Updated: May 9, 2015

Air Conditioning Reviews:

When the weather outside begins to heat up, people seek the cool comfort of indoor air conditioning. Air conditioners comes in a variety of sizes, cooling capacities and prices. The most common type you have seen is the window air conditioner. Window air conditioners are an economical and easy way to cool a small area in a building or house. If you have central air conditioning in your house, then you probably have a unit on the side of your house that helps keep your home cool in the warmest summer months. Air conditioners are like refrigerators in that they use a refrigerant, like freon, to provide cooling. Window air conditioners are made small enough to fit into a standard window frame and the window is closed down on top of the unit. Removing the air conditioner cover will reveal a compressor, an expansion valve, a hot coil, a chilled coil, two fans, and a control unit. The warm air is pushed out while cool air is brought in. Air conditioners are rated in BTU (British Thermal Units). Window air conditioners might be rated at 10,000 BTU while a typical 2000 Square foot house would have a 60,000 BTU air conditioning system. Many cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix in the dead of summer reach temperatures above 115 degrees regularly and without AC, the people in the city would not survive. As global warming continues, cities like those will put major pressure on energy needs during the summer season as the temperatures rise above 120 degrees. See the portable air conditioner reviews down below.

Portable Air Conditioner:

Instead of putting an air conditioner in your window, the latest technology has portable air conditioners that sit in the room you are trying to cool off and a hose goes from the AC unit out the window (much less intrusive). You can move it from room to room. Most portable air conditioners can cool up to 400 sq ft with little effort. Portable air conditioners can not run without a vent and that is why they all come with a window venting kit. The general guidelines for room size in selecting a portable air conditioner are:
  • 7500 BTU: 150 square feet
  • 9000 BTU: 200 square feet
  • 1000 BTU: 250 square feet
  • 12000 BTU: 350 square feet
  • 13000 BTU: 400 square feet
The best portable air conditioner on the market is the Friedrich ZoneAire P12A Portable Air Conditioner and it sells for $500. Dont' be confused when looking for a portable air conditioner with an "air cooler". Portable air coolers are designed to cool your personal space and are not true air conditioners. Air cooler uses the evaporation of water to cool the air. Another top rated model is the Honeywell MN10CESWW which sells for $400 and offers 10,000 BTU cooling capacity. The Honeywell features a 24 hour timer, digital LED display, a remote control, 3 fan speeds, and will cool up to 400 square feet of space. You also get a flexible exhaust hose and a window venting kit that is simple to install. Roll the unit from room to room with the caster wheels. The 3M electrostatic filter is washable and easily accessable from the back. Want a quiet AC unit, then the Honeywell will be perfect at 50 dbA. Stores like Sears, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes all carry the latest brands and models from GE, Trane, Carrier, Goodman, Lennox, Sanyo, York, Mitsubishi, Rheem, Friedrich, Bryant, Coleman, Amana, Frigidaire, and LG. You can browse the top selling portable AC units online here.

Portable AC Unit for 500 Square Feet:

Have a larger area in your home that you want cooled off. Many modern home designs have big, bonus rooms in the upstairs areas and that is the space that tends to get the hottest in 2 story homes. Owning a Koldfront PAC1401W Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is certainly one solution. With 3 fan speeds, an adjustable digital thermostat, remote control and caster wheels, and a 24 hour programmable timer, the Koldfront is perfect for families that want to cool off larger rooms. The Koldfront PAC1401W has a replaceable carbon filter, window kit and vent hose, and an upper drain port if you want. The unit weighs in at about 75 pounds, but is easy to maneuver around the house. RECOMMENDED - The Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable AC Unit is the one that stands out to us and with experts. The Whynter offers 3 operating modes - fan, dehumidifier, and AC. The cooling thermostatic control with digital readout is easy to use and operate. The 24 hour programmable timer is a nice feature. The carbon air filter that is washable is a must for modern AC units. You get the window kit and extendable exhaust hose. The ARC-14SH is CFC free (eco friendly) and uses minimal energy. Some owners mention that the unit is noisy, but compared to what. We found the Whynter to be within the normal sound range for an AC unit this size. It's reliable, easy to move around, and does a great job cooling off larger family rooms, bedrooms, and workshops.

Central Air Conditioner:

Central air conditioning is "A system which uses ducts to distribute cooled and/or dehumidified air to more than one room or uses pipes to distribute chilled water to heat exchanger in more than one room, and which is not plugged into an electrical convenience outlet". Much like a heating system in a home that we are all familiar with, a central air conditioner does just the same, only with cool air. The AC unit usually sits near the side of your home and helps funnel in cold air during those hot summer days. Some of the larger homes built these days offer dual AC units so that you can control the temperature more evenly both upstairs and downstairs. One problem I find in our house is that with our central air conditioner running the downstairs thermostat, when it's 70 degrees downstairs on a hot day, the upstairs is still at least 5-8 degrees warmer as the hotter air has been pushed upstairs. If you own a home in a hot environment you need AC and if you have a 2 story home, then a dual level AC unit is the preferred choice for the best temperature control.