The Best Air Conditioners: The Ultimate Guide

A mini-split air conditioning system
A mini-split air conditioning system with remote.

Air conditioning units are essential life-savers during those warm, humid summer months. Choosing the best air conditioner for your needs, on the other hand, is not so simple because of all the different types and specs. Here we will show you what to look for when choosing one and review some of the best portables, window units, and ductless mini-splits.

Topics Covered

  • Things to consider when buying an AC
    • The BTU rating
    • The noise levels
    • Combo features
    • Energy-efficiency
    • Smart functions
  • The main types of air conditioners
    • Portable air conditioners
    • Ductless mini-splits
    • Window air conditioners
  • Ductless mini-splits VS portables VS window air conditioners
  • The best portable air conditioners
    • BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT 5,500 BTU
    • Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K 6,500 BTU
    • Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 7,000 BTU
    • Ukoke USPC01W Smart WiFi 4-in-1 7,000 BTU
  • The best window air conditioners
    • GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series
    • LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU
    • Frigidaire FGRC1044T1 10000 BTU
  • The best ductless mini-split air conditioners
    • OLMO Alpic 9,000 BTU
    • Commercial Cool 18,000 BTU
  • Maintenance & care
    • Portable air conditioners
    • Window air conditioners
    • Ductless mini-split air conditioners
  • Troubleshooting
    • Portable air conditioners
    • Window air conditioners
    • Ductless mini-split air conditioners
  • How to reduce the electricity consumption of air conditioners


Unit Model Type Coverage Price
BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT 5,500 BTU BLACK+DECKER BPACT10WT 5,500 BTU Portable 150-250 sq. ft.
Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K 6,500 BTU Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K 6,500 BTU Portable 250-300 sq. ft.
Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 7,000 BTU Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 7,000 BTU Portable 250-300 sq. ft.
Ukoke USPC01W Smart WiFi 4-in-1 7,000 BTU Ukoke USPC01W Smart WiFi 4-in-1 7,000 BTU Portable 250-300 sq. ft.
GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series Window unit 150-250 sq. ft.
LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU LG LW1216HR 12,000 BTU Window unit 450-550 sq. ft.
Frigidaire FGRC1044T1 10000 BTU Frigidaire FGRC1044T1 10000 BTU Window unit 400-450 sq. ft.
OLMO Alpic 9,000 BTU OLMO Alpic 9,000 BTU Ductless min-split 350-400 sq. ft.
Commercial Cool 18,000 BTU Commercial Cool 18,000 BTU Ductless min-split 700-1,000 sq. ft.





Things to consider when buying an air conditioner

When you’re looking to buy an air conditioner, pay close attention to things such as BTU, decibel levels, energy-efficiency ratings, additional functionalities, and smart functions. Here we’ll look at each one and explain why they are important.

The BTU rating

BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Units, and it measures energy, or in this case, how powerful an air conditioning unit is.

It’s important to remember that a higher BTU rating doesn’t always mean better because the amount of BTU needed depends on the square footage of the room you intend to use it in.

Using an air conditioner with too little BTU for the room it’s in will force it to work harder, which results in energy wastage and unnecessary strain on the components. Also, having too many BTUs than needed will cool the room too quickly and cause the unit to repeatedly cycle off and on again to maintain the desired room temperature. This creates wear and tear on the compressor and shortens its lifespan.

Find the BTU needed per square footage in the table below.

BTU power Coverage BTU power Coverage
6,000 BTU 150-250 sq. ft 14,000 BTU 550-700 sq. ft
7,000 BTU 250-300 sq. ft 18,000 BTU 700-1,000 sq. ft
8,000 BTU 300-350 sq. ft 21,000 BTU 1,000-1,200 sq. ft
9,000 BTU 350-400 sq. ft 23,000 BTU 1,200-1,400 sq. ft
10,000 BTU 400-450 sq. ft 24,000 BTU 1,400-1,500 sq. ft
12,000 BTU 450-550 sq. ft

The noise levels

No one likes a noisy air conditioner – especially when trying to concentrate or sleep. Therefore, the noise level of a unit should be taken into account.

Sound is measured in decibels. A whisper is about 30 decibels and a normal conversation is around 60 decibels. Most modern air conditioners operate between 37 and 82 decibels.

Whisper = 30dB
Normal conversation = 60dB
Motorbike running = 95dB

Combo systems

Many air conditioners have dual functions and can include built-in dehumidifying or heating capabilities. Some even have all three – cooling, heating, and dehumidifying.

There are benefits to choosing a unit with multiple functions.

It lessens the number of appliances in your home, which is especially beneficial if space is limited.

Added dehumidifying functionality will save on energy because it removes excess humidity, and that takes some of the strain off from the AC condenser.

An AC/heater combo system will let you run the unit all year round if you live in a cold winter climate – and this doesn’t give mold, dust, and bacteria the chance to build up within the AC unit during the autumn and winter months.

Energy-efficiency

You will want an AC unit that is as energy-efficient as possible. Not only is it good for the environment but also for keeping the electricity bill down.

The energy performance rating for AC units can be measured in EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) or SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).

What is the difference between these two ratings?

