help choosing a window AC

I'm posting looking for recommendations on a window AC unit. I'm considering the 12-18000 BTU range. The area I'm lookking to cool is 4 rooms together amounting to approx 500sq ft with 8ft cielings, but consider the one of those roos that I spend most ime in (which has all sorts of heat generating computers & electronics) also has no windows except for the one I've blocked off for and mounted an unsatisfactory 8000 btu cheap fedders window ac into. (hey, no windows for the prying eyes to see my most expensive possesions. This one is unsatisfactory on 2 points, 1, it barely cools this room, and 2, I can't understand a conversation with it running...LOOOOUUUD! Although in my next purchase how loud it is will be slightly less important because I likely won't mount it in this room but try to cool the entire floor from another. I realise the noise is supposed to be expressed with a bel rating, but it doesn't seem to be something that's advertised much when shopping for one. Also, going to a 220v unit will be a pain, so if something using 110 is availible it will get alot of points that way. The stores that are likely to sell them here are wal-mart (yuk), sears, home depot, and lowes.. so something availible at those stores is a big plus. So if anyone has a unit that they're highly pleased with within this description, you response would be very much appreciated! Thanks! Brian
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DA had written this in response to http://www.www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/help-choosing-a-window-AC-302217-.htm :
Brian wrote:

Beyond the noise and the coverage area (which is stated on the box but usually is overly optimistic, depending on how hot it gets were you live and how cold you like it) don't overlook a not-so-obvious issue of where the cold air exhaust is facing and how much of it you can divert and where. I've had a lot of problems with a window unit that was blowing cold air directly into the room right onto a person sitting in front of it (small room, no where else to move the desk). A cold or muscle pain or worse is virtually guaranteed that way. I had to go back and pick a unit based on a sigle factor - where exactly does the cold air go - it had to go straight up. When it pains, you'll quickly forget about noise, BTUs and coverage area. You would NOT want the cold air blowing on you even if the unit that provides that is too noisy and too weak. Good luck with your search!
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DA wrote:

http://www.www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/help-choosing-a-window-AC-302217-.htm
Unless you are overly critical of cosmetics, which you likely aren't if you're looking for a window unit, you can pretty readily fashion a deflector with a piece of cardboard and some tape that will direct the cold air where it should be going.
Most every window A/C unit I've seen has had a really inadequate vent / deflector setup. I had an 18k btu/h unit that in stock form had trouble cooling a 6' x 6' area in front of the unit due to the cold air mostly being sucked back in the room air intake. With a piece of cardboard and some tape I added a deflector to direct the cold air hard to the side where it created a circulation that cooled a large area evenly.
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insulate the walls floors and ceilings of the workspace to make the air conditioning more effective. always ventilate the stale air before you run your sir conditioner. the thru-the-wall units with wall sleeve are more expensive but give you privacy and allow you to still enjoy fresh air from the window. note the window ac's are usually not interchangeable since they use vents on sides. the wall units do their business out the rear only. look harder to find a unit that exhausts if possible. low end units usually lack a lever operated intake vent to cool fresh air. we have foolishly limited our air conditioner purchasing by window size and convenience of an electrical outlet, and those cheap air conditioners piled on a pallet with no features you need will be an inexpensive education as a gift to an 8 x10 foot low ceiling bedroom user with no pets in a temperate climate. if you are limited to a window installation, see if you can still add a window fan perhaps hanging inside the top of the upper sash for air changes. noise canceling headphones will cut down the roar of the air conditioner. search window air conditioners and find thorough specifications at: www.grainger.com
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I think the next problem you're going to have is that you will be dissatisfied with the 12-18K unit because it's difficult to cool 4 rooms with a window unit located in just one of them. Also, I'd figure out what the real issue is with the 8K BTU unit that barely cools the one room with the electronic gear. Is it that the unit is bad? Or is that there is so much electronics that it is the real issue? Today, when someone says they have a room full of computers and electronics, it could mean anything from a PC and TV to a server farm.
In any case, if that 8K BTU unit actually works correctly and barely cools that room, then I would say it's going to be impossible to cool it adequately with a 12--18K BTU unit in another room that has to cool not only it, but 3 other rooms. You just won't get enough air movement to deliver the cold air where it's needed. A better solution may be to get another 8 or 10K unit for the electronics room and redeploy the existing 8K unit to one of the other rooms.
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wrote:

dissatisfied with the 12-18K unit because it's difficult to cool 4 rooms with a window unit located in just one of them. Also, I'd figure out what the real issue is with the 8K BTU unit that barely cools the one room with the electronic gear. Is it that the unit is bad? Or is that there is so much electronics that it is the real issue? Today, when someone says they have a room full of computers and electronics, it could mean anything from a PC and TV to a server farm.
I'm talking along the lines of primarily covering a room with 2 pcs, a good sound system, and a 50" plasma, also being very stuffy due to the lack of airflow from windows. It's a real decent HT setup and the noise is an issue with friends over. I was considering mounting it in the next room to cut down on noise and help cool the rest of the floor.
In any case, if that 8K BTU unit actually works correctly and barely cools that room, then I would say it's going to be impossible to cool it adequately with a 12--18K BTU unit in another room that has to cool not only it, but 3 other rooms. You just won't get enough air movement to deliver the cold air where it's needed. A better solution may be to get another 8 or 10K unit for the electronics room and redeploy the existing 8K unit to one of the other rooms.
I would say if it was a GOOD 8K it would do OK except in the worst of ohio summer, but as it is. when you get a couple more bodies in here it stays quite hot and you can't hold a conversation over it. the afformentioned deflector may be a consideration too... I was just thinking if I had a larger unit in the next roon, this one might be sufficient to suppliment it when needed., but perhaps 2 smaller 10k units is he better consideration. thanks for the input.
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Brian wrote:

I think the brands are pretty much interchangeable. There's really no market for a high-end window unit, so the things are near the commodity end of the scale.
Energy consumption, noise, looks, are almost identical.
I'd find the highest BTU/cost ratio I could - probably at Walmart.
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I like to cut holes in the wall to install mine. You generally need a slide out chassis and you have to make sure your wall will not block any louvers. Small ones are quieter than large ones. I prefer several small ones scattered around rather than one giant one blowing cold air on me and making a racket. Just keep buying small ones and installing them until you are happy. You have to make sure these get plenty of power. If you short them on power they will fail right after its to late to return them to the store. I would run a new circuit from the breaker panel for each one. They make a easy egress point for burglers. All they have to do is push the unit out of its housing and crawl in thru the hole. New ones are much quieter than old ones and come with remotes. The window to shop for them is small. They are only stocked once and as soon as the hot weather arrives they get bought up quickly.
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You have a few considerations. Window units are designed to work in one room only. Putting a large unit in one place will require some fans to circulate the air to other areas. Either blow the hot air to the room with the AC or blow the cold air into the hot rooms. Size wise, about 14,000 Btu is the limit for 120 volt units too.
Window units are fairly noisy, but there are a couple of brands that are better (or were in the past) such as Freidrich.
The stores you list as possible sources, tend to carry the low end products. If you want cheap, you'll get cheap. A real appliance store may have better options and better units. If you are interested in Energy Star units the price will be much higher too.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Do you have forced-air heat? If so, the more effective way to deal with this (due to the number of rooms involved) is probably central air, which is easily added to houses with forced-air heat. I however, have hot water heat. :-(
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