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June 3, 2013

Assess needs before purchasing appliances

PLATTSBURGH — It’s time to crank up the AC and fire up the grill. 

Air conditioners and barbeque grills are two of summer’s biggest expenses. Here are a few guidelines to make sure you purchase the right ones:

AIR CONDITIONERS

Kevin McKee, sales manager at Wilson’s Appliances in Plattsburgh, says if you’re buying an air conditioner, first determine what type you want: a window, portable or built-in model. All come with their own pros and cons.

For example, a window model needs to be temporarily installed annually.

And don’t be fooled by the term “portable.”

“You’ll still need some sort of exhaust for the hot air,” McKee said.

Portable air conditioners come with a hose similar to a clothes dryer. In addition, portable ACs are more expensive and less efficient than their window counterparts.

Next, you’ll need to determine the size of the room or the space you’ll need to cool. The term closely associated with an air conditioner is BTU or British Thermal Unit, and there is a general rule to follow.

“Take the square footage of the room you’re trying to cool, multiply times 10, and add 4,000,” McKee said.

Let’s do the math. If you have a room that’s 20 by 10 feet, that’s a 200-square-foot room. So 200 square feet times 10 equals 2,000. Add the additional 4,000.

“So you’ll need a 6,000 BTU air conditioner to cool that room properly,” McKee said.

Keep in mind you’ll probably need more power, BTUs, in a room that gets full sun or is placed in a working kitchen.

For pricing, the higher the BTU, the more expensive.

In addition, McKee says that if you’re a light sleeper, you may want to consider the AC noise level. Dial models tend to be noisier.

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