EER is the calculation of an air conditioner’s efficiency at one peak temperature – its peak cooling time (95°F). SEER, on the other hand, calculates an air conditioner’s efficiency at a range of outside temperatures (65°F to 104°F).

EER ratings are calculated by dividing the BTU of the unit by its wattage, i.e. 10000 BTU / 950 w = 10.53 EER.

The formula for SEER is far more complex.. SEER = (1 × EER100% + 42 × EER75% + 45 × EER50% + 12 × EER250%)/100.

All you need to know is that the higher the EER/SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the unit is.

Which rating should you pay attention to?

If you live in a part of the country where the temperature is 95°F or higher most of the time when you run the air conditioner, use EER. If where you live has a more moderate climate, use SEER.

Air conditioner manufacturers only display one of the two ratings on their units. If you want to convert EER to SEER, or SEER to EER, then use this handy conversion calculator at learnmetrics.

Smart functions

Smart functions are becoming a standard feature in many of the newer models. The most common smart function is the ability to control your air conditioner with your smartphone through an app. This is particularly useful as it allows you to turn the AC on before you arrive home or even adjust the temperature for your pets while you are not there.

Another smart function is controlling your air conditioner by voice through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.


The main types of air conditioners

Although there are other varieties, we will only cover the three best types of air conditioners – portable, window, and ductless mini-splits.


1: Portable air conditioners

A Black & Decker portable air conditioner.
A portable air conditioner from Black & Decker. Image taken from realsimple.com.

A portable air conditioner, as the name implies, is portable and can thus be moved from one room to another as needed. This portability and the fact that they do not require any installation makes them a popular choice.

Unfortunately, many people who buy this type of AC regret their purchase – mainly because they didn’t check all the specs before buying.

It’s not to say that they are a bad choice because there are quite a few amazing portable air conditioners on the market. However, consider the following to avoid disappointment…

The weight of the unit:

The weight of the average portable air conditioner sits at around 50 pounds (22.68Kg). Now, this may or may not be a problem. Yes, they have wheels so that you can easily push them from one point to another, but if you want to move it from downstairs to upstairs, then you’re going to have to be relatively strong.

Energy consumption:

Generally speaking, portables have an average energy rating of 8.5 EER – which makes them the least energy-efficient type of air conditioner. A rating of 8.5 EER is not particularly bad, but there are many models that have ratings well above this average. So, if you’re going to buy a portable air conditioner, make sure that it has an EER rating of at least 8.5.

Noise levels:

Portable air conditioners were incredibly noisy when they first came out. Luckily, the technology has improved over the years, and they have become much quieter. It, however, doesn’t mean that the problem has been solved.

One of the main advantages a ductless mini-split has over a portable is that its noisiest components are located outside, whereas with a portable, all the components, including the noisiest ones, are in the same room with you.

It can be a problem if you want to sleep in the same room as the air conditioner – especially if you’re a light sleeper.

The average noise level of a portable air conditioner is between 40 to 60 decibels, so you will most probably want one that sits at the lower end of the noise spectrum. Also, keep in mind that the fan speed also affects the noise levels, i.e., the faster the fan speed, the noisier it is.

The installation:

As previously mentioned, most people who choose a portable air conditioner over a ductless mini-split do so because it requires no installation – or so they thought.

All air conditioners, regardless of type, works by removing moisture and warm air from the room. This moisture and warm air have to go somewhere – preferably outside or into another room. So technically, portables are not exactly installation-free, because you still have to run a hose from the unit to the outside or into another room.

Regardless, the installation process is much quicker and easier than installing a window or a ductless mini-split.

This video is owned by Handyverse. Check out their YouTube channel here.

Check out this YouTube video to get a good idea of what’s involved with installing a portable air conditioner.


2: Ductless mini-split air conditioners

Ductless mini-split air conditioner.
A ductless mini-split air conditioner.

Ductless mini-split air conditioners are a convenient and cost-effective way of cooling and heating homes or workplaces. They are quiet, compact, and are a great alternative to the regular far more expensive and energy-hungry HVAC systems. Here are the pros and cons of mini-split systems.

The pros of ductless mini-splits

1: They are quiet: They are split systems which makes them the quietest air conditioners. The compressor, fan and condensor, which creates the most noise, are installed outside, while the quieter evaporator unit is inside. On average, the outside unit puts out a respectable 60 to 65 decibels, while the inside unit creates approximately 20 decibels on a low fan speed and 50 decibels on a fast fan speed.

2: They last long: The well-known quality brands can easily last 20 years with proper maintenance and care.

3: They are compact: Their size is another enormous benefit. Better yet, they are installed high onto a wall, so the unit is out of the way.

4: They are very energy-efficient: The average mini-split system has an average SEER rating of between 15 and 18, which is impressive. But it’s not uncommon for some systems to have SEER ratings in the late 20’s/early 30’s.

5: They also heat: They can do more than just cool your home in the summer. They are also just as efficient at heating during the winter, thanks to built-in heat pumps.

