General Question

janbb's avatar

Can I get some air conditioning advice?

Asked by janbb (56316points) 1 week ago

I have central air in my house and noisy neighbors. There are nights when opening the windows would be enough but the noise is too great. Rather than turning on the air conditioning in the whole house I was thinking about putting one of those air conditioners in the wall in the my bedroom. I would like advice about the in wall air conditioners. How expensive are they to run and how hard to have installed? Also, how noisy are they when running? As I am a light sleeper, I wouldn’t want one if it as noisy as those in hotels.

I do not want advice on handling the noisy neighbors – just on air conditioning pros and cons.

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42 Answers

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jca2's avatar

@janbb: I have a friend who is an HVAC mechanic. I will ask him and get back to you.

I’ve seen those AC units in restaurants but I don’t recall them being particularly noisy. I do recall them being really cold though.

Another option for you might be a ceiling fan. I have one in my room and it works really well. Only rarely is it so hot that it’s not enough to cool the room.

Also, a whole house fan is a great option. A whole house fan is the fan that is in your attic and pulls air up through the house and out the attic vent. It takes the heat away from right under the roof. I am not sure if they would work with the windows closed, however. Will find out. They’re not too expensive to install or run, as it’s only really a large fan, but one specifically for purpose.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 Thanks for asking your friend. Have a ceiling fan. Again, just really asking about in-room air conditioner.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get a “Split System”, wall mount and heat pump outside ($2000 to $4000). Trane is a good brand name Mitsubishi has been having service parts problems. You’re to seal level make sure the install the heat pump “high and dry”.

jca2's avatar

My friend is asking if your bedroom is on the ground floor or upstairs. You just want to cool one room? He said you can put up to five in the house but you have to buy different types of adapters.

He said about 3500k per room is the cheapest, and he mentioned a Mitsubishi, just for the unit with the installation equipment, heating and cooling, give or take. You need new molding to make it look good. He said also to tell you it heats and air conditions. The more you want to pay, the more energy efficiency you’ll get, he said.

jca2's avatar

Sorry, I meant 3500 per room, not 3500k. I first put the “k” as I was typing what he was saying, as he was saying it.

jca2's avatar

He just told me the price quote is just for the equipment and unit. Another 1k for the labor to install.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 Thanks. I do have central air but turn it on and off through the summer so thinking that possibly just cooling the one room would be more efficient. I’ll talk to my plumbing and heating guy too.

jca2's avatar

@janbb: If you have central air, then you are leaving the window closed already. Maybe just a floor fan’s noise would drown out the neighbors?

stanleybmanly's avatar

You don’t want to experiment with a window unit? I would suggest you rent one (if possible). You would be able to test the noise levels without disrupting the integrity of your wall. If you have central air already, aren’t you able to duct the air flow to specific rooms? How old is your system?

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly i am thinking of a window one as an alternative. The upside being it’s cheaper and the downside being it blocks the window but that might be ok. Central AC is about 15 years old; ducts are in ceiling; don’t see how I can block off rooms.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Let me understand. Does the cool air enter your rooms through the same outlets as the hot air from your furnace?

janbb's avatar

No. It’s an old house with radiators in one part and baseboard heaters in a newer part. The central AC was retrofitted from the attic through the walls wout outlets in the ceilings of each room. It works quite well but I was thinking about a more energy efficient way to cool the bedroom only some of the time.

stanleybmanly's avatar

So the refrigeration unit is installed in the attic and yours is a single story house. Do you have easy access to the attic?

janbb's avatar

It’s a two story house and I have access to the attic but this doesn’t seem relevant to the question about cooling the one room.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I can see that I’m going about this wrong. Can you personally see and reach your air conditioning equipment wherever it is installed?

janbb's avatar

I can turn the whole system on and off by using a thermostat.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You must consider that thermostat later, because that is one of the adaptations you will have to make. But you haven’t answered my question, and it matters because I believe the ability to direct the cool air to individual rooms is already built into a system so recently installed. You can visibly and easily discern this if you can SEE the ductwork (big pipes) near the point where they join the air conditioning unit at the evaporator fan. One thing I can promise you. It will be far cheaper to adapt (if necessary) and operate your present system than to purchase and install an ugly box while tearing up your wall. If things are as simple as I believe, you might merely need to add remote thermostats to the rooms you wish to control individually and the switching hardware necessary. You can probably wire the whole setup to be controlled from your phone.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly Thanks. That makes sense. I’ll look into it with my AC guy.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And you STILL refuse to answer my question. I want to strangle you!

janbb's avatar

Luckily we’re not married! :D

canidmajor's avatar

Just curious, @stanleybmanly, are you a professional heating/cooling guy? Cuz you don’t seem to be addressing the actual question.

@janbb if you go with a small window unit, please let me know, I have been considering that as well. I have whole house AC also, but by the time anything makes it up to the second floor from the unit in the basement, it is wafting so gently as to be useless.

