Greetings ladies and gentlemen! It’s Memorial Day weekend and the official beginning of the summer season. Over here in Kansas City the weather has pushed over ninety degrees for nearly a week. That’s nothing though folks as the real fun begins in the July and August months. We routinely have weeks straight of one-hundred plus degree heat. It’s brutal and makes me thankful that I have an office job. If you’ve ever had to work in this type of heat you know just how miserable it can be. As my father likes to say, “It’s DAMN Hot!” With such encroaching temperatures everyone is looking for a way to get relief.
Now most people end up going into their office or their home and enjoying their traditional central air conditioning system. They don’t even really think about it. It works and that’s all they know. But what happens if you live in a place where a central air conditioner just isn’t an option? Or, what if it’s just not affordable? There are many examples of older apartments or older homes that just don’t have the duct work routed in order to accommodate a central system. The cost of adding and retrofitting duct work to an existing house is astronomical and that isn’t even taking into consideration the actual cost of the unit. For so many people these expenses are just not an option. I know I couldn’t afford it.
The best option that people are left with are window air conditioners. These miracle workers allow people from all walks of life to enjoy a nice cool breeze in the dead heat of summer. The beauty of window units is that you can get one and get your bedroom cooled for only a couple hundred dollars. Compare that with a central system where you’ll end up spending thousands. The question now though folks is what brand of window air conditioners should you be getting? Should you be looking at Koldfront or somewhere else? On top of that what sized window unit do you need? What features?
In this article we’re going to go over all of those questions and more. Our goal here at RefrigerantHQ is to provide you with the knowledge to make an educated decision on your new window air conditioner. After all, the worst thing you can do is impulsively buy something and then find out once you’ve installed it that it is not what you were looking for or that it simply won’t work for you. (Trust me folks, I’ve done this before and it’s not fun to admit you made a mistake… especially in front of your wife!) Let’s dive in and take a look:
Koldfront Brand Name
Before you get into a product it is best to know the brand name, but not only to know it but to understand it and it’s history. After all, the brand name is a very powerful thing. If you think about it would you rather have a Coca-Cola or a Sam’s Choice Cola? I’m betting that most of you would pick the Coke. I know I would. That’s the power of a brand name. You know quality and you know what to expect. This same relationship between brand and quality is no different when it comes to window air conditioners.
The Koldfront name is a brand from the Livingdirect company. (Think of it like how Pepsi owns the Mountain Dew brand name.) Koldfront was originally founded back in 1999 by Rick Lundbom. While that may not sound like a lot of years of experience Rick and his company have made it their mission to provide new and innovative appliances and they have not relented over the years. Think about this for a second: Koldfront is competing with the names out there such as Frigidaire and General Electric. Two gigantic companies that have been around for over one-hundred years but yet Koldfront has thrived and grown since their 1999 beginning. That says a lot about the company right there.
While their brand name can be found on portable dishwashers, wine coolers, and other appliances their main focus and drive are window, wall, and portable air conditioners. With a Koldfront air conditioner you can count on three key factors: High-quality craftsman ship, affordability, and durability. Along with that you get their innovations and ingenuity. Remember, most of the time the big changes come from the little guy who’s hungry for business. The question to you now is do you want a new and upcoming business to make your product or do you want to stay with the tested and true names like Frigidaire or Friedrich?
Like with anything you purchase it is always best to weigh and consider all possible options and features before you purchase. This is even more so when looking at window air conditioners. If you buy the wrong sized unit you could end up with your unit overworking and costing you more energy, or you could end up with the unit running constantly resulting in a much higher energy bill and not having a fully cooled room. Along with that you need to make sure that the unit will fit in your window, will have the right outlet, and so much more.
In order to fully understand what kind and what size of window air conditioner that you need you first need to understand British Thermal Units, or BTUs. BTUs are the traditional measurement of heat. When looking at air conditioners BTUs are used to measure the cooling capacity of your window or portable air conditioners. The higher the BTU number the more powerful and the more cooling capacity your unit has.
Most people use a measurement of around thirty BTUs for each square foot of living space that you wish to cool in your home or office. If we use that same measurement we can do some math based on a seven-thousand BTU air conditioner. If we take that seven-thousand number and divide it by thirty we get an approximated square footage of two-hundred and thirty. So, in this case seven-thousand BTUs would have enough power to cool a larger bedroom or office. (Remember that square footage is just a calculation that can be done by measuring the width of bedroom and the length of a bedroom. Once you have that you multiply the numbers together and presto, you now have your square footage.)
Remember though folks that bigger isn’t always better. You want to ensure that you get the proper sized unit for the room that you are trying to cool. If you purchase something with too few BTUs then your unit is going to be working overtime trying to cool the room. If you purchase something that has too much BTUs then your unit is going to be costing you extra on your electric bills and you will also develop warm and cold spots throughout the room due to the larger sized unit.
Lastly, I will emphasize this one more time. BTUs are one of the most important decision you can make when purchasing a window air conditioner. Getting this number wrong or right will determine exactly how well your new window unit will perform.