The cons of ductless mini-splits

1: They are expensive: Ductless mini-split systems are a bit on the expensive side. Quality entry-level units start at just over $700, while higher end units go between $1,500 to over $3,000. Sure, you can get the much cheaper Chinese brands, but you won’t be getting the same lifespan, quality and reliability.

2: Difficult installation: Hiring an HVAC contractor to install a single 18,000 BTU or less mini-split can easily cost $2,000 to $3,000 in the US. However, there is some good news. The installation process is not notoriously difficult, and if you are fairly good at DIY, then you could do it yourself in under a day.

To know whether or not you’re up for the challenge of doing a DIY installation, check out the video below.

This video is owned by Komar Project. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Please note: Incorrectly installing a ductless mini-split can prevent the system from operating at optimal levels, which can cause strain on the internal components, water leaks, and a higher electric bill. Also, in some cases, having it installed by a non-certified HVAC contractor will void the warranty.


3: Window air conditioners

A window air conditioner
A window air conditioner. The image is taken from Cielo.

Modern window air conditioners are very high-tech and, generally speaking, are more affordable than portables. However, they do have some drawbacks that you should consider before buying.

Outside noise:

Outside noises filter in around window air conditioners, which can be a problem if you live along a busy street or have noisy neighbors. The lightweight plastic window guards commonly used between the unit and the window do not affect lessening outside noise. However, foam board insulation does help reduce noise but won’t completely eliminate it.

Burglar proofing:

It could be a problem if you are planning on installing a window air conditioner unit on the ground floor in an area that has a crime problem because the window in which the unit is installed can be an easy entry point for criminals to gain access into your home. Then there’s also the risk of criminals stealing the unit.

There are some steps you can take to help minimize these types of break-ins, but you may want to reconsider getting a window unit if you live on the ground floor in an area with a relatively high crime rate.

The installation:

Installing a window air conditioner is a lot easier than a ductless mini-split but not as easy as a portable. You should also be good at DIY because an incorrectly fitted window unit will cause the surrounding window to vibrate and rattle.

Also, most units can only be fitted into an unobstructed single or double-hung window.

This video is owned by Mike Kim. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Check out this video to get a good idea of what’s involved with installing a window air conditioner.


Ductless mini-splits VS portables VS window air conditioners

Here is how ductless mini-splits, portables, and window air conditioners stack up against each other. There are no clear winners because, with each, there are some trade-offs.

Portable AC Window AC Ductless mini-split
Ease of installation Easy Moderate Moderate-difficult / Expensive
Maintenance Easy Moderate Moderate-difficult / Expensive
Price range Low to mid-range Low to high-range high-range
Avg. decibels 40-60 dB 50-80 dB 32 dB
BTU range 5,000-14,000 5,000-25,000 6,000-56,000
Energy-efficiency Ranges from terrible to good Ranges from terrible to good Excellent
Avg. lifespan 5-10 years 8-10 years 15-20 years





The best portable air conditioners

Here we will review four of the best portable air conditioners – the Black+Decker BPACT10WT, the Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K, the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS and the Ukoke USPC01W.

Please note: When you receive your portable air conditioner, be sure to let it stand in the upright position for at least 24 hours before plugging it in and using it. The unit could have been transported while on its side, and waiting 24 hours will allow the compressor oil and refrigerant enough time to trickle back to their proper places. Using the system without the compressor oil and refrigerant in its correct place will damage/burn out the compressor.


Black+Decker BPACT10WT 5,500 BTU DOE/10,000 BTU ASHRAE

Black+Decker BPACT10WT

The Black+Decker BPACT10WT offers a lot of quality and features for its price.

It uses 1x washable and reusable air filter. Luckily, it’s easy to remove and clean. Simply slide it out, rinse it thoroughly under running water, wait for it to dry, and put it back.

Some of the other features include a built-in dehumidifier that runs simultaneously with the air conditioner. This keeps the air dry and cool, while further reducing the humidity in the room. Not only does this increase the efficiency and performance of the air conditioner, but it also saves on energy.

Another brilliant feature is the bucket-less, self-evaporating feature, which means that there are no drain pans or buckets to empty.

Its installation kit makes it easy to connect the exhaust hose to a sliding or double-hung window. You can also vent it through a wall with a little bit of DIY customization.

Drawbacks: The only real drawback with the Black+Decker BPACT10WT is its 75dB noise levels while on high speed. It’s okay for daytime use, but can be problematic for some people if they want to sleep with it in the same room. Although it does have a sleep mode that you can activate which makes it a bit quieter.

Please note: The unit is often advertised as a 10,000 BTU system. It does have 10,000 BTU in total, but only 5,500/6,000 of those BTU are dedicated to air conditioning.

  • Size: 16.5″ x 11.5″ x 26″
  • Weight: 52.9 pounds
  • Coolest temp: 65°F
  • BTU: 5,500 BTU DOE – ideally suited for rooms between 150-250 square feet.
  • Noise: 49db (low setting), 75dB (high setting) – it’s fairly quiet on the low setting and tolerable on the high setting. Although sleeping with it in the same room while on high might be a problem for some, but its sleep mode function makes it even quieter.
  • Smart functions: None
  • Filters: 1x reusable air filter
  • Energy-efficiency: 8.69 EER
  • Refrigerant: R600A
  • Exhaust hose length: 4′ 11″
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier.
  • Features: Sleep mode, self-evaporating, built-in thermostat, programmable timer.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an installation kit (water drain hose, hose adapters, window casement, and a 4′ 11″ exhaust hose).
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty.


Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K 6,500 BTU DOE/10,000 BTU ASHRAE with Wi-Fi smart function

Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K 10,000 BTU with Wi-Fi smart function

The Ivation IVAPACWIFI10K is quiet, compact, and has a range of features.

The system has 3 functions – an air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier. Its dehumidifier runs in conjunction with the air conditioner, thus keeping the air dry and cool while reducing the humidity in the room. By doing so, it increases the efficiency and performance of the air conditioner while saving energy.

It makes use of one washable/reusable air filter. It slides out so that you can wash it by rinsing it under running water. Once dry, put it back in place.

There are even built-in safety features such as an auto-defrost, overflow, compressor, and thermal protection – all of which help extend the lifespan of the unit.

More interestingly is the built-in smart function which allows you to control the portable air conditioner with your smartphone (Android and Apple Devices) from anywhere in the world.

Simply download the free app from the app store so that you can monitor and control everything from the mode, fan speed, timer, temperature, etc.

On the downside, the IVAPACWIFI10K lacks a self-evaporating feature. It does, however, allow you to connect a drainage hose for automatic drainage. Alternatively, you will have to manually empty the internal bucket from time to time.

Included is a window installation kit that fits windows of most sizes. The exhaust hose is extendable up to 59″ for extra versatility.

Please note: The unit is advertised as a 10,000 BTU system. It does have 10,000 BTU in total, but only 6,500 of those BTU are dedicated to air conditioning.

  • Size: 20.51″ x 14.17″ x 28.74″
  • Weight: 67.4 pounds
  • Coolest temp: 60°F
  • BTU: 6,500 BTU DOE – ideally suited for rooms between 250-350 square feet.
  • Noise: 55db
  • Smart functions: Can be controlled on your smartphone from anywhere in the world
  • Filters: 1x reusable air filter
  • Energy-efficiency:
  • Exhaust hose length: 5′ 2″
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier.
  • Features: Auto-defrost, built-in thermostat, programmable timer.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty.


Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 7,000 BTU DOE/12,000 BTU ASHRAE

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000 BTU

The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS is on the expensive side, but that’s what you get for so much quality and efficiency. It’s also the most energy-efficient (13 SEER) and quietest (52dB) portable air conditioner on the list.

The unit is a 3-in-1 system – an air conditioner, a fan, and a dehumidifier. Its dehumidifier runs in conjunction with the air conditioner to help remove excess humidity which takes a lot of strain off from the air conditioner – and thus saves on electricity.

It has 7,000 BTU, which makes it powerful enough to easily cool an area between 300 to 400 square feet.

There are two different filters – a washable pre-filter and an activated carbon filter. The carbon filter is a great addition because it purifies the air as it passes through the unit by capturing contaminants and particles before re-releasing the much cleaner cooled air back into the room – so it functions much like an air purifier.

The pre-filter protects the main carbon filter and thereby extends its lifespan, but the main filter should be replaced once every 3 to 6 months.

Other noteworthy features include a dual hose function which allows for even more effective and faster cooling, in addition to a patented automatic draining function that removes all condensation through the exhaust vent so that you don’t have to empty buckets or pans.

Please note: The unit is advertised as a 12,000 BTU system. It does have 12,000 BTU in total, but only 7,000 of those BTU are dedicated to air conditioning.

  • Size: 17″ x 29.5″ x 16″
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • Coolest temp: 61°F
  • BTU: 7,000 BTU DOE – ideally suited for rooms between 300-400 square feet.
  • Noise: 52db
  • Smart functions: None
  • Filters: 1x carbon air filter and 1x washable pre-filter
  • Energy-efficiency: 13 SEER
  • Refrigerant: R-32
  • Exhaust hose length: 60″
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier.
  • Features: Auto-drain function, activated carbon filter that purifies the air, built-in thermostat, programmable timer.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, a storage bag, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty.


Ukoke USPC01W Smart WiFi 4-in-1 AC 7,000 BTU DOE/12,000 BTU ASHRAE

Ukoke USPC01W Smart WiFi 4-in-1 Air Conditioner

This 12,000 BTU 4-in-1 portable air conditioner unit with smart wi-fi capabilities is from California based company, Ukoke.

Its functions include an air conditioner that can easily cool an area or room of up to 400 square feet, a fan, a dehumidifier, and a heater. Therefore, it’s the ideal unit for those who live in places that experience cold winters and warm summers.

The most interesting feature is the smart functions which allow you to control the unit through your smartphone, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Overall, the Ukoke USPC01W is a unique portable air conditioner, with a quality sturdy build and is not short on features.

Please note: The unit is advertised as a 12,000 BTU system. It does have 12,000 BTU in total, but only 7,000 of those BTU are dedicated to air conditioning.