Jonsblond's avatar

The window units are very easy to install. This is what we use. A unit for one bedroom usually costs about $160. If you only use it occasionally the cost of running it won’t be too expensive. They do make some noise but the sound has never bothered any of us. It’s more of a white noise that helps us sleep.

janbb's avatar

@Jonsblond Yes, I thought the white noise factor could be helpful.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@canidmajor No I am not a HVAC professional. But I advise you just as I do the obdurate bird to look into steering the “cool” where you want it. Check your ductwork for dampers that allow you to block the flow of air to rooms you don’t use. Google dampers to get an idea as to what to look for. If you don’t have them already, you can have them installed for less than the price of a big klunky air conditioner.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I can see just where at Stanley is going, and it is on topic in that addresses the possibility of cooling a single room with window closed, thus blocking the offending noise, without losing function of a window.
If it is doable, it is good thinking.

stanleybmanly's avatar

If you can get the damned bird to cooperate.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly Please stop bullying me. I am sick of it. I told you thank you and I will look into it. Now leave it be and stop insulting me.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I had a window unit for my apartment and it worked great and was cheap to run. I tracked my electricity usage and it might have added $5 to my monthly bill. Never as much as $10. And that was letting it cool the whole (tiny) apartment, not just the bedroom.

It had a remote and a timer to either turn it off or on after a set number of hours.

kritiper's avatar

You would be better off letting the central A/C run all night as it would be quieter and cost about as much to run. Those little units have to work so hard they end up using as much power as the central unit. (I had a window unit before I got central and when the little unit ran all day the cost was twice as much as the central unit.)

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, ffs, @stanleybmanly, I know exactly what the issue is with my house and ductwork and it is nothing that can be corrected or even analyzed by some guy on the Internet, who’s not a professional.
This is not “fixable” without full duct replacement, through three full stories, in a house that is (literally, this year) one hundred years old. Really wish there was an eyeroll emoji.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have not read all the responses but this is what we do. In our bedroom we use a portable air conditioner. It vents to a small attachment to the window. You open the window, slide the hoses on and plug it in. That’s it. You can’t really tell from outside so it does not look tacky. It’s also not loud. The window units are so loud that it’s almost impossible to sleep. The portables are enclosed and are more like a “white noise” which you can sleep through fine, even when the compressor cuts on and off. We still run the regular air and we run the portable in our bedroom. No reason to cool the entire house to 60 when you only want it cold in one room. We actually save on our electric bill doing this. The house air is now set at 75 and not 65. We sleep like bundled up babies. They cost between $200–600. Go larger and the compressor will run less. We have a dual hose 10,000 BTU model.

janbb's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me That all sounds very good and you addressed all the issues I have. Again, I will talk to my AC guy but that sounds like it might be a very good solution. I hate having to chill the whole house just to get one bedroom cold and quiet. And white noise would be great to shut out the neighbors.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@janbb My wife will run it sometimes if I snore so that should speak to the ability to sleep with one. I snore infrequently and she can sleep fine when the portable is on. The wall ones I think you are talking about are Mitsubishi split units. They’re expensive, require professional installation and they are about as loud as a hotel air conditioner. I’d try a $300 portable first before investing a few thousand on a single room split unit.

jca2's avatar

@janbb: I was looking at portable AC’s, as per @ARE_you_kidding_me‘s idea. I was looking at some choices from Costco. For these, you don’t have to be a member to purchase. Just will give you some ideas and prices for portable ones: https://www.costco.com/air-conditioners.html?sortBy=PriceMin%7C0&identifier=&categoryId=30193

Darth_Algar's avatar

No need to cut a hole in your wall. Window units are cheap enough ($200 is a good median average, though some, obviously, can be more expensive or cheaper) and are not hard to install. You could probably do it yourself. Or maybe with a friend to help you handle the weight. If you’re only planning to run it when you’re not running the central air then you probably won’t see any appreciable difference in your electric bill. Just make sure you get one appropriate to the size of the room. You don’t want it struggling to cool a room twice the size of what the unit is built for.

I cannot speak to the portable units, like another user mentioned, as I have no personal experience with them.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Cheaper to just get an air purifier, less noise and just plug it in whatever room that you need it in.
I had a Hepa one a few years ago and it kept my apartment cool , but not sure if Hepa still around ( get one where you don’t have to get replacement filters..just one that is cleaned every 6 months).
I have seen better ones areoun online so check them out.

canidmajor's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Excellent suggestion, thank you for mentioning it.

tedibear's avatar

We have had a window unit in an upstairs bedroom and it worked very well for the situation you are describing. I, too, am a light sleeper and had no issue with the minimal noise. I found it to be much less noisy than the hotel type.

janbb's avatar

^^ That does. We’ll see if it actually comes to market. For now, the nights have been cool and the neighbors not out til late so I am putting the project on hold. I can open the windows. When it gets hotter, I’ll use the whole house air.

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