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Air Conditioner Buying Guide

A comprehensive air conditioner guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a new air conditioner.

Getting Started

Take the edge off of smoldering summer heat with an air conditioner perfectly fit to your space. This buying guide is your complete reference for anything and everything air conditioner. BTUs, voltage, styles, and modern features are covered in detail so you can make sure pick out the right air conditioner for you and your home.


Picking the right air conditioner with the right BTUs is both cost effective and energy efficient. Problems can occur if the air conditioner is oversized for the space or too small for your area. The more cold air that comes out – the more area it needs to circulate to avoid giving the thermostat a false reading. If your AC is too big, the cold air bounces off the walls, back onto itself giving the thermostat a false reading. This will cause the compressor to shut off and not removing enough moisture from the air leaving the room cold and clammy.

First, determine the square footage of the room (multiply length x width).  Below is a handy chart that will help you find the right size room air conditioner to meet your needs.
Room Size(Sq. Ft.) Room Size(Sq. m) BTU
100 up to 150 9 up to 14 5,000
150 up to 250 14 up to 24 6,200
250 up to 300 24 up to 28 7,000
300 up to 350 28 up to 33 8,000
350 up to 400 33 up to 37 9,000
400 up to 450 37 up to 42 10,000
450 up to 550 42 up to 51 12,000
550 up to 700 51 up to 65 14,000
700 up to 1,000 65 up to 93 18,100
1,000 up to 1,200 93 up to 112 21,000
1,200 up to 1,400 112 up to 130 23,000
1,400 up to 1,500 130 up to 140 24,000
1,500 up to 2,000 140 up to 186 30,000
2,000 up to 2,500 186 up to 232 34,000


Casement Air Conditioners
For windows that swing out to the left or right (usually with a hand crank).

Portable Air Conditioners
Can be used in a windowless office or room, although a room with a window is recommended for venting. These can be used in any room, but they must be ventilated so that the exhaust can go somewhere outside of the room.
Wall Air Conditioners
These are installed through the wall of a building and require a sleeve. Sleeves are sold separately and can be found in the air conditioner accessories category.
Window Air Conditioners
For windows that slide up and down.  This AC is installed to take in outside air, filter it, and release cold air into your home.  Accessories can be purchased to assist in ensuring a perfect fit for any window.
Central Air Systems
If you are looking to do away with portable or window air conditioners, Abt Electronics is licensed to install central air systems.  This service is only for our Chicagoland customers and individual homes will need to be estimated before choosing a central air system as well as installations.

Call us at 888-228-5800 for further information and pricing inquiries.

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They also have convenient features like digital displays, built-in timers, and remote controls. Some units have touchpad controls, and a few even change the direction of the airflow automatically to better disperse cool air throughout the room. Some of the following are features to consider.
Ability to Direct Air Flow
Air conditioners generally have levers you can adjust to direct airflow vertically or horizontally. But most are better at directing air toward one side or the other. Consider your room layout, and look for a model that can direct the airflow where you need it.

Poorly designed controls are a constant annoyance. Touchpads with large LED displays, large and distinguished buttons, clear labeling, and digital temperature readouts are easier to use. Instead of the traditional bathtub-like "warm" and "cold" controls, the digital age of appliances gives us accurate digital read outs and percise control - down to the tenth of a a degree. Some high-end models can also be connected to a home wireless network, and controlled on a mobile iPhone or Android application. You can control the thermostat while on vacation, in the office, or in the air to make the most efficient use of your home's energy.

What's my plug type or how many volts I need?
Your plug type will let you know how many volts you need. You can compare your outlet to see how many volts you need and also what type of plug your air conditioner requires.  Below is a chart signifying what the plug will look like and its electrical information.

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