  • Size: 16.7″ x 31.6″ x 15.8″
  • Weight: 59 pounds
  • BTU: 7,000 BTU DOE – ideally suited for rooms between 300-400 square feet.
  • Noise: 53db
  • Smart functions: Controllable through smartphone, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Filters: 1x washable filter
  • Energy-efficiency: 8.69 EER
  • Refrigerant: R410A
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner, heater, fan, and dehumidifier.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty.


The best window air conditioners

Are you looking for a modern and reliable window air conditioner? Then check out these reviews of the GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series, the LG LW1216HR, and the Frigidaire FGRC1044T1.


GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series

GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series

The GE Serenity 6,000 BTU Ultra-Quiet Series is the best window air conditioner for small rooms up to 250 square feet.

Noise levels sit at a barely noticeable 53 decibels while on low speed and installing it in a double-hung window is quick and easy with its EZ installation kit.

It uses a reusable air filter that is easy to remove and clean.

Overall, it’s an excellent window AC unit with all the standard features such as an energy-saving function, timer, and sleep mode. However, it lacks heating capabilities.

  • Size: 21.25″ x 21.25″ x 12.44″
  • Weight: 56 pounds
  • Fits window: 26-9/16–39-1/4” W x 13-3/8” H
  • BTU: 6,000 BTU for cooling rooms up to 250 sq. ft.
  • Noise: 43dB (inside)
  • Smart functions: None
  • Filters: 1x reusable air filter
  • Energy-efficiency: N/A
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner.
  • Features: Sleep mode, 24-hour timer, energy-saving function, 3 cooling speeds and 3 fan speeds.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an EZ installation kit.
  • Warranty: 1-year replacement, repair or refund. 90 Days to return to the vendor.


LG LW1216HR window-mounted air conditioner 12,000 BTU cooling/11,200 BTU heating

LG LW1216HR window ac

The LG LW1216HR is a stylish window air conditioner from LG. But it does more than just look good because its 13 SEER rating makes it energy-efficient and it’s also quiet with its 51 indoor decibels.

It can cool and heat, so it’s perfect for all-year-round use.

It has a washable/reuseable air filter that saves you money on replacements and also a filter indicator light that conveniently lets you know when it’s time to wash it.

Other features include an energy saver function that prevents the unit from overheating or overcooling the room by automatically turning itself off whenever the desired room temperature has been reached.

Installing it is also pretty simple and straightforward thanks to its installation kit and slide-in/out chassis.

  • Size: 22.06″ x 23.63″ x 14.97″
  • Weight: 93 pounds
  • Fits window: 27″-39″ W x 16″ H
  • BTU: 12,000 BTU for cooling rooms up to 550 sq. ft./11,200 BTU for heating rooms up to 450 sq. ft.
  • Noise: 51dB (inside), 59dB (outside)
  • Smart functions: None
  • Filters: 1x reusable air filter
  • Energy-efficiency: 13 SEER
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner and heater.
  • Features: Timer function, energy saver feature.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, mesh filter, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty.


Frigidaire FGRC1044T1 10000 BTU

FRIGIDAIRE FGRC1044T1 10000 BTU

The Frigidaire FGRC1044T1 looks amazing and offers 10,000 BTU cooling power which makes it suitable for rooms up to 450 square feet.

It uses a reusable air filter that is easily removed and a light indicator lets you know whenever it needs a clean.

You can also control everything from the temperature, fan speeds, as well as turn the unit on or off through the smartphone (Android and Apple) app and with Amazon Alexa.

Then there is also the built-in clean air ionizer that works as an air purifier and cleans the air from pollen, dust, and other allergens.

The only real drawback is that it’s a bit loud. But other than that, it’s a very modern-looking unit with a lot of interesting features.

  • Size: 19.75″ x 19″ x 14.5″
  • Weight: 63 pounds
  • Fits window: Minimum height: 15 1/2″ / Minimum width: 23″
  • BTU: 10,000 BTU for cooling rooms up to 450 sq. ft.
  • Noise: 54dB (low), 57dB (medium), 59dB (high)
  • Smart functions: Controllable through smartphone app.
  • Filters: 1x reusable air filter
  • Energy-efficiency: 12 EER
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner and dehumidifier.
  • Features: Energy-saver, sleep mode, clean air ionizer.
  • Included: The air conditioning unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: Full 1-year warranty on labor and parts. Limited 4-year warranty on sealed system.


The best ductless mini-split air conditioners

The following units cost more than other types of air conditioners, but their power, energy-efficiency levels, lifespan, and low decibel output are unrivaled.


OLMO Alpic 9,000 BTU

OLMO Alpic 9,000 BTU

The OLMO Alpic 9,000 BTU is the perfect high-quality and low-cost ductless multi-split air conditioner for rooms or living spaces up to 400 square feet in size.

It’s energy-efficient and super quiet so it’s no problem if you sleep in the same room as the unit while operational.

The unit does more than just cool. When in dry mode, it functions as a dehumidifier and it’s also an excellent heater, which makes it ideal for year-round use.

Some of the features include sleep mode, a 24-hour timer, a turbo mode for fast cooling, a pre-heating function, self-diagnosis, and intelligent defrosting.

The warranty on the product is excellent, but a licensed HVAC technician is required to do the installation.

  • Size: 35.5″ x 31″ x 15.5″ (Package dimensions)
  • Weight: 92.8 pounds
  • BTU: 9,000 BTU for cooling rooms up to 400 sq. ft.
  • Noise: 26dB (low), 35dB (medium), 41dB (high)
  • Smart functions: None
  • Energy-efficiency: 15 SEER
  • Refrigerant: R410A
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner, dehumidifier, fan, and heater.
  • Features: Sleep mode timer, low ambient cooling, temperature compensation, and turbo mode.
  • Included: Indoor unit, outdoor unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: 2 Year warranty on parts and a 5 year warranty on the compressor.


Commercial Cool 18,000 BTU

Commercial Cool 18,000 BTU

The Commercial Cool 18,000 BTU is pricey but worth it. It has 18,000 BTU which can cool an area of up to 1,000 square feet and an impressive energy-efficiency rating of 17 SEER.

The unit functions as an air conditioner, fan, dehumidifier, and heater.

Interestingly, the remote control has a feature called the iFEEL function, which has the temperature sensor built into it. This sensor is normally in the air conditioner unit itself, but having it in the remote control allows for precision temperature readings of the room. The control regularly sends the temperature reading to the air conditioning unit so that the unit knows whether or not to keep cooling.

Installation does not require a licensed HVAC technician, because a DIY install is perfectly fine. Doing so is easy too with the full-installation accessory kit and instruction manual (both included).

  • Size: 35.4″ x 12.2″ x 8.9″
  • Weight: 104 pounds
  • BTU: 18,000 BTU for cooling rooms up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • Noise: N/A
  • Smart functions: None
  • Energy-efficiency: 17 SEER
  • Filters: 1x Reuseable air filter
  • Refrigerant: R410A
  • Functionalities: Air conditioner, dehumidifier, fan, and heater.
  • Features: Sleep mode, timer, quick cooling/heating.
  • Included: Indoor unit, outdoor unit, a full-function remote control w/ batteries, an owner’s manual, and an installation kit.
  • Warranty: 2 Year warranty on parts and a 5 year warranty on the compressor.


Maintenance & care tips

A quality air conditioner is not exactly cheap. It would, therefore, be wise to follow the proper maintenance and care protocols to ensure that your system runs as it should. Additionally, you will also save on energy bills and prevent your unit from negatively affecting your health.


Maintenance and care for portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioner maintenance
Portable air conditioner maintenance.

You can greatly extend the lifespan of your portable air conditioner and save yourself a lot of money and hassles by following these maintenance and care protocols.

Here we will cover how to clean the exterior, the importance of cleaning and replacing filters, draining, inspecting coils, cleaning hoses and pipes, and share some off-season storage advice.

Take care of the exterior:

Keep your portable air conditioner looking like new by regularly wiping the exterior clean with a damp cloth. Be sure that the unit is off beforehand, and don’t use any harsh or abrasive chemicals.

Also, try to keep the unit out of direct sunlight because the sun can cause discoloration.

Clean & replace filters:

The type and number of filters differ from model to model. Reusable air filters and pre-filters must be cleaned regularly, while carbon/microbial filters should be replaced when necessary.

Many air conditioners available today have light indicators that let you know when it’s time to clean or replace a filter. Alternatively, check the owner’s manual for guidelines and instructions.

Neglecting to replace or clean filters will restrict the airflow inside of the air conditioner and interfere with its ability to cool.

Drain water:

Draining your portable air conditioner may or may not be necessary – depending on your unit’s features. If it has a self-evaporating or automatic draining function, then no need to worry. If your unit doesn’t have these features, then the condensation it extracts will collect inside a built-in pan or bucket. This water should be emptied out regularly because if it gets too full, the unit will automatically shut off until the water is emptied out.

Clean detachable hoses and pipes:

Most people who use portables neglect the detachable hoses and pipes. It’s recommended that these be cleaned from time to time to prevent mold and bacterial build-up.

Luckily, cleaning portable air conditioner hoses and pipes is easy. Soak them in a 50/50 vinegar and water solution for 30 minutes. Rinse them in cold water afterward to get rid of the vinegar smell, reattach the hose and pipes, and run the air conditioner in fan mode for 15 minutes.

Regularly inspect the condenser coils:

Condensor coils build up grime, mold, and bacteria over time, and those contaminants spread throughout your home when the air conditioner runs. It also decreases the unit’s efficiency and significantly reduces its lifespan.

And condenser coils are expensive, not to mention the HVAC technician you have to pay to come and fix it. In most cases, it would be cheaper to get a new portable air conditioner instead.

You will save yourself a lot of hassle down the road by keeping the condenser coils clean. Luckily, doing so isn’t difficult.

What you will need is a specially formulated AC coil cleaning detergent or make your own by mixing some distilled water with a bit of mild dishwashing liquid.

Put your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and spray it onto the coils. Brush them with a soft bristle brush until they come clean. Put some distilled water in a spray bottle and spray the cleaning solution off the coils and wipe them dry with a clean rag. Close the unit up and run it in fan mode for 15 minutes.

