What to Know About Window Air Conditioners for the Chicago Weather

Michael Tobias
6 Minutes Read
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    Chicago has always been known as the "Windy City." However, it is also known to have warm summers.  In fact, Chicago reached an average temperature of 90°F in the past years.  Plus, the heat and the humidity of the region can cause unpredictable weather. As a result, residences and offices in Chicago have window air conditioning units.

    Window air conditioners have become a must if you are in Chicago. So it is no surprise that residents know a thing or two about air conditioning units. So without further delay, here are some of the things you should know about Window Air Conditioners.

    A window air conditioner or window  A/C is designed to provide instant cooling to a room. It is also a better alternative to a central air conditioning system if you only want to cool down a single room.  Depending on the window A/C model, it can operate in varying modes.

    There are three common modes that you can choose from.  The first one is the cooling mode. It takes the room air, cools it down, and then directs it back to the room.  Depending on the model, you can choose a wide array of cooling levels.  The cooling level stays until you choose to turn the unit off. The second one is the fan-only mode. This setting uses much lesser energy because it does not cool the air. Rather, it only filters and circulates the air in the room. Some window type A\C  have a heating mode. It works the same as the cooling mode; the only difference is that it regulates heating cycles until you choose to turn the A/C off.


    The first window air conditioning unit was invented in 1931 by J.Q. Sherman and H.H. Schultz. The control panel was built within the unit. Later on, the first split type air conditioning control system was invented. The system was designed to have the Thermostat control and all the functions of the A/C. This includes the timer, operation logic, and energy efficiency.

    Now, the latest demand of the market is how to integrate residential air conditioners to home systems. This trend has led to the development of having the A/C thermostats directly controlled by wired or wireless connections such as the home’s wireless network. Most of the models now can be improved simply by just adding a smart thermostat.

    There has also en an increase in the demand for energy saving units like those with inverter technology. This technology allows the compressor to proportionally work with the air conditioning system. As a result, it does not only save energy but also have accurate climate control. The inverter technology airconditioner, though, will need to have a more sophisticated control panel. It includes frequency modulation, DC conversion, and more so that it could support larger PCBs or printed circuit boards. These components allow a more accurate control over the flow and the temperature of the unit.

    It is imperative that you choose the right size and type of window air conditioning unit. Having an undersized unit cannot cool your room enough. Meanwhile,  an oversized unit will not be able to remove the humidity in the room, which leaves you feeling damp.  How exactly do you find the right type of window air conditioning unit? Here are things you should know.

    • The size of the room - find out the size or the square footage of the room you want to cool.
    • British Thermal Unit or BTU - It is crucial that you know the BTU of the unit. This indicates the amount of heat it can remove from the room. The higher the number, the more heat it can remove and the higher cooling power. You should choose the unit that is appropriate to the size of the room you are going to install it in. Here are the standards that you can use:



    0-150 sq ft

    5000 BTU unit

    150-200 sq ft

    6000 BTU unit

    200-250 sq ft

    7000 BTU unit

    300-350 sq ft

    10000 BTU unit

    350-550 sq ft

    10000 – 12000 BTU unit

    550 – 1050 sq ft

    12000 – 18500 BTU unit

    1050- 1600 sq ft

    18500-25000 BTU unit


    You should also take into consideration other factors that can increase the cooling need of the room. For example, the amount of sunlight that enters the room and the number of occupants in the area.  You should take note that as the BTU rating increases, the weight and size of the unit increase as well.

    Things you should consider

    Most of window air conditioning units are made to fit double - hung windows.  You must measure the dimensions of the unit and the window carefully beforehand. You should also make sure to find an A/C model that perfectly fits the window. It is highly discouraged to rely on estimates. Instead, it is best to hire a helper and a trained technician to help you install the window air conditioning unit.  These are additional points that you may want to consider:

    • Installing the A/C on a shaded window will help make the cooling more efficient
    • There should be a suitable power outlet near the window you plan to install the unit to (Some manufacturers may require you to directly plug to the power outlet)
    • The power outlet should be able to handle the electrical volume of the window air conditioner
    • Make sure that the A/C is compatible with the power outlet

    It is imperative that you do not alter the electrical plug. You must contact or hire a licensed technician to handle your inquiries about the outlet or the installation of the unit.

    The Advantages

    • It costs less. - Window air conditioners are relatively cheaper. Plus, it will also cost you less to operate it throughout the year.
    • Efficient - Chicago is known to have hot summers. If you want to stay cool, lessening your electricity bill can be a challenge. Window air conditioners have great energy efficiency
    • Easy to Install - Compared to other types of air conditioners, window A/C 's are easy to install. This is especially so when compared to central air conditioning units. However, you must remember to contact a licensed electrician to install the unit for you.
    • Saves Space - Window A/C's do not take a lot of space. These units are designed to be installed in your window, so it does not consume too much space.

    Tips on how to operate

    • Keep the air flow free. Make sure that the unit inflow of air is free obstructions like shrubbery or furniture.
    • It is best to close the window treatments when the sun is too high. However, make sure that it does not block the air flow of the A/C unit.
    • Keep the exterior of the unit shaded. This will allow more efficient energy use, plus, it will make the room cooler a lot faster.


    • Simple maintenance of the window air conditioning unit can go a long way. It does not only maximize energy efficiency but also increases the lifespan as well. 
    • Make sure to clean the air filter as specified by the manufacturer. Having a clean filter can reduce the time it needs for the room to cool. You can use a vacuum cleaner and a mild detergent to clean the filter.
    • Clean the surface with a damp cloth with mild detergent. However, make sure to stay away from the control panel.
    • Prepare a storage for the unit as instructed by the A/C's manufacturer.

    Having an efficient window air conditioning unit can be a great advantage, especially during the hot and humid summers of Chicago. An ineffective and ill sized unit can also cause you to spend more energy rather than saving it. So be sure to contact a licensed electrical engineer to answer your questions and provide you with professional assistance.


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    Tags : air conditioning HVAC systems cooling system window air conditioner

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