It is officially hot out, and New Yorkers are looking for ways to cool down their cramped walk-ups.
When fans just won’t cut it, how do you decide which air conditioning unit is right for you?
“In New York City, every company … if you look at their box, they have some kind of chart that says if the room is this [big], you need this many Btu’s,” said Ranjit Singh, president of Long Island City-based Cool Air Inc. He is referring to a British thermal unit, which is the measurement unit for the energy generated by an air conditioner.
On average, you will need 1 Btu for every 3 square feet in your apartment, he said.
As for the best brands, Singh said most air conditioners these days are disposable after two or three years. Better brands such as Friedrich, which Singh called the “Rolls-Royce of air conditioning,” are worth repairing.
Mark Odulio of A/C NYC said Friedrich and Frigidaire have the best customer service and will replace or repair your unit if it breaks.
If you live in a studio and your oven is in the same room as your air conditioner or if you’re on the top floor of your building, you want to get a few extra thousand Btu’s to provide extra cooling, according to Odulio.
“You want to figure out the schematics from your room and go from there,” Odulio said. “If there’s anything odd that goes into the equation you basically want to add a few thousand Btu’s.”
But, he said, “the best unit to go for is not a window unit, the best unit to go for is a ductless split because it’s very, very quiet.” A ductless split is positioned outside of your building and has tubes running through the wall, blowing cool air into the apartment through a vent much like a radiator.
If you do have a window unit, be sure to follow the city’s safety code, requiring a bracket or other device that keeps the air conditioner in place.
Here are some of our air conditioner picks:
Among other features, these air conditioners are Wi-Fi capable and programmable from your iPhone — so you can turn them on before you get home. They also come in colors such as Cobalt Blue and Pink Diamond. Roughly $700 on Amazon.com.
These are washable and come with a remote control. Around $500 on Amazon.com, depending on the Btu’s.
This series of air conditioners is energy saving and quiet. Between $120 and $300 on Amazon, depending on the Btu’s.
LG Energy Star
The 8,000 Btu unit cools up to 350 square feet; it comes with a remote control and 24-hour programming. It goes for roughly $220 on Amazon.com.
Haier Portable Air Conditioner
These have a whopping 10,000 Btu’s, as well as a temperature and time display. Roughly $250- $400 at J&R Music and Computer World, with free shipping.
Midea Arctic King
These are on the more affordable side, with three cool and fan settings, a remote control and an LED display. They cost around $180 at J&R Music and Computer World.