Off-season storage:

If you won’t be using your portable air conditioner for heating during the winter then you should put it into storage. However, it’s not as easy as simply packing it up and putting it away in some closet or garage until the summer.

  • Drain: The first thing you should do is manually drain all the water out of the unit. You do not want any water sitting in it for months because it’s going to grow mold.
  • Clean/replace filters: Clean all the filters thoroughly and replace those that need replacing. Dusty and dirty filters are food for mold.
  • Run the system with only the fan on: After you have drained the water out and cleaned/replaced the filters, run the air conditioner in fan mode continuously for 6 hours straight. By doing so, it will dry any wet parts inside the unit and thus prevent mold growth while in storage.
  • Power off: Turn the power off and remove the batteries from the remote.
  • Disconnect the hose: Remove the hose from the unit and from the wall/window through which you vent, but leave the connectors in place.
  • Cover and store: Cover the unit in plastic to prevent dust from settling on it, and put it back in its original box (if you still have it) before storing it in the upright position.

Maintenance and care for window air conditioners

Window air conditioner maintenance
Image is taken from consumerreports.org.

Clean the air filter:

A dirty air filter restricts airflow and puts the air conditioning unit under strain. It will also prevent the unit from cooling like it is supposed to. Be sure to clean it after every 4 weeks of use.

Keep it clean:

Keep your window air conditioner clean on the inside and the outside.

Wipe the front panel down periodically with some water, mild dishwashing liquid, and a cloth.

Also, cleaning the interior of the unit at the end of the summer season is extremely important. Failing to do so will attract mold and shorten the unit’s lifespan. Luckily, doing so isn’t difficult.

Please note: Ensure that the window air conditioner is unplugged before opening it. Also, stay clear from the capacitor because it stores electricity and can still shock even when the unit is unplugged.

Open the back of the unit and remove any debris such as twigs, leaves, etc, and vacuum up the dust. Wash everything you can reach that is dirty such as the fan blades and condenser coils with some water and dishwashing liquid. After everything is dry, close it up.

Remove the front panel and wash the evaporator coils too.

Off-season:

If you won’t be using your window ac for heating in the winter, then consider removing the unit from the window, cover it in a bag, and store it somewhere safe. Or at the very least, leave it where it is and cover it for the off-season.


Maintenance and care for ductless mini-split air conditioners

Ductless mini-split maintenance
Image taken from edwinstipe.com

Ductless mini-split air conditioners are the most efficient cooling systems available – but only if you keep them that way. Here we will share some basic mini-split maintenance tips. Just keep in mind that you should still get an HVAC technician to service the unit once a year.

Remember to unplug the system before cleaning.

Keep it clean:

Keeping your mini-split clean is important. Wipe the evaporator down once a week with some water, dishwashing liquid, and a cloth.

Also, open the compressor outside every month and remove any debris, followed by dusting and vacuuming all dust buildup. You can also hose the compressor down but make sure everything is dry before you close it up and turn the power back on.

Monitor the pipes:

Check the pipes from time to time to make sure that there aren’t any leaks.

Inspect the air filter:

Check the air filter once a month and give it a good clean.

Off-season:

If you won’t be using your AC for extended periods, then keep the compressor covered to protect it from dirt and debris.


Troubleshooting tips

Troubleshooting portable air conditioners

A white portable air conditioner.
A white portable air conditioner. Image taken from bestbuy.ca.

Leaks:

It’s perfectly normal for condensation to form on your unit as it cools warm air. However, if your portable air conditioner is leaking from underneath, check to make sure that the drain plug and other connections are securely in place. Also, check the reservoir to see if it’s full.

Vibrations:

If your unit is vibrating, make sure that it’s standing on a level floor. Hardwood floors can amplify vibrating sounds, so try putting pads underneath the wheels or let the unit stand on a rug to see if there is an improvement.

Not cooling as expected:

Check the following if it’s not cooling as expected.

  • 1: Clean the filters: Dirty filters restrict airflow and can hinder the unit’s ability to cool.
  • 2: Check the exhaust hose: Make sure that nothing is blocking the air outlet of the exhaust hose.
  • 3: Disconnect and reconnect the exhaust air duct: The exhaust air duct can sometimes get disconnected. Disconnect and reconnect it to make sure it’s on properly.
  • 4: Leave space for cooling: It’s recommended to leave around 30 to 40 inches of space between the back of the unit and the wall for efficient air conditioning.

Troubleshooting window air conditioners

Window air conditioner maintenance
Image is taken from people.com.

Rattling, vibrations & other noises:

Rattling, vibrations, and various other noises are the most common problem with window air conditioners. There is a long list of possible causes, but the first step is to find out if the noise is coming from the actual air conditioning unit or from the window where it is installed.

1: Window

If a vibrating or rattling sound is coming from the window, then it’s most likely that the unit wasn’t installed properly.

You can do a couple of tests such as pressing against different sections of the window while the air conditioner is running to see if it has an effect on the noise. Also, put a level on the AC unit to check if it’s level.

If the problem does stem from a faulty installation, place some weatherstripping between the unit and window so that it can fit snugly. Alternatively, get an HVAC technician to take a look.

