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When the heat is on and you’re spending your nights melting on top of the covers instead of sleeping, you’ll be tempted to run out and pick up the easiest solution you can find. (Do any of us really choose those ugly, plastic articulated room fans or do we just accept them in desperation?) Before you drop your cash on some cheap portable fan that will get knocked over 100 times before fall, consider investing a little more into something that will look better, be effective, and last you longer than a single season.


Get to Know Your BTUs

Before you shop, it’s important to know that air conditioners are rated based on their capacity for moving air around a room. That rating is called a BTU or British thermal unit. (Don’t worry, BTUs work for all spaces not just British ones.) You don’t need to understand all the workings of energy transfer, you just need know that a BTU is the technical measurement of how much energy an air conditioner uses to move air.


An air conditioner with more BTUs can move more air per hour but you don’t want to choose the highest BTUs your money can buy. Too many BTUs will expend too much electricity and cool your space ineffectively. Too few BTUs and your AC will never stop running. So, how do you know how many BTUs you need? Remember this formula: 1 square foot of living space needs 20 BTUs. For example, an air conditioner with 10,000 BTUs will cool up to 450 square feet. (If you want to avoid the math, do a web search for “BTU calculator” and plug in your numbers there instead.)

Portable Air Conditioners vs. Room Air Conditioners

Having central air conditioning in your home is an American dream—especially in very hot regions like the south and the west! But older homes that were built during more temperate times may not have it, and some homes that do have it, still need a boost here and there. No matter the reason for your home’s hotspot(s), adding a single air conditioner can be a good solution.


A portable air conditioner is ideal for apartments that don’t allow you to add a window unit or for homes that have multiple hot spots but don’t need to have them all cooled at the same time. For example, you can use a portable unit in your office during the heat of the day, and then take it with you to the kitchen while you’re cooking dinner. Portable units come with casters for easy moving, but you will still need access to a window for the unit’s exhaust hose.


A window air conditioner can be helpful in homes that need a more permanent boost of cold air in one specific area. They’re not made to be moved around from room to room, but they also don’t take up any floor space. Additionally, today’s window units are much lighter, more efficient, and way quieter than those monsters that ran all summer long when we were kids!


You don’t have to spend the summer melting at home (or tripping over fan cords)! Shop or visit your nearby Aaron’s location to get info on how easily you can rent to own an air conditioner instead.