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Air Conditioner Controls, AC Filters
Air Conditioners Controls
The electronic guts of today's air conditioners support money-saving and user-friendly features, including digital displays, remote controls, and thermostats that maintain precise temperatures. Manufacturers still make a few models with mechanical air conditioners controls, like the Frigidaire FRA052XT7.
A user posting a review at Lowe's admires the clean look of the digital display on the Frigidaire LRA074AT7 (starting at $159). However, a few other users gripe that you can view the current room temperature only on the fan setting. When cooling, the Frigidaire models we researched display the temperature set by the user rather than the actual temperature in the room. Another aspect of electronic air conditioners controls that users find annoying is the loud beep many budget air conditioners emit when you change the temperature setting.
Remote controls are increasingly standard issue with cheap ACs (except for those with mechanical air conditioners controls) and are often singled out in AC reviews. Many users posting AC reviews of the Kenmore 70051 (starting at $160) at Sears cite the remote as a pro. One user likes being able to adjust the AC at night without getting out of bed and turning on the lights. Remote functions vary by model; in addition to on/off, options may include time delay, fan speed, and/or cooling mode. Some remotes are even equipped with a thermostat that can sense the temperature in another part of the room so the AC adjusts accordingly. A user posting a review on Amazon says that's the best thing about the Frigidaire FRA086AT7 (starting at $222, Amazon). You can find the same feature on the Frigidaire LRA107BU1 (starting at $269).
AC Filters.Every air conditioner has a filter to sift out dust, dirt, and smoke. These days most cheap AC models have reusable filters that can be quickly and easily removed, rinsed or vacuumed, and reinserted; the recommended cleaning frequency is every two to four weeks. Several Frigidaire models, including the LRA074AT7, FRA086AT7, and LRA107BU1, feature an indicator light that goes on when the filter needs cleaning, as does the Kenmore 70051. In a review on Buzzillions, a user questions the effectiveness of the filter on the Friedrich CP08F10, noting that it catches very little dust and dirt.
Air Conditioner Timers.Another useful feature on cheap air conditioners is a timer, which lets users set the unit to turn on or off at a particular time. This money-saving convenience lets frugal consumers return to a cool home after being gone all day and removes the worry of forgetting to turn off the air conditioner when leaving the house. With the Friedrich CP08F10 (starting at $275, Amazon), users can set the AC timer up to 12 hours in advance. Frigidaire models and LG models including the LW8012ER (starting at $219, Amazon) and LW1012ER (starting at $279, Amazon), as well as the Kenmore 70051 and the Haier ESAD4066 (starting at $243, Amazon), give users a 24-hour window. While AC reviews at Walmart praise the AC timer feature on the Frigidaire FRA086AT7, a couple of users posting reviews on Amazon lament that you can't set the air conditioner timer to turn the unit on or off more than once in a 24-hour period and have to reset it each day. Users of other Frigidaire models echo that complaint in AC reviews.
Adjustable Louvers.Cold air flows out the top or the front of window air conditioners. Most cheap AC models have louvers that can be adjusted to direct the air flow up and down, and/or left and right. On some models, however, adjusting the louvers doesn't seem to have much of an effect. In a review on Amazon, a user says one of his only quibbles with the Frigidaire FRA086AT7 is that no matter how far you rotate the vents, most of the air blows straight ahead.
AC Extras.Another convenient feature found on many budget air conditioners, including almost all those on our list, is automatic restart, which revives the AC when electricity is restored following a brownout and reverts to the previous setting. Consumers who live in humid climates will appreciate the built-in dehumidifier function found in some inexpensive Haier air conditioners, including the ESAD4066. While all air conditioners draw moisture out of the air (the number of pints per hour typically increases along with BTU), the dehumidifier mode on the Haier is meant to work even when the unit is not cooling the air. However, a user posting a review on a consumer products testing site asserts that not only does the dehumidifier not work unless the unit is cooling, the AC has to be on the coldest setting to decrease the humidity even 15% in a room that houses an antique musical instrument.
Don't Bother Cheap Air Conditioners
Haier ESAD4066 Review
Friedrich CP08F10 Review
Frigidaire FRA054XT7 Review
Frigidaire FRA086AT7 Review
LG LW1012ER Review
Kenmore 70051 Review
Frigidaire LRA074AT7 Review
LG LW8012ER Review
Frigidaire LRA107BU1 Review
Frigidaire FAX054P7A (5000 BTU)
Haier HWR05XC7 (5200 BTU)
Haier HWR08XC7 (8,000 BTU)
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