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Purchasing a portable AC?

Keep these tips in mind

tips to buy a portable air conditioning unit

With scorching summer temperatures here, a cautionary tale unfolds for those in search of a portable AC unit to beat the heat. Enticing promises and clever marketing tactics make it easy to fall prey to the pitfalls that await unsuspecting buyers. Here’s how to be a savvy shopper:
  • Ratings: Be aware that a higher advertised BTU rating doesn’t always guarantee a cooler paradise. Crafty sellers may advertise more BTUs than the product’s actual performance, but buyers beware. The truth lies in making sure you are matching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) BTU rating to your room’s square footage according to the DOE guidelines. When shopping online or in-store, be sure to check the fine print for the certified DOE rated BTU level for correct coverage – and if you don’t see this information listed, stay away! A free online BTU calculator can help you choose wisely.
  • Certification: Manufacturers are quick to parade their products with proclamations of excellence. Don’t let smooth talkers lure you in with mere claims and great prices. Insist on reviewing the product’s energy guide for the actual BTU rating. Also, make sure the portable AC you are interested in is authenticated by credible third-party organizations. This indicates it has met or exceeded performance standards.
  • Type: Before making a decision between window ACs or portable units, determine which type best suits your needs and the room before making a purchase. As a general rule, portable units can be easier to install and more versatile.
  • Noise: Whether you’re sensitive to noise or simply don’t prefer to hear the sound of a motor running, check the unit’s decibel (dB) rating. It’s one easy-to-ignore specification that can make a huge difference. The good news? Cool interiors and ultra-quiet performance can co-exist, if you shop around.
READ MORE: Upgrade your home, downgrade energy usage

In addition to purchasing a great portable AC unit, proper maintenance can help ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. Periodically remove the filter from the unit and dust it, and clean debris from inside the unit with compressed air. A few lifestyle changes can also contribute to a cooler, more comfortable home. These changes include avoiding the stove and oven on super-hot days, planting shade-bearing trees or bushes outside windows, and swapping out incandescent bulbs for energy efficient LEDs.

Navigating a sea of misleading product claims can be exhausting, particularly when it comes to buying the equipment you need to keep your home and family comfortable in extreme weather. However, when it comes to a cool home, you don’t have to sweat it. A bit of research can help you achieve optimal comfort this summer.


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