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Old 05-11-11, 01:37 PM   #1
Itsnotme1988
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Default Window mount A/C opinions

Just moved into a home built in 1930. Only 531 square feet, gas heat and stove and a 5000btu window mount A/C with EER of 9.7 Btu/hr. I want to go larger but not sure how much larger to combat the heat/humidity of southeast NC. There is a 240v outlet under beside where the current A/C is plugged in. What would you guys recommend? Think a 10k btu 240v would be the best just not sure what brand. Then I want to put the 5k in the bedroom for when we sleep and keep the thermostat on the 10k either turned up or off. Thoughts?

Edit: Also thinking of maybe a heat pump/ A/C window unit since it is 240v, like in a hotel. Or just stay with LPG for heat?

Edit 2: Should have mentioned it's a rental. Landlord does seem willing to buy a minisplit though.


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Old 05-11-11, 02:04 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new house!

I would suggest working on sealing the house up before doing any work with the HVAC systems. However, the minisplit owners here have been very happy with their units.
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Old 05-12-11, 08:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsnotme1988 View Post
...not sure how much larger to combat the heat/humidity of southeast NC....
I would second what Daox said regarding insulation & infiltration...insulation really is the gift that keeps on giving. Anything you can do to keep the heat in, during the winter, and keep the heat out during the summer is going to make you much happier and cost you less money in the long run.

Moral of the story: Insulate, insulate, insulate...

Do you have significant window area on the sunny (especially western) side of the house? Plastic or bamboo shades hung out side of the window work really well. If the sun hits the glass, it's gonna come inside the house... stop it before it hits the glass. I have one window in particular that I put a reflective film on the outside glass surface. It really helped, but is still not as effective as outside shades.

Do you have trees & shrubs & vines on the sun-side of the house that can shield you from the heat of the sun? If you don't, now that it is springtime it is perfect for planting. Personally, I have planted some grapes & fig trees on the sunny side of my house and they not only give me blessed relief from the sun on the hot days but also delicious food. I tell you, there's nothing like sitting in the shade of those trees and eating fresh fruit on those hot days that come at the end of summer.

I was fortunate at my house in that there were already some good shade trees, planted by old-timers, and the trees were well established when I moved in, and in the thirty-five years I have been here, I have continued that trend. So even though I live on a 50' by 100' lot, my back yard is a climax forest and in the summer it is much cooler than places even a short distance away.

What color is your roof? Painting your roof white (there is special heat-reflective paint available) can drop your inside temp 10 degrees.

I have also had great luck with a sprinkler hose on the ridge of the house, and an intermittent controller (5 minutes every 30 minutes). The evaporation is where you get the best bang for the buck, so intermittent sprinkler is more efficient than continuous. With a little effort, you can re-use the water for your garden.

When you have carefully looked at and implimented the appropriate non-power options, then it is time to consider the power-consuming options.

I have a small mini-split heat pump that is also an air conditioner. It is small, quiet, and much more efficient to operate than a window AC. It is so quiet, I usually don't know it is working. I love it. In the summer, on the days that I need to run it, the condensation line waters my flowers... I love that too.

Since summer is your major season, locate the outside unit so it is on the coolest side of your house, not exposed to direct sun... that way your AC will perform most efficiently for you. Since you're in NC, the heat pump will work very efficiently.

Yes, it is much more efficient than gas heating.

Not all mini-splits are created equal, so do some research, educate yourself. Some mini-splits are much more efficient than others. Not surprisingly, the more efficient ones will be more expensive... don't be afraid, you'll pay less per month, and you will be less of a burden on the environment, too.

I have a 9,000 BTU Sanyo, a good brand, Mitsubishi is also good, Fujitsu Halcyon is probably the most efficient. If I had it to do over, I'd go with the Fujitsu.

Not knowing anything about your house, I would guess that a small unit, like maybe a 9000 BTU (AKA: 3/4 Ton) should do it. If you have taken the above non-power consuming steps, 3/4 Ton will absolutely be sufficient.

With a heat pump, bigger is not better. Maximize your insulation, infiltration, shading strategies so that you can minimize your power consumption.

Welcome to the EcoRenovator blog, you have found some interesting, resourceful, well-informed people.

Best Regards,

-AC_HAcker
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Old 05-12-11, 08:15 PM   #4
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I have gone around the house from the inside and already filled quite a few holes with foam insulation and it's already made a noticeable difference (some of these you could feel hot air rushing in during the day. N and E side of the house (bedroom and living room) are shaded while the west and south (bathroom and kitchen) are completely exposed.

One thing I HATE is the house has no storm windows, just regular single pane windows and the landlord is not interested in putting in storm windows at this time. If I could find some used bamboo shades this would definitely be a thought at least for the western side of the house.
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Old 05-12-11, 08:39 PM   #5
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Then again maybe not when he sees their price...especially since he doesn't want to upgrade the A/C...so I'm doing that...
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Old 05-12-11, 08:42 PM   #6
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Old 06-17-11, 02:16 PM   #7
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If there's any chance of buying the house, you could do more to it and have the tax benefit of home ownership as well. If you are not transient {prone to moving out of the area frequently}, then don't immediately say you can't afford it. Often, a house is cheaper to buy than to rent.

Some of the energy efficiency improvements you'd want to make are tax deductible to a homeowner.
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Old 09-24-11, 01:22 PM   #8
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Plant some tall leafy trees on the southern expsure and wait a few years.
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Old 09-25-11, 12:00 AM   #9
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I used a 10,000 btu window ac this summer to cool my entire 2,400sf house, ran it for about an hour per day on the lowest setting and it would dry the air out really quickly making it feel much cooler.
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Old 09-26-11, 01:22 PM   #10
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Make sure to get the insulation strips that you wrap around the window AC and if it has the little fold out sides to fill the gap on the sides I would also build a panel to seal that better.

Where do you live and is that picture the place you are renting or a place you are thinking about moving to?

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