Cold and Sticky

17 Sep

All summer we’ve dealt with a cold and sticky bedroom when it’s hot and humid out. All along we’ve blamed it on the air conditioner being worn out or maybe the house was too humid for the air conditioner to keep up, or any number of other things. It was odd to be in a cool room but still have one of the worst parts of the hot weather, the humidity.
We never really looked into it or anything because we’ve always felt we were destined for central air some time in the near future so we didn’t want to invest in yet another window air conditioner.
I was doing some research towards that end and came upon a realization of what was wrong this whole time… Our air conditioner is TOO BIG!!

It turns out that bigger is NOT better, it is very important for an air conditioner to be the RIGHT SIZE. The unit we have is 8,000 BTU.
The chart on this page says that an 8,000 BTU window unit is suitable for a 300 to 350 square foot room. The room we currently call our bedroom is about 120 square feet, eleven by eleven, so about a third of the size this unit is intended to cool.
So, what’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t it cool off 3 times faster? Yes. And that’s exactly why we were suffering from a cold and sticky room. The unit cools the room so quickly that the compressor doesn’t run long enough to dehumidify the room. It turns on, the temperature decreases quickly and then it shuts off. A properly sized unit would run for a longer time giving time for moisture to condense on the cold coils and be drawn from the room.

20110917-113644.jpg
The proper size unit for this room according to the chart would actually be 5,000 BTU, which would be smaller, lighter and cheaper, while being more effective. I must say this was quite surprising to realize after all this time.

So, the next time you think your air conditioner is broken, get out the tape measure and figure out the square footage of your room, the size of your AC and see if they match up, you might be surprised too. I believe 8,000 BTU is a very common size but I don’t think 350 square feet is a very common size for a bedroom so this is probably not an unusual problem. And, obviously, if you’re in the market for a new window unit don’t just buy the best or the cheapest, buy the one that really fits the room it’s going to wind up in.

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2 Responses to “Cold and Sticky”

  1. Some guy September 18, 2011 at 8:39 PM #

    This guy is good. Really knows how to translate a household problem into blog worthy, useful content, all in an approachable and relate-able tone! He needs some ads to generate revenue, or maybe a tv show.

    • Jerry September 18, 2011 at 10:07 PM #

      Well, thanks!
      No TV shows for me, though, I belong BEHIND the camera, and I’m not even sure I belong there…

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