How to Buy the Right Type of Air Conditioner for You


imagesChoosing the right air conditioner unit, when central HVAC may not an option, involves several factors. To determine what type of air conditioner to buy, consider the following questions:

  • What type of window space can I install a unit in?
  • Is an in-wall or slide-out unit possible?
  • How many BTUs do I need to effectively cool the room?
  • Will it need to be portable?

You may also need to factor in the ease of installation and the energy efficiency the AC unit offers.

Window Space

Types of air conditioners vary depending upon the window space available. A vertical hung sash window that opens up and down typically can accommodate a standard window air conditioner, while a slider/casement style AC unit is needed for casement windows that crank open or slide open horizontally. These types of indoor air conditioners sit on the window sill with the window partially open, held secure in place by the window sash and/or other manufacturer recommended methods.

In-Wall or Slide-Out Window AC Units

The chassis is the supportive frame for a window air conditioner unit. Units built with a slide-out chassis can be removed and may be installed through a wall inside an air conditioner sleeve (which may require brackets for support.) Certain in-wall AC units can be installed so they sit flush with the wall, creating a sleek, minimalistic look. In-wall and slide-out chassis air conditioner units don’t have the same side-vents a regular window air conditioner has, but they do offer a high cooling capacity ideal for bedrooms and offices.

Note: The thickness of your wall will determine if installing an in-wall air conditioner is possible.

About BTUs

BTUs, or British thermal units, are units of energy. Cooling is measured in BTU per hour. According to, “Based on size alone, an air conditioner generally needs 20 BTU for each square foot of living space.” On average, most window AC units or portable air conditioners range from 5,500 BTU per hour to 14,000 BTU per hour. You may also see units with a cooling capacity size of a ton. A ton, in air conditioner cooling terms, means that unit has a rate of 12,000 BTU per hour.

While the size of the room is key in figuring how much BTU is needed, don’t forget to consider how much sun or shade the room receives, the effectiveness of the room’s insulation and the height of the ceilings — it takes more energy to cool a room with 9-foot or higher ceilings.

Tip: When buying a window air conditioner, avoid one that is oversized (too high BTU) for the space. Use a BTU calculator to figure the right size for the space.

Portable AC Units

A portable AC unit is an ideal choice if your room has only one window or a window AC unit isn’t permitted by your landlord. Consider a portable air conditioner for rooms that need supplemental cooling, such as offices, enclosed porches or loft rooms. You can find units with timers, multi-fan settings and that are easy to move from room to room as needed.

Trust P.C. Richard & Son for all your air conditioner needs, including wall sleeve replacement air conditioners and accessories such as filters, sealing foam, brackets and covers for when the unit is not in use.



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Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Efficiently


As the temperatures rise, so do energy costs. We all know running the air conditioner during the summer months can be quite costly, but a cool home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some tips on how to keep your air conditioner running efficiently while keeping those energy bills low, without compromising your comfort.

Keep the Cool In and the Heat Out

Make sure your home is properly sealed. Check your attic to make sure it has been properly insulated. If you can see the attic joists, you will need to add more insulation. Check your windows and doors for drafts and seal up any cracks with caulking or weather stripping.

Help Your Air Conditioner Breathe

Air conditioners consume a lot of energy, but there are a few tricks that will help lower their energy consumption. Remember to check the filters. Filters can compromise efficiency so you want to make sure to clean them or replace them. Keeping your air conditioner out of direct sunlight will also improve performance. To help with air circulation, keep fences, decks, bushes and other obstructions away from your unit.

Be a Fan of Fans

Investing in a ceiling fan will help move air around your home and improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.  With the help of a fan, your unit will not have to work as hard and this will help lower your energy costs.

Keep Your Curtains Closed

Of course natural light can help keep your electric bill low, but if nobody is home during the day, keep the curtains closed. Keeping the sun’s direct rays from entering the house helps reduce the amount of effort your air conditioner puts forth to keep the house cool.

Reduce the Humidity

Use a dehumidifier when the temperature rises. Eliminating the humidity in your home will make it feel cooler and more comfortable. When using a dehumidifier combined with fans you can set your air conditioner on 75 degrees saving you on energy costs.

Upgrade to a More Efficient Unit

Have you tried all the tricks, but still aren’t getting the results you want? It may just be time to spring for a new one. Newer systems are more efficient then systems from 10 years ago and can help trim your energy bills by 20% or more.

If you are looking for an air conditioner, P.C. Richard & Son is your air conditioner headquarters! We have a huge selection of wall and window air conditioners at the guaranteed lowest prices. Shop online or visit us at one of our 66 locations. Stay cool!


