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Air Conditioner Unit - all the features explained

An air conditioner is a popular appliance used in a home, office or other indoor environment  to control temperature, air quality and humidity in a designated space.

There are many features and terms associated with air conditioning units and it's easy to become confused about them.

If you are thinking of buying an air conditioner we've listed most of the main terms and jargon below relating to these handy devices.

Many or just a few of these features will be built into a conditioner - naturally a more expensive deluxe model will have more features than a cheap air conditioning unit.

On-off timer: This is a 24-hour feature of a portable air conditioning unit which lets you set a time when the unit will automatically turn on or off. This is an invaluable way to cut down your electricity bills.

Exhaust Hose: The hose that the conditioner uses to either draw in air or to expel air that has already been drawn into the unit. Most portable air conditioning exhaust hoses are positioned out of a window or through the roof in a room.

Remote Control:  Many air conditioners come with a handy remote control which lets the owner configure the temperature and mode settings on the unit.

Air Flow: This is the speed at which air is flows out of the unit and it is usually measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Air Ionizer: This is an electronic device on some units which is designed to charge air particles with electricity in order to get rid of airborne contaminants, thereby purifying the air in a specific area.

Coverage: This relates to the amount of space a  conditioning unit can cool down in a certain period of time. The higher the unit's BTU capacity, the larger is coverage will be.

Fan Mode: This relates to when the air conditioner is configured simply to expel room temperature air in a certain direction.

Antimicrobial Mesh Filter: These are very dense and are designed to remove germs, microscopic pollutants and other air-borne contaminants from the air.

Operation Mode: The number of modes available will depend on the size and quality of a unit. There are four key modes - air conditioner, heater, dehumidifier, and fan. The majority of units have only two or three operation modes.

Automatic Defrost: This is a useful feature for melting any frost that has collected in the conditioner. The resulting water is then drained into a drainage or automatically evaporated by the auto defrost feature.

Thermostat: Most decent quality air con units have a thermostat  which lets the user set the desired temperature in a room in their house or office. When a a room has reached the required temperature the unit will automatically switch to sleep mode.

British Thermal Unit: One BTU is equal to around 1055 joules. and the BTU capacity of a conditioner is used to describe its capability. The higher the BTU count the colder the air conditioning rate will be.

Swing Air Control: Swing air directional control is a feature that lets you change the direction of the unit’s vents. Some units have vents which can be programmed to change direction automatically.

Carbon Filter: This is designed to eliminate odours and contaminates from the air. These small filters are removable in some conditioners. Some conditioners come with an additional washable pre-filter which can be removed regularly and washed to maintain maximum air quality.

Condenser: This is the core of any air conditioner and is responsible for pumping cold air into the circuitry around the unit's pipes to generate refreshing cold air in a room.

Dehumidifier: Some conditioners have a built-in dehumidifier which will remove moisture from the air when turned on. Dehumidifying capacity is the amount of moisture a conditioner can absorb from a room when dehumidifier mode is activated.

Decibel Noise Level: This refers to the level of noise an air conditioner produces when running at full capacity. The average decibel count for conditioners is around 50. The lower the decibel count the quieter the unit will be.

Eco-Friendly: An air conditioner qualifies as being eco-friendly if it operates in a way that does not have an overall negative impact on the environment.

Air Louvers: These are vents at the rear of a portable conditioner which disperse air into a room. There often the option to change their angle so air can be emitted in a specific direction.

Window Kit: Many air conditioners come with a useful kit which allows you to mount the unit on a window if required.

Power Consumption: This amount of electricity a unit consumes in watts while operating.If you want to keep your electricity bills down you should buy a portable air conditioner with a low maximum power consumption level. The average consumption level for conditioners is around 1,000 watts.

Sleep Mode: This is found on some conditioners and moves the unit to standby mode when activated - it is similar to the feature found on most TVs, DVD players and other electrical devices. The unit will not operate again until a switch or button is pressed again.

Auto Drain Technology: This feature removes the need to manually empty the air conditioner's water container by evaporating it.