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3 On Your Side: Pick The Right Size Window Air Conditioner

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) - When temperatures soar, you really can’t put a price on comfort. But if you’re in the market for an air conditioner, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot.

At The Home Depot in Cherry Hill, the shelves are stocked with air conditioners and they are ready for a rush of customers. The Home Depot’s Ted Narleski says, “With the hot weather we expect more people to come. When it heats up we’ll be wiped out in three or four hours and then we’ll bring more down.”

Those shelves are stocked with window air conditioners with digital timers and remote controls. Other air conditioners are portable. “They’ll fit on the floor in front of your window. If you have a small window you can get a large BTU capacity with only the vent going through the window,” said Narleski.

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Before heading out to buy any window unit Narleski says, “They need to know the size of the window when they lift up the bottom sash; they need to know the width and the height.”

You’ll need to know your room size too. In general, a 5,000 to 6,000 BTU air conditioner can cool between 100 and 300 square feet. Seven thousand to 8,200 BTU units are adequate for cooling 250 to 550 square feet, while 9,800 to 12,500 BTU models cool up to 950 square feet. Prices start at just under $100 and depending on size, go up from there.

By the way, window air conditioners with on off shouldn’t be left running all day while your at work or your electric bill will be sky high. Turn it on when you get home. Those units are designed to cool off a room within a short period of time.

With central air however you don’t want to turn system completely off during the day because it will take forever to cool off your whole house. Most systems have programmable thermostats; set yours to somewhere in the high 70′s and you can always lower it when you get home to be a bit more comfortable.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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