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Simple Tips to Save Money This Summer While Enjoying The Comfort of Your Air Conditioner

As the temperature rises, so does the electric bill. Running your air conditioner during the summer months is quite costly, but with these simple tips you won’t have to sacrifice your comfort to save some money.

Do you have the right size?

When it comes to maximizing your comfort while minimizing your electric bill; size matters. If you purchase an air conditioner that’s too large you could be throwing away money, however purchase an air conditioner that’s too small and it’s likely you’re not cooling your space efficiently. Having the right size air conditioning system is key. Whether you have a window air conditioner unit or a portable air conditioner unit, you need to make sure your AC has the right number of BTUs for the space you are trying to cool. Check the charts below.


Although the size of the space is important, it is not the only factor. Think of how many people will be occupying this space, is it more than two? If so add 600 BTUs for each additional person. Is the space very sunny? If the space you want to cool lets in a lot of sunlight increase BTUs by 10%. If the unit is for a kitchen add 4,000 BTUs.  You also need to check that the space you are cooling is properly insulated. If cool air is escaping this can affect the amount of BTUs needed as well.

When was the last time you cleaned the filters?

If you can’t remember that is probably not a good sign. The most important maintenance task to ensure efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely clean or replace the filters. A clogged, dirty filter blocks normal airflow and reduces the unit’s efficiency significantly. Cleaning or replacing a dirty air filter will lower energy consumption of your air conditioner by 5-15 percent.

Some types of filters are reusable and others must be replaced. You should clean or replace filters every month during the summer season. You may need to give filters more frequent attention if your air conditioner is in constant use, subjected to dusty conditions, or you have a dog or a cat, or any other fur-bearing pet in the house.

As well as filters you should also check your evaporator coil once a year and clean it as necessary.

Setting the right temperature and mode

Most pros would agree that setting the temperature so that it only varies a few degrees is best for efficiency. When nobody is home bring the temperature up a few degrees and drop it when people are home. Set your air conditioner on auto. When you leave your air conditioner running constantly, the system won’t have a chance to drain off the water that’s condensed on its evaporator coil. Instead, it will blow it back into your home. In “auto” mode, the unit has a chance to recover and remove all accumulated condensation each time it shuts off.  The idea is to keep a comfortable temperature maintained. Remember dropping the temperature does not cool an area any faster, but it does use more energy.

At night give your air conditioner a break. When the temperature drops in the evening open your windows and use fans to circulate the cold air.  Fans use much less energy than an air conditioner. In the morning you should shut the windows to trap the cold air in.


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5 Things You Need to Know About Air Conditioners

When the temperatures rise an increase in air conditioner use is the result, there are some important things you should know about your units. Here are 5 things to watch out for and techniques for increasing the life and efficiency of your air conditioners.

1. Change the filter often during the cooling season

While your air conditioner is cooling you off, it’s acting as an air purifier as it prevents outside debris from blowing into your home. When was the last time you took a look at your unit’s air filter? Cleaning or changing it will increase efficiency, decrease your energy bill, and can potentially benefit your family’s health. Make a mental note to clean the filter at least once a month in the summer to keep your A/C running like new.

2. Leaks can affect the performance of your air conditioner

Window A/C units are always difficult to seal correctly. To see if you have a leak around your windows, light a stick of incense and hold it where the unit and window frame meet. If the smoke blows around, there’s a leakage. Nothing a little foam, tape or weather seals can’t fix!

3. You can increase efficiency by placing the unit on the north or east side of your house

The sun, the reason why we need air conditioners in the first place, can really affect the output of your units. Try to shield them from the sun as much as possible, as putting them in direct sunlight reduces their efficiency by up to 10%.

4. Shield the unit inside, too

Increase the life of your unit by closing blinds and shades around the unit when you are not in the room. You should also consider running floor or ceiling fans (that are turning counter-clockwise) as well to aid in cooling. The air conditioner doesn’t need to work as hard and will therefore last longer. Plus, fans will move the dry air your air conditioner dehumidifies around.

5. Air conditioners have changed considerably from 10 years ago

Cooling technology and federal laws for efficiency have come a long way since the last time you may have purchased a window unit; the investment you make now could very well pay for itself over time. When purchasing a new unit, check the energy efficiency ratio, or EER. Devices with higher numbers will cost less to operate.

Ask your P.C. Richard & Son sales associate or click our live chat help on any product page on our website for information on how to keep cool this season. You can also check out our Learning Center for informational videos on air conditioners.


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