When to Use an Air Conditioner in Your Room

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It's an unusual building these days that is constructed without the inclusion of central air systems. Designers try to ensure that the whole building will stay comfortable, be it a house, apartment, or business. Nevertheless, there are still many rooms that can benefit from a room air conditioner.

An example would be my family's home. It is a two story house with a bedroom upstairs located directly on top of the attached garage. That room has never been comfortable. It is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Setting the thermostat to ridiculous levels will only partially help, and then the rest of the upstairs gets uncomfortable. It's silly to have to use a blanket while watching tv in June! And you can correctly guess what the utility bills are like.

We tried everything short of a new central unit or major duct alterations. The ac contractors we've had out all sound great, but the bottom line is always big bucks without guarantee of success. The room is not close to the thermostat, has several windows, and little air flow, so yeah, it's bad.

Can a room air conditioner solve such a problem? You bet! In a situation like this, direct action is warranted. Put the air where it is needed! With a thermostat! That's what a room air conditioner will do. In doing so, it will save the exhausted central system from a short life of working too hard. And that translates to saved dollars. Depending on the situation, it may even result in reduce energy usage, despite having added another device.

The conditions above are probably the most ideal circumstance for a room air conditioner. This is when the unit supplements a central air system that isn't quite cutting the mustard. It's a common set of conditions, often seen in connected add-on rooms, small offices, and apartments. These rooms get air flow from a central ac, but are still too warm, cold, or both. Some reach comfortable temperatures for a short while, but lose it faster than other rooms, so they don't stay that way.

Some rooms need to be kept at temperatures different from the rest of the building. The most common example of this is the computer server room. Servers run constantly and put out a lot of heat, especially when there are several together. They are often kept in a small room, which consequently gets hot. Heat is bad for servers. A cold room helps them work better and prolongs their life span. If a building is put up with a planned server room, a dedicated central unit is often included just for that room, even though it is small. But when a room is converted to a server room, if it already has central supply, adding a dedicated central unit is costly and usually unnecessary. A portable air conditioner can get the temperature down to acceptable levels at much lower cost, and inherently adds a thermostat to the server room.

A room not connected to central air may still be a good situation for a room air conditioner, but the circumstances should be considered even more carefully. For example, an office inside a warehouse, or other building with no ac, garage apartments with no connection to central ac, and commercial apartments without ac. Even things like closed garages and trailers may be aided depending on the particulars. These uses usually require a model with more power than would be normal for the room size. Certainly, there are circumstances where a room air conditioner is not likely to be adequate. Most are not designed to be used where existing temperatures in the room are above about 86 degrees.

As always, the best type of room air conditioner will depend on the room setup and needs of the individual circumstances. Some research into portable, window, and split type models will go a long way towards making this decision, and may reveal many options. Expert help is highly recommended to ensure the best choice.