When the temperatures hit 30 degrees in the house, it’s officially time to start using the air conditioner. I remember being completely confused the first time I went out to buy one, but after brushing up a bit on the ins and outs of air conditioners, I was ready to pick the best one for my house. So how do you know which type of air conditioner is right for you?

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before choosing an air conditioner:

  • Where will I put the air conditioner? The choice you’ll make will be different if you’re trying to cool off your kitchen or if you just want to cool off the bedroom at night. If you need to put it in your kitchen, you may have to choose an air conditioner with more BTUs.
  • Do I want to move the air conditioner? The answer will mean the difference between choosing a portable unit or a window unit.
  • How big is the space I want to cool off? Square footage is one of the main factors in purchasing an air conditioner with more BTUs, so check out your square footage and find out how high your ceilings are before purchasing.

Tom wrote a post on how to properly size your air conditioner and he’s got a handy chart there to show you the approximate BTUs you’ll need for your square footage, so check that out. It’s also helpful before buying if you brush up on a few terms you’ll see when choosing your air conditioner:

  • BTUs – The power of your air conditioner is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. That means a unit with 10,000 BTUs can cool a larger space than a unit that’s 5000 BTUs.
  • Energy Star – Units that are Energy Star rated will save you on your electrical bill each month.

Choose a portable air conditioner

If you want to move your air conditioner from room to room and use it different spots during the day, you should . A unit like the Haier 3-in-1 dual-hose 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner will cool up to 550 square feet of space and has cool, fan, and dehumidify modes. The great thing about this unit is that it requires very little maintenance and it’s very quiet, so you can put it in your rec room while watching movies and not worry about a loud annoying hum. You can also move a portable air conditioner into your kitchen if you need to bake or make heavy use of the stove on hot summer days.

Choose a window air conditioner

If you plan on having your air conditioner in one room only, you may want to choose a window air conditioner. These units mount in your window and must vent outside, so you’ll need access to a window to use one. A window air conditioner like the Danby 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner will cool up to 550 square feet of space, has 3 fan speeds, and lets you adjust the airflow in 4 directions. It even has a remote, so you don’t have to get out of bed to turn it up or down.

Utilize your fans

Once you have your air conditioner set up, you can utilize fans to maximize airflow through your house. By strategically placing your fans in spots near your air conditioner, you can increase the cool factor in areas of your house. Check out the post I wrote about mapping airflow with fans and air conditioners.

I love to sleep in cold air, so I credit my air conditioner with giving me the best sleep I’ll have in the summer. It’s also nice to be able to use the kitchen as I would normally use it without baking myself in the process.

Now that you’re an air conditioner expert, take a peek at all of the Air Conditioners and Fans available on Best Buy right now.