Year: 2017

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The Smallest Air Conditioners that Jack Recommends

Howdy, folks-

 

One question I get a lot in this business has to do with figuring out how you can best work around a house that doesn’t have central air, but needs some climate control. I know as well as you do that a lot of portable air conditioners are bulky and awkward to use, so we’ve spent a lot of time trying to help people find the smallest options on the market.

 

It’s a tough nut to crack because like a lot of appliances, the larger the air conditioner, the more power it’s going to put out. You can downsize to something that’s appropriate to your space but eventually there’s a threshold where the compact a/c unit just can’t keep up with the air in the room and it’ll struggle to make a difference. The other problem I know I’ve run into from the installation side of the picture is that we’ve had more than a few buyers call us back because their compact machines stopped working pretty shortly after we’d gotten them set up. So, trust me, I know it’s a struggle to find the small machines that actually work well.

 

In my experience, the smallest of these portable a/c units that actually works well is made by Edgestar. They have a range of air conditioning equipment out, but I’ve actually found that the smallest ones are the best, since their larger units are a bit iffy in the quality department. Somehow, it seems like they’ve got it right with the smallest one. The one I like the best is called the Ultra Compact, specifically the 8000 BTU model. It’s good up to about 200 square feet, so it’s enough to easily tackle your average bedroom. That’s the most common application I’ve seen for one of these, but it would also be good if you’ve got a home office that gets too hot. I was also pleased to find that they integrated a dehumidifier into the design. As an HVAC guy, I’m used to explaining to people that what’s making them uncomfortable isn’t always the heat by itself, it’s usually to do with the humidity as well. This is one of the only small machines I’ve seen that does both and does them well.

The one caveat I would make as far as this Edgestar machine is that it’s really small, and you have to know what to expect from it. It can’t handle anything more than 200 square feet, and you should probably round down further if you’re expecting it to make a drastic difference (like taking things from 90 down to 70). But for what it is, I think it’s really great, and I’ve heard mostly good things from clients who’ve had me install one.

 

For larger spaces, the best compact unit I’ve seen is Friedrich’s P12B from their ZoneAir series. It’s a bit bigger than the Edgestar but it’s still relatively compact, about the size of a drinks cooler or something like that. The major difference is this one has two hoses, which makes it more effective, but it also takes up more hose space and it needs more room in the window. I would still say it’s worth it, though, because it’s a great machine. It dehumidifies like the Edgestar and this one even evaporates all the moisture so you don’t have to empty a bucket. You should be good for about twice the range on this one, up to 400 square feet. Buyers who’ve gone with these are really impressed with the reliability–which is even better than the Edgestars and definitely better than Frigidaire’s, who make the other common A/C’s at this size class.

 

If course, those are just the portable ones. You can go a lot smaller with a/c units for an HVAC system, probably to the tune of about half the size, since the unit doesn’t have to have its own fan power onboard. You also don’t notice the size as much on an HVAC system because you’re almost certainly going to be installing all the equipment in the basement. I know HVAC a/c’s are more pricey, but as a professional who installs these things for a living, I can tell you that it’s always a smarter move to upgrade your HVAC than to go for the portable route.


For everyone else, I’d recommend either the Edgestar or the Friedrich as the best, smallest air conditioner you can use to make a real difference in a room or two, or in an apartment size space. Give me a shout if you have any questions about which one to go for, or what you need to do for you windows to get the exhaust hoses hooked up.

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How to Beat the Heat in Summer!

Howdy, folks–

 

Today, I want to talk to you about some easy ways to beat the heat this summer. What with climate change and the warming planet, it’s hotter than ever and it’s as much of a struggle as it ever has been to stay cool. We deal exclusively with heating and cooling–it’s our whole profession, so we thought we’d put together a few tips for staying cool, which I’m going to share with you to help you get through the heatwaves without having to suffer.

 

The biggest thing you can do to feel cooler in your body is to drink a lot of water. Remember folks, heat is something you feel as much as it’s something around you. If you can help your body out by giving it its natural coolant, you end up feeling the heat less painfully. One thing a lot of people don’t know about water is that while you want it cool, you shouldn’t ice it down too much, because your body actually has to heat it back up to process it through your system, which just makes you sweat more. So, drink at least 2 liters of cool, but not freezing cold water every day.

Also in the body department, you have to take some steps to get your sweat under control, because that’s one of the things that makes heat feel so unpleasant. I always wear linen and light cotton shirts in the summer because any polyester or thick weaves make me get drenched during the day.

 

Stick to cold foods, instead of having anything hot. I always like a lot of fresh fruit, salads, that sort of thing, and a cold soup for lunch really hits the spot at the office and at home, anywhere.

 

Don’t stop working out! Yep, you heard me! Working up a sweat in summer by running or biking outside will actually help you in the long run because you’ll sort of sweat yourself out, and your heart rate will relax more after your workout, so you can just relax and stop being anxious about sweating constantly.

You can also pay attention to your windows, which have a big effect on how hot your house gets! Double glazing and insulation are usually tricks to keep a house warm, but they do the same thing to help you keep your house cool. You should also pay attention to where the sun’s coming in, because believe me, nothing heats up a house like full sun in the summer! If you use your curtains right, you can really save on your a/c bill and make a big difference in your home temperature.

 

You can also do some direct relief on your body if you know where to apply cold for the best benefits. There are a few places on your body that are like pressure points for your internal temperature, so if you can cool them down, you can bring your whole body temp down really quickly. Your wrists and the back of your neck are big temperature regulators, so a cold washcloth or an ice pack can do a lot to get your internal temperature under control!

 

And of course, the number one way to beat the heat in the summer is to air condition your house. If you don’t have central air in your house, you should get a small air conditioner to keep at least your bedroom cool. We can help you out with that, so give us a shout if you’re in need of assistance!
Stay cool, folks, and thanks for reading!