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Before heading out to the stores to purchase an air conditioner there are a few things that you need to do. The following guide will help you to choose the right system for your needs.

1. Measure the size of the room or rooms that you want your air conditioner to maintain cool. To do this, measure the length and the width of the room then multiply the length by the width and the total of these two is the area measurement. When you go to the store you can give the salesperson this measurement and he/she will be able to tell you how many BTUs you need to maintain the area cool.

2. Decide where you will be installing your air conditioner. Usually it will be a window but there are a few air conditioners that are portable, which you can move from room to room. I would not recommend this type, as they do not compare in performance or strength as window air conditioners. You will need to measure the size of the window opening so that you can get the proper size to fit your window.

3. What type of voltage does your home have? Most homes use 120 voltage, which is okay for most air conditioners but if you need a very powerful system you may need to switch to 210 voltage.

4. All air conditioners come with an energy saver feature to cut down on the amount of electrical energy used. This information is listed on the tag of every system. It is usually a number between eight and eleven, the higher the number the better the system is at saving energy.

5. One more thing that you must do before going to the stores is to find out if a piece of furniture will be blocking any part of the air conditioner. If so, then you need to keep this in mind when shopping for systems. If the vents are placed on the left side of the system and you have a cabinet that slightly blocks the left side of the air conditioner then you will not get the proper coolness or area coverage from the system. The same goes for the right side. If you cannot avoid a piece of furniture from blocking the system, your best bet would be to find an air conditioner that has the vents across the top and measuring the full length of the air conditioner, with slats that allow you to change the angle of the air flow.

If you are purchasing an air conditioner to cover more than one room, keep in mind that the second room’s entrance must be directly facing the airflow of the air conditioner. The entrance has to be kept clear so that the airflow will reach that room. It can work, but be aware that if the room’s entrance is on any other side it will be very difficult for the air conditioner to maintain this room at a comfortable temperature. The air flows straight and though you may feel a slight difference in the room it will not be kept sufficiently cooled.

With this information you can make a decision on which air conditioner is right for your home, without feeling like you are at the mercy of the salesperson. Salespeople have a guide that they use to find out how many BTUs you need according to the area size you give them. You don’t have to take their word, ask them to show you the guide and look it up yourself.