2: AC unit

If the noise is coming from the actual air conditioner itself, then we have to pay attention to the type of noise it’s making, and where it’s emitting from.

Vibrating/rattling sound from the outside: Press against different areas of the front panel to see if the noise stops. If it does, then the panel has come loose. Check that the screws are tight.

If the noises are coming from inside the unit and sound like any of the noises below, then there is not much you can do. It would be best to call an HVAC technician.

Banging/clanking sounds: In most cases, banging/clanking sounds mean that there’s a problem with the compressor.

Humming sounds: The starting capacitor is failing.

Clicking sounds: It’s most likely that the thermostat is failing.

Hissing sounds: Hissing sounds means that there is a leak in the refrigerant line.

If none of the above sounds resemble what you are hearing, and if you feel comfortable doing so, open the back (outside section) of the window air conditioner.

Please note: Ensure that the window air conditioner is unplugged before opening it. Also, stay clear from the capacitor because it stores electricity and can still shock even when the unit is unplugged.

Check for dirt and debris: It’s fairly common for leaves, twigs, and other types of debris to make their way into the air conditioning unit. Remove any if present and thoroughly vacuum any dust and dirt you find inside.

Check the fan blades: The noise could be from the fan blades, so inspect them to see if they’re bent. If bent, gently bend them back into place with a pair of pliers.

Also, turn the blades by hand to make sure that they’re not hitting anything such as the insulation or housing.

Accumulated dirt on a window air conditioner fan blade can offset the balance, which results in strange noises. If dirty, wash them off with some water, dishwashing liquid, and a cloth.

Tighten screws: With time, screws, nails, and rivets come loose from the light vibrations. This also causes vibrations and rattling sounds inside of window air conditioners.

Re-drive nails, tap down rivets, and retighten all the screws.

Apply grease & lubrication: As an additional measure, apply some thick grease or oil to places where the casing touches each other. Those parts could be contributing to the noise as they rub against each other while the air conditioner is running.

Not cooling as expected:

The most common reason for a window air conditioner not cooling properly is a dirty air filter. Remove and clean the filter or replace it as per the owner’s manual.


Troubleshooting ductless mini-split air conditioners

Troubleshooting ductless mini-splits
Image taken from servicechampions.net.

A ductless mini-split can give problems from time to time. In most cases, when something does go wrong, the unit will display an error code that you can look up in the manual. We’ll also list some of the most common problems.

Water leaks:

If water keeps trickling down from the condenser while cooling, check if the condenser line is blocked. If it’s leaking while in heating mode, then it’s water from the defrosting process, and there’s no need to worry.

Not cooling as expected:

Check if the air filter is dirty if it’s not cooling as it’s supposed to. If it’s not the air filter, check the refrigerant levels. Just keep in mind that too much refrigerant can lead to multiple problems such as noisy operation, the unit not turning on, and unstable temperatures.

Another possible reason for a multi-split not cooling as expected could be ice buildup on the coils. Check the coils and remove any ice formations if present.

Noises:

It’s perfectly normal for a mini-split to make various noises on occasion. Sizzling sounds indicate defrosting, while squeaking sounds are the result of expansion and contraction. Refrigerant can also sometimes make a sound when it flows. But if these noises are very regular or hear more serious sounds, then you might need to get an HVAC technician to take a look.






How to reduce the electricity consumption of air conditioners

Choosing an air conditioner with a high EER/SEER rating is a great way to save on electricity bills and to lessen the negative impact on the environment. But there are also many other things you can do to significantly further lower these.

The following tips apply to all types of air conditioners covered here – portable, ductless mini-split, and window ac units.

The correct BTU rating

Always pick an AC unit that has the correct BTU for the space you intend to use it in.

For example, let’s say you want an air conditioner to cool your 350 square foot living room during those scorching summers. So you buy a 6,000 BTU unit and wonder why it takes so long for it to cool that space – if it’s even able to.

That’s because a 6,000 BTU is only powerful enough to effectively cool an area of no more than 250 square feet. If your living room is 350 square feet, then that AC unit has to work harder to try and cool those additional 100 square feet. It ends up using more energy than it is supposed to and also undergoes more wear and tear on its internal components.

An 8,000 BTU air conditioner is designed to easily cool an area of up to 350 square feet and would require less energy to do so than a 6,000 BTU.

Close the windows and doors

Your unit won’t have to work so hard if you can keep the cool air in and the warm air out. Do so by ensuring that all windows in the room are properly shut and if possible, close all doors.

Turn the air conditioner on early

If a hot day is expected, turn the unit on early while the temperature is still cooler. By doing so, the air conditioner will keep the room cool before the heat enters and thus use less energy.

Change/clean air filters

A dirty air filter restricts airflow through the unit and causes that dust to settle on the internal components. This slows your air conditioner down and causes it to use more energy.

Schedule regular maintenance

Getting an HVAC technician to inspect your window air conditioner or portable isn’t necessary if you do the maintenance and upkeep yourself.

A ductless mini-split, on the other hand, is a much more complex system, and it’s best to get a technician out yearly to make sure everything is still in order.


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