A few air conditioners double up as a dehumidifier. This could be useful if you want an appliance that’s going to be useful across the year, not just in summer. You’ll need to connect up a hose (often not supplied) to drain away the water. Buying an expensive air conditioner just for dehumidifier mode can work out to be more expensive, and less effective, than buying two separate appliances, though.
  • Fan speeds: Having a range of fan speeds is useful, as it affects the rate at which your room cools down (and the noise the air conditioner makes). Two or three is a typical number of fan speeds. Many also have a fan only mode, which has no cooling effect – it just circulates the air within the room. 
  • Sleep or night mode: This reduces noise by running the compressor and fan more slowly. Often the target temperature will increase automatically across the night so that you don’t wake up freezing cold. No air conditioner will be silent, even on sleep mode, so manufacturers (even those offering a sleep mode) often recommend pre-cooling rooms before you go to bed, rather than attempting to sleep with an air conditioner running. 
  • Timer: This allows you to set the machine to automatically switch on and off – useful if you want to come home to a cool house or save energy by having the unit switch off once you’ve fallen asleep. Pick a model with a clock and 24-hour setting. Some come with only countdown or delay timers; these need to be reset daily.

What size of air conditioner do you need? 

Before you consider price and features, start by determining the size of unit you need for the space you want to cool, as well as where you’ll place the unit. Capacities are measured in British thermal units (Btu).

To measure your room, multiply the length of the room by the width. But don’t buy by Btu alone. Energy Star recommends that you make allowances for other considerations—such as the height of your ceiling, where the unit will be placed, and the size of your windows and doorways. In addition:

  • If the room is heavily shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the room is extra sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 Btu for each additional person.
  • If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 Btu.

Which air conditioner is the most energy efficient?

It is always great to look for an air conditioner that is energy efficient. The Energy Star program requires air conditioner manufacturers to quality and meet their standards, and once they meet them, they can use the energy star logo on the air conditioner proving that their air conditioner meets the standard.

Which air conditioner is quietest?

Air conditioners are known for the product a lot of noise and at times making it hard to sleep. If you are someone who is looking for a quiet air conditioner, look for the noise each unit produces in decibels unit.

The lowest decibels mean the unit will be very quiet, the ductless split air conditioners are usually the quietest of all and should be considered if it is a priority for you.

What else do I need to consider?

  • Intelligent Cooling. Some air conditioners have gotten smarter, allowing you to control and adjust them from your smartphone. You may even be able to interconnect them to other cooling units in your home.
  • Warranty: Some air conditioners have longer warranties than others. When you’re buying a new unit, check the manufacturer’s website for information on warranty.
  • Plug type: Many units have common 125V/15A, three-prong plugs that can be used in most homes. Larger models may have 125V/20V, 250V/15A, or higher plugs, requiring you to call an electrician and upgrade your circuitry. If you’re replacing an existing unit, choose an air conditioner with a plug type that matches your old model.
  • Ventilation/exhaust: Lets fresh air from outside circulate into the room.

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