Air Conditioning Buying Guide

When the weather gets warmer, we rely on fans and portable air conditioners to keep us cool at night and feeling comfortable throughout the day. From handy desk fans to sleek portable air conditioners, we’ve put together a useful guide to answer your questions and help you find the perfect fit for your home.

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.

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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.

Investing in a portable desk or tower fan is also a great way to keep cool on warm days. Simply plug into your nearest socket and enjoy the cooling breeze.

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.

With the right air conditioner for your home, you can enjoy those long summer days in complete comfort. Ensure that your home is ready for the sunny weather by taking a look at our handy garden furniture guide.



Writer and expert