Today's window air conditioners are a far cry from the energy monsters of yesteryear. Today's a/c units are much more energy efficient, smaller, and more effective at cooling your home. Many units also have additional features that include voltage sensors and air purifiers, which can all be controlled remotely. When you're in the market to purchase a new window air conditioner, you'll notice that there are many options to consider, including 110-volt and 220-volt units, all with various BTUs. Keep reading to learn more about 110v and 220v air conditioners so you can choose the best one for your home:
It's All About The Volts
The average electrical outlet in a US household is 120 volts, though it's spoken as 110 volts. This means you can plug a 110 volt window air conditioner into any outlet in your home. In order to operate a 220-volt a/c unit, you'll need a 220-volt electrical current that runs along a wire directly from your circuit breaker to a special 220v outlet. In a nutshell, a 220-volt circuit is 2 110-volt circuits put together. While you may not have 220-volt outlets throughout your home, this is the type of plug that is typically used in the kitchen for appliances like your dishwasher and oven.
If you plug a 220v air conditioner into a 110v outlet, at the very least you will blow a fuse. You could also damage the air conditioner, or worse, start an electrical fire. Luckily, you can hire a licensed HVAC technician or electrician to convert a 110-volt outlet to a 220-volt outlet in no time.
Plug In Power
As you can imagine, a higher-voltage window air conditioner will be more powerful than lower voltage units. Smaller air conditioners, which are considered to be units that are less than 7.5 amps, can be plugged directly into any 110v outlet. But you should not have anything else plugged into that outlet to avoid power issues.
Large window air conditioners are considered to be units that use more than 7.5 amps. These should be plugged into a 115-volt outlet with its own circuit. The largest window air conditioner units require a dedicated 220-volt circuit in order to properly and safely operate in your home.
Size Doesn't Always Matter
In terms of an air conditioner, bigger isn't always better. An a/c that is too large for the space will not cool a very large room uniformly, will greatly increase your energy bills, and will often make the room feel damp or clammy. A smaller air conditioner that operates efficiently for an extended period of time is usually best, because it will create an even temperature throughout the room, and will be more effective at removing the humidity in the air. Buying a small, energy efficient air conditioner will ensure your energy bills don't skyrocket with the extended use.
It's All About The BTUs
When shopping for an air conditioner for your home, you need to consider the size of the room you want to cool. Generally speaking, you will need 20 Btu per square foot of living space. Once you've calculated how many Btu's you need, you can find air conditioners that meet that requirement. Then consider the type of outlet the unit will be plugged into, and buy an air conditioner accordingly.
Now you should have a better idea about the differences between a 110-volt and a 220-volt window air conditioner. When shopping for a window air conditioner for your home, always consider the size of the room you want to cool, and your home's electrical system. If you are set on using a 220v air conditioner but you don't have that type of outlet in the room, you can hire a licensed residential electrician to change an outlet and create a dedicated circuit.
If you have any questions about choosing the best air conditioner for your home or upgrading to a 220-volt outlet, contact your local licensed HVAC technician. He or she will be happy to help you.
For more information, contact a company like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc..