CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coastal Bend is already experiencing blistering hot temperatures, and the summer has just begun. In times like these, we need to remember to stay cool. Central AC units can run about $10,000 and take weeks to install. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also says a fan should not be anyone's main source of cooling off this summer.
So what's the solution?
For some, the answer may already be in their homes.
Window AC units are an alternative to both central cooling systems and fans. As one shops for a window unit, one needs to pay attention to the BTU (British Thermal Unit). A BTU is a measurement of how much of an area the unit will cool. A lower BTU will work for one room, and a higher BTU will be better for covering a larger area.
"If you do your whole house, you probably want to get a 20,000 BTU unit for the living room and a couple of 5000s for the bedrooms, depending on how many bedrooms you have," AC expert Angel Solis said.
Filters are extremely important. Window AC units will work at their best if they're cleaned regularly.
"If you already have one, clean it once a month. If you buy a new one right now, you can get through the whole summer without cleaning the back, but if you have one you’ve used for a couple of years, you definitely want to clean it twice this summer," Solis said.
To clean a window AC unit, the owner should spray the back and rinse it with a hose to get the dirt off; that way, it runs better.
Some things to remember if someone installs their own window AC unit
- Get it as close as you can to an outlet
- Put it on a side where there is shade
- Do not plug it into an extension cord
The most important tip to stay cool this summer is something that can be done in a matter of seconds.
"You want to keep it on all the time. You don’t want to be turning it on and turning it off because it’ll take more energy to keep your room or your house cool. Once you get the walls and the flooring cool, you want to keep it on that temperature and that’ll save you on your energy bill," Solis said.
The temperature the window AC unit should be kept on is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. By cleaning a window AC unit once every month it should last five to six years, keeping you cool in the summer now and saving you thousands of dollars in the future.