Smart AC Buying Guide: Will I Like it?

Wink app for the GE Aros Air Conditioner

Hello and welcome to the second in a three part series to help you pick the right window air conditioner for your needs. This is my favorite post in the series since it covers the creature comforts of the unit. These topics are the ones that will really make a difference in your air conditioner experience. So, without delay, let's get started.

In this post I will cover:
  • Design And Usability
  • Noise Level
  • Energy Efficiency

Quirky and GE made the first Smart Window A/C unit, the Aros. Get a great price here

Design And Usability

You are here because you want a SMART window air conditioner, right? Smart implies that there is a strong consideration for design ascetic. Give careful attention to the pictures of the unit on the room side. This is what you will see every day. Look for pictures at various angles and from the homes or offices of real people, not just marketing pictures.

Again, since you want a SMART window air conditioner, look for a smartphone app and internet site that are easy to use when controlling the air conditioner. Few things cause a product to fail quite like poor human interaction.

The first SMART window air conditioner was designed by Quirky and GE and you can find a review of the GE Aros Smart Window Air Conditioner on another post in this blog. Be sure to consider it while you are shopping for the unit that meets your needs.

Noise Level

Once the unit is installed and being used day to day there is another really important consideration that may have been missed during shopping... how loud is the air conditioner? Manufacturers and retailers often neglect to list the noise level rating of A/C units because if an informed consumer knew how loud it was, they might choose to shop elsewhere or pick a different unit. Now that you know this is important, demand to know how loud the unit is on each fan setting. Noise level is often measured in decibels, or dB for short. The following is a table of common sounds and the corresponding decibel measurement. Make sure to decide what you are willing to put up with before you buy.

SounddB level
0The softest sound a human can hear
10Normal breathing
20Whispering at 5 feet
50Rainfall, refrigerator, electric toothbrush, coffee machine
60Normal conversation, washing machine
70Freeway traffic, coffee grinder, garbage disposal
80Food processor, handsaw, noisy restaurant

Figure out what you are willing to put up with and demand this information before buying a unit.

Energy Efficiency

Efficiency will make a big difference in your monthly electric bill, so this is a big deal. Energy efficiency is represented as an SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) number. When shopping for an air conditioner, the higher the SEER number, the lower the monthly bill. The math is below if you are interested, otherwise, skip to the next section.

The SEER rating is based on the the cooling output during the cooling season and the total electricity used to run the unit. This is the ratio of BTU to Watt-Hours of electricity. The simple way to see how this works is to divide the BTU of a unit by the SEER rating to determine how many watts are used per hour. For example, a 5000 BTU unit with a SEER rating of 10 results in 500 watts of energy per hour. A SEER 8 unit will use more energy, 625 watts. A SEER 12 unit will use less energy, 417 watts. The fewer watts, the cheaper it is to operate.


So now you have a good handle on how these units work and what will make a difference in your enjoyment of them. Be sure to read the Quirky/GE Aros review on this website for an air conditioner with great features. Whatever unit you choose to buy, I hope this guide is helpful for you in considering what is important. Until next week.

Check out the rest of the series here: