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Old 02-27-2017, 09:08 AM
 
50 posts, read 24,284 times
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Back in Florida, I always had central air. It was basically essential. Now that I live in Boston, I find central air unusual and ultimately rented one of the many places without any A/C at all. I'm permitted to have a window A/C unit, though.

I've never owned one before. Any suggestions on what to seek out and what to avoid? About what time of the year should I have on in place by? It seems disappointingly warm already this year and I hate the heat.

Thanks.
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:14 AM
 
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Just read the recommendations on the boxes to determine the size of the unit needed. A small unit is usually large enough to cool off a bedroom, and you can often buy one for < $100. You won't need to use it every night, but it will come in handy for those hot spells ( usually not longer than 3-4 days). You probably wown't feel the need to use AC much until late June, or so, with the exception of a humid day or two..
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassVt View Post
Just read the recommendations on the boxes to determine the size of the unit needed. A small unit is usually large enough to cool off a bedroom, and you can often buy one for < $100. You won't need to use it every night, but it will come in handy for those hot spells ( usually not longer than 3-4 days). You probably wown't feel the need to use AC much until late June, or so, with the exception of a humid day or two..
Thanks for the advise!

In my case, I'm on the top, west facing floor and the building of ~50 units controls the radiator heat. So it's filtering up to me even with the valves shut on my radiators. It was actually surprisingly uncomfortable inside on Saturday despite the nice weather outside...
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:41 AM
 
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How much space are you trying to cool? One bedroom, or an entire apartment?


You can usually find 5000-8000BTU unit's pretty cheap, under $100. Whether or not that will do the job depends on layout and space, as it may be easier to cool off an apartment with 2-3 5000 BTU units, than with 1 15000 BTU unit in the living room.


Electrical load is also a concern. Is this a modern apartment with grounded 15A circuits? Are the rooms on separate circuits?


Window AC's seemed to have become throwaway units, when bedroom sizes units under $100. I've sold some surplus units on Craigslist as well. I'd say as long as you have them in by June, you should be ok.


It's not so much the heat in this area that's an issue...it's the oppressive humidity.
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:25 AM
 
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For your living space, if you are really concerned about comfort I'd get a unit with a timer. You can set it to turn on 30 or so minutes before you'll get home so you come home to a cool place--especially nice if some of your commute is outside. You'll have to set the timer every day unlike a programmable thermostat.

A timer isn't worth it for the bedroom because you can just go in and turn that one on 30 minutes before you're heading to bed.

We put ours in our bedroom at the end of May, I think, but I don't sleep well in the heat.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:33 AM
 
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Any window unit should be fine. I'd just get the cheapest one for sale.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:04 PM
 
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Read the Consumer Reports article from last May. You can't read the detailed reviews but you can at least see their recommended models from a year+ ago. I'm sure some of them are discontinued by now. That's a bit better than the "buy the cheapest one" strategy.

Energy Efficient Window Air Conditioners - Consumer Reports

Timers and remotes are certainly useful features.
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
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Some years ago I was living in a small apartment without central air. The living room had sliders out to the deck so the only window in which I could put an air conditioner was in my bedroom, which shared a wall with my living room. I was encouraged (not by a salesperson; by family and friends) to buy a BIG (i.e. many thousands of BTUs) unit and it would cool the whole place since the number of BTUs matched the square footage of the whole apartment. Yeah. That didn't work. The air didn't "turn the corner" outside my bedroom door to cool my living room. So I plugged in a standing fan right outside my bedroom door, pointed towards the living room, to push the cold air into the living room. Yeah. That didn't work either. So if you have a one-bedroom apartment, and you don't have DAMN SLIDERS in your living room, get two units -- one for each room. Learn from my mistake.

As to the heat rising to your apartment because it's controlled for the whole building, can you contact management to lower the temp? I'm sure that they'd love to save heating costs.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:44 AM
 
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AC units have become better with time. I agree with Dawn, get a cheapie. Unless you own a place, I would go light weight and undersized. (I am in the HVAC trade) Even these cheapies (love that term) are way better than the older ones. Giving it a good cleaning once a year, really helps all around. Welcome to Boston.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:47 AM
 
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For the window units, GO LIGHTWEIGHT as most likely, you will need to remove it for the heating season and re install it for the cooling season. If you own, and can put in a "thru the wall" unit, those things are really a good alternative to a central air system as well as reasonable for installation costs.
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