Photo: A.J. Madison
In a perfect, eco-friendly world, we would all stay cool by dabbing crystal, cold stream water on our pressure points and fanning ourselves with giant leaves. But in the actual world we live in, much of the United States has been facing a record-setting heatwave for weeks and, for some, there's only one way to combat it: air conditioning.
And, for lots of us, keeping your room at a comfortable temperature is safer than battling the heat on your own, especially for kids, pets, and the elderly, and with these energy-efficient air conditioners, you can chill out about your energy use, too.
1. Friedrich Kuhl Plus
The Friedrich Kuhl Plus Series comes with one function that's probably the last thing on your mind: It also acts as a heater. Designed to work when temperatures drop as low as 50 degrees or shoot up as high as 115 degrees, it's a conditioner that will keep your space warm on chilly September nights -- while it's still too warm to heat the whole house -- and cool on stifling August days.
The front cover comes in six different colors, just in case you're tired of white, and the 9,500 BTU unit is 30 percent more efficient than the government standard. The company also promises "heavy duty construction" with parts like copper tubing, aluminum fins, and commercial-grade motors, so you won't have to replace it after this year's heatwave takes its toll. (Friedrich Kuhl Plus, $1,100)
2. Frigidaire Window-Mounted Compact Air Conditioner
At 13"x18", this sleek Frigidaire air conditioner is compact enough to fit in even those tiny, third-floor walkup windows, but still offers 8,000 BTUs of cooling power to keep a 350-square-foot space comfortable.
The remote control that operates the unit also has a thermostat located on it, so the unit will cool based n the temperature of the room and not just the temperature around the window, and with an EER of 10.8, the air conditioner is 10 percent more efficient than the government standard. (Fridgidaire, $250)
3. Whirlpool Resource Saver
The Whirlpool Resource Saver 6300 BTU air conditioner has an EER of 11, which makes it 13 percent more efficient than the requirements, but that's not it's only energy-saving feature: the remote and docking system monitor the temperature throughout the room; sleep mode slowly raises the temperature whole you sleep to conserve energy; and a 24-hour timer lets you come home to a cool house without keeping the A/C on high while you're at work all day. (Whirlpool Resource Saver, $350)
While putting a smaller unit in each room helps you control the individual temperatures, the Kenmore 25,000 BTU air conditioner offers enough cold air to keep the temperature steady in almost your entire house -- it's rated for spaces up to 1,600 square feet.
The Energy Star-compliant air conditioner includes a sleep mode to keep you from paying for cool air all night and the remote-with-thermostat to measure the temperature elsewhere in your home, while the timer lets you decide when to start and stop the cooling. It's 11 percent more efficient than the government standard -- just remember that, since cool air sinks, you'll want to put it upstairs to keep your first floor comfortable during the hottest part of the day. (Kenmore 25,000 BTU, $590)
5. GE 115 Volt Room Air Conditioner
The Energy-Star rated GE 115 Volt room air conditioner offers 12,000 BTUs to keep your rooms breezy and cool on even the steamiest summer days, with an EER of 10.8 (as opposed to the federal standard of 9.8). The 24-hour timer and three-speed fan let you control when and how long the unit runs for, and the lift-out filter is easy to access for maximum air quality. (GE 115 Volt, $340)