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How To Buy an Air Conditioner - The Definitive Guide

Steve Sheinkopf  |  June 08, 2011  |  3 Min. Read

Air Conditioners

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Air conditioning season starts when people cannot sleep for over three nights. Today is Day 1. We wrote a post about bedroom air conditioners last week.

This will be my longest post. We will cover small, medium and large units as well as portables, wall units and split systems.

Air conditioning is based on square footage. In theory, a larger room requires a larger air conditioner. AC's are available in 5-36,000 BTU. I have included a sizing chart at the end of the post. Other considerations include kitchens, sunny exposures and third floor, which would add BTU due to increased heat. Add 2-4,000 BTU maximum for kitchens.

Do not overcool as the air conditioner will actually freeze and not dehumidify.

Lets look at a few:

Average bedroom 5-6000 BTU

GE AEM06LP: Better bedroom AC's tend to be quieter, have remote controls and have better EER. EER or energy efficiency ratios rate the efficiency of the unit from 8-12.0. The difference between a 9.0 and 10.0 EER is 10% energy savings. Anything rated over 9.5 is considered good.


Living room/Dining room

Frigidaire FRA106BU1: Depending on the room and other factors, average size of a living room AC is 8-12,000 BTU. After 13,000, you need 220 volts like a range or any other large energy consuming appliance. 

BTW, it is a bad idea to have one air conditioner cool a space since air conditioners and cold air do not turn corners effectively.

FRA106BU1 Air Conditioner

Large Units 15,000-36,000

Friedrich SL36M30: These units are all 220 volt and are designed for small stores. Friedrich manufactures the best big units in terms of quality and efficiency, but Frigidaire is the most cost effective at less than half the cost.

SL36M30 Air Conditioner

Apartment/Condo AC's

GE AJC10DCD: If you want an air conditioner to fit through the wall, simply ask for a slide out chassis. Most AC's can do both. However, in most condos, they have proprietary sleeves (chassis). You can only fit certain units in these chassis without renovating the area. Most common is GE.

AJQC10CDC Air Conditioner

Casement Air Conditioners

Frigidaire FRA123KT1: Casements are either small square or rectangular windows. Ordinary AC's do not fit these windows.  Frigidaire and Friedrich have a couple of models.

FRA123KT1 Air Conditioner


Danby DPAC1011: Danby, Friedrich and Frigidaire manufacture portables. Simple principle really: Cold air is blown through the front while the hot air is exhausted through a hose. You still need a small window for the hose. Portables are a great idea.  Unfortunately, they are poorly executed, only use as extreme last resort.

DPAC10011 Air Conditioner

Split Air Conditioners

Friedrich M36CG: Splits are new in residential applications. The intake is built into the wall and the actual compressor is somewhere else. Splits are popular for installations without windows or for people who really do not want to block a window or want a more aesthetically pleasing unit (we have one in our hallway).

M36CG Air Conditioner

Key Takeaways: Do not oversize and buy the right unit for your room. 

One last tip: Air conditioners are manufactured in one run and shipped in February. As a dealer, there are no chances for re-orders. As a consumer, this is the reason for so many out of stock retailers and scarce supply especially during a hot season. If you need an air conditioner, buy it early in the season.

Sizing chart as promised

Air conditioner sizing chart


A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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