Window A/C Units

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I need to pick up a smallish window A/C unit, something in the 6-8K BTU range, more or less. Probably off Craigslist, unless new ones are not expensive. Anyway, what's a good brand to look for? Something reliable and quiet? Anybody got any recs?
 
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They are all built by 2-3 companies and different names/designs put on the front. I would find something that looks reasonably well built that is affordable. Get a unit that is bigger than it needs to be to cool the space, this will help save the compressor from having to work too hard and extend its life. All I can help you with!
 
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Look at the model number. There are usually 3 offerings of the same model. On Whirlpool (iirc) it will have an A,B,or C suffix. The C is the lowest grade. I don't know how they cheapen it. Maybe they don't at all and just alter the warranty on it. Most Rent-A-Center stuff is the "C" offering (son was a manager about a year ago).
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
Get a unit that is bigger than it needs to be to cool the space, this will help save the compressor from having to work too hard and extend its life.
From what I've read it's better to have one a bit small so it removes the humidity, a too large one cools off the room before it removes the moisture leaving the room cool but clammy.
 
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lewdwig is right, do NOT get one too big, because it will run a short while, get it cold, but will not dehumidify, you you have a damp cold. better to get a smaller on that runs continuously and dries the place out nicely, because it is mainly humidity that makes it uncomfortable. Almost all of the modern AC units are MUCH quieter than the older ones from 20-30 years ago. Get one with the electronic controls, and that has a built in timer. some of them have a special plating on the aluminum radiator part that is supposed to maintain the efficiency of the unit better as it approaches 5-10 years of age.
 
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check out the free standing units they have now. I have a buddy who drains his into the sink.He did not want the security issues of a window unit.
 

Al

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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
Get a unit that is bigger than it needs to be to cool the space, this will help save the compressor from having to work too hard and extend its life.
As mentioned its better to go with a smaller unit. The smaller unit dehumidifies much better and actually cycling the compressor off and on cuts down on life. After 30 years+ of window units I can tell you that the compressor is good for...who knows... I have never had one fail. They can run 24-7 Frigidaire made some nice units and they were made in the U.S. (As of 4 years ago) Our 6800 BTU unit cools a room 18 x 20 with a cathedral ceiling and 3 exposed walls. The spillover from that room keeps our kitchen/dining room comfortable also.
 

JHZR2

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freidrich X-star is super quiet, lasts, is made in the USA and is amongst the most efficient small AC units. Otherwise id probably just go to the closest supermarket or box store and pick up the manual control 5500BTU daewoo or equivalent for $89-99. Less variables or risk compared to buying a used one...
 
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We're a central air household. But like many older folk, we've had many window/room units over the years, and I still have to buy them from time to time for older relatives. Quiet is a big factor, depending where it's going to be, bedrooms especially and that varies GREATLY among brands. Not just inherent compressor and fan noise, but case rattles and vibration caused from poor internal mounts and construction. A poorly designed unit with high vibration can torture you at night with window rattles. Also, getting an undercapacity unit is better than an overcapacity one, for many reasons. But getting the correct capacity is always best. Google up an AC calculator to get a precise range. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. The two brands to look for if you want a quiet, well-made, quality performing unit are Panasonic and Friedrich. Pannys are dead quiet. A top Friedrich can cool a little better, though. Sanyo also made a decent unit. Others, such as some Carriers and the sino brands (Haier) will work, but can be very noisy, with little annoyances such as broken knobs, sloppy air filtration and poor air distribution. I would avoid these used unless the price was right. Sears is very hit and miss, depending on who is making them at any time. In the'50s and '60s, their Coldspots were wonderful. Very good through the '70s. But I've seen their models from the '90s completely fail after one or two seasons. Avoid the split units. They are more troublesome and less efficient, and not necessarily any quieter. The only one I ever liked was a Philco-Ford model from the early 60s. Note that it is almost impossible to buy an "all-US" made unit anymore. Even the Friedrich X (we have an almost new one packed up in our basement, not for sale) has a Korean compressor.
 
