Simple tips to keep cool
If a new air conditioning unit is top priority to make your life bearable this summer, it is important to choose wisely.
The most important factor is to match the size of your room to the size of the appliance. An air conditioner that is too small will not be able to cool a room, while one that is too big costs more to operate and cools the area so quickly it won't have time to remove enough moisture, leaving a cold, clammy room.
To determine the proper size, measure the square footage of the area you want to cool. Increase the capacity for a kitchen or a room usually occupied by more than two or three people.
Cooling capacity is measured in BTU/hour (British Thermal Units per hour). The higher the number, the more powerful the unit.
A room of 150 sq ft may only need a 5,000 BTU/hour unit, whereas a room of 1,000 sq ft may need a 18,000 BTU/hour unit.
Room size is not the only factor that contributes to the capacity. There are other factors including the number and size of windows, direction the room faces, available shade, how well the room is insulated, how many people use the room and the number of appliances present.
Remember also that external blinds or even trees can help to cut down the heat entering a room.
Inside, curtains and blinds are not as effective at keeping out the heat as external shading. However, they can still have an effect, and heavy block-out curtains do a better job than thin blinds. Internal shading will also assist in keeping the cool air in.
There are also many types of glass that can help keep out the sun and assist in making a home energy efficient.
If you are in an older building, getting the windows tinted may be an option.
Also check the sealing around windows and minimise gaps to help reduce unwanted hot air coming in.
Most air conditioners do an excellent job of cooling and come with convenient features such as a digital display, built-in timer, remote control or touchpad controls.
But some models are noisy and this a big factor to consider.
The least noisy units are generally those that have a split-system because the compressor is located outside, as opposed to one that hangs in the window.
Energy efficiency aids can also save money as settings stop the fan when the unit is not cooling.
An air conditioner with a timer that can be turned off when you're out or set to turn on just before you expect to get home is convenient and also saves energy.
Air conditioners with a dehumidifying mode can keep you cool and comfortable.