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Your guide to buying air conditioning

Designed to keep your rooms feeling fresh and comfortable, air conditioners are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and prices brackets, making it easy to find the unit that’s perfect for your needs at Homebase.

What types of air conditioners are there?

For the purpose of this guide, when we talk about air conditioners we’re referring to portable appliances that draw hot air in, cool it down and then circulate this colder air throughout a room. Though static units are available that can be built into walls and windows, most air conditioning units in the UK are portable, allowing you to move the appliance to wherever it’s needed in your building.

Mini air conditioners

Perfect for small spaces like home offices or kids’ bedrooms, mini air conditioning units are an affordable and effective way to reduce the temperature of a room.
Generally, mini air conditioners feature fewer functions and are less powerful than larger units so worth using with a desk fan or standing fan for even better cooling performance.

Mini air cooler

Tower fans

With more functions, quieter motors and higher energy ratings than mini units, tower fans are perfect for quickly cooling down larger room’s spaces and busy homes.
With features such as timers, automatic oscillation and digital controls, these hardworking, portable units can make a big difference to the temperature of a room and increase your comfort on a hot day.

Tower fan

Portable units

Portable air conditioners come in a range of designs with a variety of features, functions and programmes.
From omnidirectional casters for easy manoeuvrability to self-evaporating systems and auto-restart functions, we can help you to find a portable air conditioning unit to fit your specific requirements.

Portable unit

How do air conditioners work?

When the appliance is switched on, air is drawn into the unit and passed over a cold evaporator coil, where it’s cooled and some of the moisture removed. The air is then re-circulated into the room, reducing the overall temperature and humidity.
At the same time, a chemical refrigerant in the system absorbs the heat from the warm air before venting it to the exterior of your home via a hose. As the air cools, water is released into the air conditioning system. This either empties away through an external drain or is collected in a tank that you can remove and empty when full.

How cold can I make a room?

All Homebase air conditioning units have a minimum cooling setting of 16˚C or 18˚C and a maximum setting of 32˚C or 35˚C.
Though an air conditioner’s effectiveness will depend on the size of the room it’s placed in and the conditions, in general, this should be enough to maintain your perfect temperature, keeping you cool and comfortable whatever the weather.

How can I ensure my air conditioner is working efficiently?

Ensuring your air conditioner is working efficiently will not only help it to cool your home or office more quickly, it will also keep your energy bills down.
When installing your unit, it’s sensible to make sure that the hose expelling the warm air goes directly to an exterior window. If the air escapes inside your home, then your unit won’t be able to cool the space as efficiently.
Closing windows and doors will also help to cool your space more efficiently, while keeping blinds and curtains drawn will prevent your interior being heated by the sun.

What features should I look for in an air conditioner?

Adjustable thermostat

An adjustable thermostat allows you to have complete control over the temperature of your room while the unit is operating, which is really important for maintaining a constant, optimum room temperature inside your home or office.

1-12 or 1-24 hour timer

A timer will allow you to select a specific operating period. Once this period has ended, the air conditioner will switch itself off, reducing wastage and saving you money.

Washable pre-filters

Washable pre-filters remove dust, dirt and hair from the air being drawn into the filter, improving the air quality of your home, and preventing your air conditioner from becoming clogged up and working less efficiently. These filters can then easily be removed, cleaned and replaced.

Mode settings

Some air conditioners have up to four different mode settings, allowing you to either cool, dehumidify, fan or heat the air as needed – making them suitable for use whatever the temperature.

Energy efficiency

As with many household appliances, air conditioners are given an energy rating to show their efficiency. A’ rated units are the most efficient and ‘G’ are the least, and the better the efficiency of your air conditioner, the less money it will cost to run.

What are BTUs?

When browsing our great range of portable air conditioning units, you’ll notice that all appliances carry a British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating. This rating gives an indication of how much cooling the machine is capable of, and the higher the BTU rating, the larger the volume of air the unit can cool.
For a general guide on air conditioning costs, the first number of the BTU rating will refer to how much an appliance costs to run per hour in pence. For example, a 9,000 BTU air conditioner will cost 9p per hour to run, and a 12,000 BTU air conditioner will cost 12p per hour.

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