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While I agree on central air sizing being critical, I don't feel that way on window units. There is no central air unit that I've ever experienced that has an outlet temp like a window unit. That is ..my living room with the 13k btu unit is a meat locker compared to what most would set there central air thermostat. A window unit is going to work out to a given temp at a given duty cycle. A central air unit is going to work out to a given duty cycle for a given thermostat set point.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Cogito
I need to pick up a smallish window A/C unit, something in the 6-8K BTU range, more or less. Probably off Craigslist, unless new ones are not expensive. Anyway, what's a good brand to look for? Something reliable and quiet? Anybody got any recs?
In window units, Friedrich is the king. They're a smallish company out of San Antonio so I don't know if they're well-distributed in your area. They were founded in 1883 as a furniture company, moved to building refrigerated display cases for stores and saloons, and have been building AC systems since the 30s and now specialize in window units. Wonderful little machines, most models still made in USA (except many use LG compressors, but so do all the other brands.) http://www.friedrich.com/
 
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 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
A window unit is going to work out to a given temp at a given duty cycle. A central air unit is going to work out to a given duty cycle for a given thermostat set point.
I don't agree with that AT ALL. They're called air conditioners, and not coolers, for a reason. If anything, the operating margins with window units are much smaller and less forgiving. Because the system losses with a window unit are usually smaller, and the room volume less, an overcapacity window unit will not dehumidify properly, will cycle excessively, will use MORE electricity, and will have a shorter service life (unless you keep it at meat locker temps). It's the same as with a central system, except on a smaller and more intense scale. The reason more exacting effort is made to spec out a central system is that you are usually dealing with professionals and a $6-10k+ investment, vs. an appliance salesman and a $250 sale. A well-designed window unit, properly sized, will condition as well as a central system, to the same temperature, and comparable humidity levels, albeit with greater local air movement and noise. The fact is, most consumers buy TOO MUCH capacity when it comes to window units. They also don't run them 24/7 like a central unit, but tend to flip them on high/max to quickly cool off a steaming hot room, winding up with that "clammy" cold that window units are sometimes known for.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
They're a smallish company out of San Antonio so I don't know if they're well-distributed in your area.
Friedrich is a well known and available brand in most US markets. Very popular here in the northeast. It's usually my first or second choice if price is not a major factor. They ARE more money, but worth it, IMO.
 

Al

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 Originally Posted By: Cogito
So do you think 6K BTU is enough for about 500 sq ft, low sun exposure?
More than adequate. As mentioned..less is more when it comes to capacity. And as mentioned I have an addition with 3 walls and roof exposed to outside, cathedral ceiling and a 6800 unit that cools more than that addition. AC contractors would recommend twice this bc they want people to be cool instantly (No call backs). ] Again this is the internet..not a totally reliable place to get answers. But it would be more than adequate for me.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Chris Meutsch
A Fridgidaire from a certain big-box store that's colors are blue/white would be a good choice.
Sears? Walmart? Lowell's?
 
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 Quote:
I don't agree with that AT ALL.
It's still a free country
 Quote:
They're called air conditioners, and not coolers, for a reason. If anything, the operating margins with window units are much smaller and less forgiving.
I beg your pardon?
 Quote:
Because the system losses with a window unit are usually smaller, and the room volume less, an overcapacity window unit will not dehumidify properly, will cycle excessively, will use MORE electricity, and will have a shorter service life
This goes under the false assumption that you're attempting to mimic central air like conditions in a compartmentalized/modular manner.
 Quote:
(unless you keep it at meat locker temps).
Which I think I eluded to in my post (I may have left that off).
 Quote:
It's the same as with a central system, except on a smaller and more intense scale.
This I might have left off. No one thinks a heat pump outlet temp is "warm". It's the same with central air. You're missing the perception aspect of it. With a heat pump you will not feel the warmth from the radiant surface (baseboard/radiator/whatever) ..nor will central air automatically soak up everything you're emitting at the moment. Sizing is surely critical for de-humidification (duty cycle) ..and I have no argument with that. In fact, I tell everyone NOT to go bigger on central air units. Window units, OTOH, I see no issue with putting them on FULL and leaving them on to do whatever they're gonna do. I LIKE COLD AIR ..not just sensibly comfortable. That level of output would be difficult for a central air unit at anywhere near the same cost.
 Quote:
A well-designed window unit, properly sized, will condition as well as a central system,
Again, this is under the assumption that one feels central air provides "well conditioned air" as I define it.
 Quote:
to the same temperature, and comparable humidity levels, albeit with greater local air movement and noise.
Again assumes that the same temperature is desired. The local air movement is one advantage of merit something lacking in most central air systems.
 Quote:
They also don't run them 24/7 like a central unit, but tend to flip them on high/max to quickly cool off a steaming hot room, winding up with that "clammy" cold that window units are sometimes known for.
That's their advantage. A central air unit takes a long time to effect change from set point. A window unit does not. I an "open ended" max duty cycle, the window unit offers rapid cool down allow the unit to remain idle when that room or area is not in use. Naturally, if you're putting on a blanket to watch television, it's probably time to turn the thing off. There's sensible limits to window units. For a bedroom, you're not (probably) going to run a dedicated power source. You're going to be using 120VAC. That pretty much limits the size of your unit. Now a living room that's open to a dining area?? There a 12k or more is not a waste.
 
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