window air conditioner

We’ve been putting it off because the temperatures haven’t really hit the 30’s yet, but the time has come to think about how you plan on staying cool this summer. If you want to keep a room or two chilly but don’t want to freak out when you see your energy bill, a window air conditioning unit is a great choice.

There are quite a few benefits to them – these self-contained units will cool off an entire room without taking up a lot of space, they’re much more efficient than the old ‘window shakers’ of the past, and many of them are Energy Star rated so you’ll know you’re still choosing an eco-friendly appliance. Plus, they’re easy to install and easy to use.

How to choose a window air conditioner

air conditioner front

There are a few things you should consider when choosing a window air conditioner. Start with the size of your room – because a window air conditioner cools a room based on BTUs or British Thermal Units, you’ll need to choose the right window air conditioner for the square footage of your room. So if the square footage of your room is 300 square feet, you’ll have to choose a window air conditioner that’s at least 8000 BTUs.

I made the mistake of having a window air conditioner in my own room that wasn’t powerful enough, and in the hottest days of the summer it really struggled to keep the room cool. That means I was wasting power because it was working so hard. You can also have a window air conditioner that’s too large for the room, and in that case you may find you’re struggling with a humidity issue.

I’ve now picked up an 8000 BTU window air conditioner, and it’s perfect for my 350 square feet of living space.

Shelly wrote a great post on how to properly size your air conditioner so check that out for more information. But for quick reference, here’s a handy chart:

100 to 150 square feet 5,000 BTUs
150 to 250 square feet 6,000 BTUs
250 to 300 square feet 7,000 BTUs
300 to 350 square feet 8,000 BTUs
350 to 400 square feet 9,000 BTUs
400 to 450 square feet 10,000 BTUs
450 to 550 square feet 12,000 BTUs
550 to 700 square feet 14,000 BTUs
700 to 1,000 square feet 18,000 BTUs
1,000 to 1,200 square feet 21,000 BTUs


Besides the square footage of your room, you should also consider whether or not the room has high ceilings, if it’s a kitchen you’re trying to cool, and whether your room is in direct sunlight or partial shade. All of these factors will affect how well your window air conditioner performs.

How to mount a window air conditioner

Incorrectly installed window air conditioner

If you’ve ever seen a window air conditioner hanging precariously from a window, you’ve probably ducked and run. All it would take is one good slam of an inside door and it could tumble to the ground.

Knowing how to install and hang a window air conditioner properly is the key to air conditioning success. To install a window air conditioner, you’ll need to mount it in a window. Double-hung windows will easily accommodate standard sizes like the Danby 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner.

You can also hang a window air conditioner unit in a vertical window, but you may have to pick up or create a custom enclosure to prevent the cool air from heading outside.

back of air conditioner

The window air conditioner must sit level, with the warm air release facing to the outside and the cool air facing inside. If it’s not properly supported, it could easily crash to the ground, so be sure you install according to the manufacturers directions.

Once your air conditioner is installed, all you’ll have to do is kick back and enjoy the cool air. There’s nothing quite like knowing you’ll sleep like a baby during the hottest days of summer, all because you took the time to install a window air conditioner.

Check out a few of the great window air conditioning units that are ready to keep you cool, and don’t forget to take a peek at all of the fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners available right now.