We all know that old adage, measure twice and cut once. Well the same rule applies to air conditioners. Always always always be sure to measure the width and the height of your window to ensure that the air conditioner that you will be buying will fit and will fit correctly. To get even more specific you may even take into consideration the depth of your new AC unit and see if there are any trees, shrubs, or anything else that could obstruct exhaust flow of your unit. Remember folks, that heat has to go somewhere and if there is something obstructing your exhaust your air conditioner isn’t going to have a good time.
As I said before it is best for you to measure the window so you know exactly what you are dealing with but I will give you this bit of advice. Most windows found in homes today range between twenty-four to thirty inches wide and forty-eight to fifty-six inches high. If you are unsure of the dimensions of the air conditioner you are wishing to buy, the manufacturer’s official product page will have the full details for you.
EPA’s Energy Star
The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency has a rating for window air conditioners. This rating is called Energy Star. The Energy Star program was founded back in 1991 and was originally designed to regulate and improve the energy usage of lighting in larger commercial buildings. (Think large office buildings or warehouses.) Since it’s found in 1991 the Energy Star program has changed and adapted over the years. Today it is one of the leading sources on finding out exactly how energy efficient a product is.
On the window air conditioning side of the world the Energy Star is measured by whats called Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. For a window unit to qualify for the Energy Star program the unit must have an EER rating of 10.0 or higher. Now, I won’t say that every Frigidaire unit is Energy Star certified what I can say is that a good portion of them are. Remember, that if your unit is Energy Star certified that means less costly monthly energy bills.
115 Volts VS 220 Volts
Most of the time this won’t apply to you but if you are going to be purchasing a larger window air conditioner then you should definitely stop and think before you purchase. What kind of plug-in does this air conditioner have? Does it come with a standard one-hundred and fifteen volt plug, or does it comes with a two-hundred and twenty volt plug?
I’ve seen this trip a lot of people up. The worst thing you can do is order a unit, have it come, get it installed, and then when you go to plug it in you realize that you don’t have the right outlet for it. I can just see myself doing this with my wife standing over my shoulder telling me I should have checked before I ordered. (I can’t be the only one, right?)
Koldfront Window Air Conditioner Products
Ok folks so now that we have reviewed the Koldfront brand name and what considerations that should be taken into account we can now begin to look at some of the Koldfront products that are out there. Now, when I shop I have to ask myself one question. Do I need the product right away, or can I wait a few days? Most of the time my answer to that question is that I can wait a few days. In that case I like to shop on Amazon.com. The reason that I do this is two fold. The first is that their website allows me to easily research the product. I can see reviews, questions and answers, and even product dimensions/weight. The other is that most of the time Amazon has a very competitive price that lines up with most of the other retailers out there. The best part about it is that I don’t have to leave the house and drive for a ways just to pick something up. (I live out in the country and driving to a store isn’t an easy venture.) Instead, I opt for having the product delivered to me.
Ok, enough about me. Let’s take a look at some of the Koldfront window air conditioning units and what they have to offer:
- Koldfront WAC8002WCO 8,000 BTU
- While most models from other brands start at around five-thousand or six-thousand BTUs the Koldfront model WAC8002WCO starts out at eight-thousand BTUs. It is rated to cool rooms up to three-hundred and fifty square feet. Depending on your home this could be your master bedroom or perhaps even your living room. This product is Energy Star rated by the EPA , comes with a remote control that works as far as sixteen feet away, and comes with energy saver modes such as sleep and dry mode.
- Koldfront WAC8001W 8,000 BTU
- The Koldfront WAC8001W is the sister product to the unit we mentioned above. The WAC8001W however has additional features such as a digital display and a built in electric heater as well as an air conditioner. It should be noted though that while this unit has a heater the BTUs on the heater are only rated at thirty-five hundred whereas the air conditioner is rated at eight-thousand. This heater is meant as a supplement to other heat sources. Like the WAC8002WCO this unit is rated to cool rooms up to three-hundred and fifty square feet.
- If it were me I would choose the WAC8002WCO over this model and buy an infrared unit instead. The infrared will you give you sufficient heat and then you don’t have to pay the extra premium for the air conditioner/heater combination.
- Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU
- The Koldfront WAC10002WCO is the next step up coming in at ten-thousand BTUs. It is rated to cool rooms upwards to four-hundred and fifty square feet. This could be a living room or a two bedroom combination at the end of your hallway. Like other Koldfront models this unit is Energy Star certified by the EPA, it has a energy/economy saver mode, a twenty-four hour programmable timer, as well as a sleep and dry mode. This unit is still relatively light weight as well only coming in at around sixty pounds. Installation shouldn’t be too difficult.
- Koldfront WAC12002WCO 12,000 BTU
- The Koldfront WAC12002WCO comes in at twelve-thousand BTUs and can cool rooms or areas up to five-hundred and fifty square feet. This type of cooling power can be used to cool the majority of a second floor, a decent sized apartment, or a large living room. The product is Energy Star certified with the EPA, comes with an energy saver mode, a sleep and dry mode, and a twenty-four hour on/off programmable timer. Again, this is still a lighter weight unit only coming in at around seventy pounds.
- Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU
- Ok folks, if you are truly looking for a solid air conditioner and heater combination then the Koldfront WAC12001W is the unit for you. With this product you get twelve-thousand BTUs of cooling power and eleven-thousand BTUs of electric heating power. The WAC12001W is rated to heat/cool rooms up to five-hundred and fifty square feet. As I mentioned earlier, this sized room could be a large living room, a few bedrooms in your upstairs, or a decent sized apartment. One thing to mention here is that this unit DOES require a different plug-in then what you may be used to. Most units take a one-hundred and fifteen volt plug-in but this unit requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet. (Think of your clothes dryer and your oven plug-ins.) Lastly, this unit comes with a two year warranty ensuring you that your purchase and investment is secure.
- Koldfront WAC18001W 18,500 BTU
- The Koldfront WAC18001W is in fact very similar to the WAC12001W that we mentioned above. The WAC18001W is both an air conditioner and a heater the only difference here is that it is bigger! With this unit we get a total eighteen-thousand BTUs of cooling power and sixteen-thousand BTUs of electric heating power. The unit is rated to cool rooms or areas up to one-thousand square feet. I would highly recommend this product for cooling/heating an entire floor of your home or for cooling your entire apartment/condominium. This unit is NOT Energy Star certified with the EPA, but usually when you get this big in size an Energy Star product is hard to find. The Energy Efficiency Ratio is measured at 10.7, so still relatively efficient. Like the unit above this product requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet. Please be aware of this before purchasing.
- Koldfront WAC25001W 25,000 BTU
- Alrighty folks, we’ve saved the biggest for last. What’s that old ‘Home Improvement,’ motto? More Power? Well the Koldfront WAC25001W definitely has more power. It comes in at twenty-five thousand BTUs and is rated to cool rooms or areas up to fifteen-hundred square feet. That is the size of a medium sized home. Like the other units above this product also has a built in electric heater as well. The heater is rated at sixteen-thousand BTUs, so while it doesn’t have as much power as the air conditioner it will still keep your room warm. This unit like the other requires a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet. Also, this unit is very heavy coming in at one-hundred and thirty pounds. While that may not seem to heavy I want you to realize that you are balancing this thing on your window during installation. Can you balance one-hundred and thirty pounds all the while securing it to the frame? I know I couldn’t. You will need help to install this.
- The last thing I want to mention on this unit is, are you sure this is the one you want? If it was me I would opt for a smaller BTU unit and buying a couple of them. That way you get your cool/heated air coming from multiple points of the house instead of one central point. This will allow the air to circulate more and to more evenly cool your home.
While we briefly touched on other brands in our Koldfront section I wanted to take some time to go over them again here. We are now familiar with the Koldfront name and how they have been doing business for nearly twenty years. They are a growing company and I am sure will be around for a while. First let me say this, Koldfront products have great quality and will accomplish exactly what you are trying to do, cool your home. You will not regret purchasing a Koldfront unit. The question now though is do you want to buy from a twenty year old company that is making innovations, or do you want to purchase from a century old company? Don’t discount the little guy, remember that Amazon.com is only twenty-five years old. These ‘little guys’ can topple giants.
As far as the other brands out there I want to mention two. The first is Frigidaire. Frigidaire has been around for over one-hundred years and was in fact one of the first inventors of self-contained refrigerator. Since this great initial product launch they have been innovating on refrigerators, window air conditioners, and many other appliances over the decades. Today they are a house hold name and if you look around your kitchen you will most likely find a Frigidaire appliance. It could be a dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, or even an oven. My point here is that they’ve been around the block and they know what they are doing. To read about Frigidaire Window Air Conditioners please read our Frigidaire article.
The other brand that I wanted to recognize is the Friedrich Window Air Conditioners. Friedrich, like Frigidaire, is a one-hundred year old company. The difference here is that since the 1950’s Friedrich has been specializing in air conditioners and only air conditioners. What that means is that their sole and only focus is on their air conditioners. That means great attention to detail and production value. On top of that Friedrich uses commercial grade parts and equipment when constructing their window units to ensure that only the top quality is received. In my opinion the Friedrich brand name is the undisputed King of window air conditioners. They are top quality and have top features. The downside here is that you’re going to pay a pretty penny to purchase one of these products. For more information on Friedrich window air conditioners please click here to be taken to our article.
The decision is now up to you folks. Between all three brands that we have mentioned here which one will you choose? Will you go for the new up and coming under-dog, or will you settle on a century old company like Frigidaire or Friedrich?
If you decide on Koldfront I can assure you that you will receive a great product. However, if you do choose to go with a more experienced company will you opt for the top quality and high price of Friedrich, or will you go with the tried and true Frigidaire brand name? It all depends on you and your budget. If it was me though folks I would end up purchasing the Koldfront unit as the reviews are great and I like the idea of supporting a smaller business.