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How to Choose an Air Conditioner for an Apartment


A new air conditioner is a complicated purchase. There are numerous new models, numerous brands, and various factors you should consider. Which air conditioner, for instance, uses the least energy? Or which air conditioner fits your budget the best? We help you choose an air conditioner for your apartment in this article.

Types of Air Conditioners

There are different types of air conditioners that you can pick from. The choice basically depends on the AC’s availability, monthly cost, features and perks, and budget.

Before we discuss the tips for choosing the right air conditioner for your apartment, let’s see the types of air conditioners commonly found in the market today.

Window Air Conditioner

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A window-type aircon is the most common type of air conditioning system that’s cheaper yet has decent cooling power. It’s mounted on windowpanes and is a good choice to cool a single room or smaller spaces.

Size is the main factor to consider when selecting a window AC unit. If it’s too small, the room won’t feel quite cool enough because the air conditioner will have to work harder to cool it. If it’s too large, the room will cool down too quickly without properly eliminating the humidity, leaving you with a cool space that still feels sticky.

Split-type Air Conditioner

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If you fancy owning an AC system that won’t disrupt the interior design of your window or wall, then a split system aircon is the unit for you. Unlike other cooling appliances, it’s separated into two units. The indoor unit gets mounted on the wall and has all the controls on its front panel, air filters, and evaporator coils.

On the other hand, the outdoor unit has motor fans and a condenser panel. These two are connected via copper tubing and can cool multiple rooms or a large area at once. Modern split system air conditioning designs include a heating pump feature and can be operated with remote control. This guarantees year-round use of the system for maximum comfort and ideal room temperatures. Additionally, systems now come with timers and other controls that can be customized for each use.

Central Air Conditioning Unit

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When air is cooled at a central location and distributed to and from rooms by one or more fans and ductwork, the system is known as central air conditioning. The compressor in an air conditioner does the bulk of the work that allows for air conditioning. Cool air is produced by forcing heat out of the house using the refrigerant gas, which is compressed.

The requirement for ductwork could be the deciding factor if you are thinking about adding central air conditioning to your house. Room air conditioners are not as effective as central air conditioners. They are also out of the way, quiet, and practical to use. You should try to purchase an energy-efficient air conditioner and lower the energy consumption of your central air conditioner to save energy and money.

Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner

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Much like a window AC, through-the-wall air conditioners are bulkier and have a stronger cooling capacity. Their installation is straightforward, as they need to be mounted on an exterior wall. However, the expenses of buying and installing such a system are high.

On a brighter note, they offer a more permanent solution to maintaining a stable temperature in your house. They’re an excellent choice for use as the main source of heating and cooling or as a supplement to central air conditioning in other applications.

Portable Air Conditioners

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A self-contained, portable air conditioner is perfect for cooling solitary rooms. It typically has an installation kit and is designed to be quickly set up on the floor. It is a good alternative to window units because most models have wheels so you can move them to different rooms.

Unlike the previous AC units, this type of air conditioning system is much cheaper, and it can fit with the interior design you have. It also doesn’t require much work in the installation, as it only needs an open window where the exhaust hose can be placed.  It’s a good choice for rented rooms and places because there are no necessary interior modifications.

Ceiling-type Air Conditioner

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“Cassettes” are the most popular category of ceiling air conditioning units. They work best in spaces with a false or suspended ceiling and are perfect for use in businesses like shops and offices. Only a very thin portion of the unit’s facia is visible because many of it is concealed inside the ceiling void, effectively “blending in” with the surrounding office or retail space.

The ability to create a more aesthetically pleasing look for air conditioning solutions is a key factor in the installation of ceiling cassettes. This adaptability enables all different kinds of businesses to set up efficient, expert air conditioning without having to make significant, expensive changes to their facilities. Ceiling cassettes can effectively cool spaces that are reasonably wide without taking up much room themselves.

Tips for Choosing the Right AC Unit for your Apartment

Now that we know what the common types of air conditioners are, let’s talk about how to choose the right AC properly. Doing this task correctly is detrimental, not only to your budget but also to your entire livelihood. Owning an air conditioner can be a lifelong commitment so it’s best to invest in something that’s enough for you and for your place.

Hence, here are some tips that can help your decision when it comes to shopping for an aircon.

Room Size and Layout

Calculating your room or apartment size is important because it tells you how much space you can dedicate to an appliance. In this case, the sizing for an air conditioner depends on how much space you can use to install it. It also helps you save money by choosing the right size for your aircon because its cooling capacity depends on the amount of space it needs to cool.

In addition, consider the location when installing an AC unit. Proper placement can utilize the cooling power of the aircon because the entire area of your room or apartment will be covered. Moreover, this will also ensure that both you and your aircon will be free from any potential harm.

Cooling Capacity

As previously discussed, your decision will be heavily influenced by the size of the area you want to cool. Different units can cool various-sized spaces. Consider portable units, which typically can only cool the space they are placed in. On the other hand, window units are a better choice if you’re trying to cool down an entire apartment.

Generally, your apartment requires 20 British Thermal Units (BTU) for every square foot. For a 200 sq. ft. apartment, a 4000 BTU air conditioner is required, and a 500 sq. 10,000 BTU is ideal for a 1,000-square feet apartment. The BTU measurement denotes how much cooling power an AC has to offer.


As obvious as this may sound, make sure that the purpose of buying an aircon is final. If you only intend to cool one room for your apartment, then you don’t need bulky AC units like central aircons or ceiling-type air conditioners.

If you want a permanent cooling system, then a split system or through-the-wall air conditioner is a good choice, depending on your budget. If you want a decent cooling capacity but something also cheaper than the rest of the aircon types, a portable or window-type unit might be the right option for you.


Always check for the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of air conditioners. This usually comes in the form of a sticker taped on the aircon. A high-value EER means that the AC can save a decent amount of electricity it consumes per cooling. For instance, an aircon with an EER of 10 means that for every 10,000 BTU cooling power it has, it only consumes roughly 1000 watts. In addition, air conditioners with an Energy Star Label have the capability to use 10% less energy to operate.

Added Benefits

Most air conditioners nowadays come with added features such as a thermostat, auto restart, programmable timer, advanced air filter, and the like. While it’s good to buy an AC with these benefits, we must also consider the added cost to its overall price.

If we can find an air conditioner that can give us the comfort and benefit we need, then it’s best to settle with it rather than investing in features that might only become extra baggage in the long run.

Final Thoughts

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Owning an air conditioner is one of the best treats we can give to ourselves and our family. It provides the best comfort for a much greater indoor experience with the people we love. With this in mind, it’s very important to choose the right type of air conditioner for our home. Not only will it save us more time, energy, and money but it will also ensure that our investment won’t go to waste and has a lifelong benefit.

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

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