These newer design window ACs can help you chill out

Consumer Reports tests for fast cooling, low noise

SAN ANTONIO – It feels like someone flipped the weather switch to San Antonio sauna. If your house is hot and sticky and you don’t have central air conditioning, a window unit can crank up some cool relief.

Consumer Reports just tested dozens of window AC’s including a newer U-shaped design that allows you to open and close the window without a heavy AC unit falling out the window.

The installation is a little different from a traditional window AC.

“It still needs a special bracket to be installed first. Once you do that you can slide the AC into place, and the window closes down into this U-shaped groove,” said Consumer Reports’ Chris Regan.

Just note that you might not be able to fit some windows with the screen.

And now the important question: Can it cool a room?

Consumer Reports testers cranked up the air temperature in a special chamber to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then measured how long it takes a window AC to cool the room by 10 degrees.

“Most of the window air conditioners do a pretty decent job. The best can do it quickly and quietly,” Regan said.

Two of the U-shaped units from Midea stood out, earning top scores for cooling and noise in Consumer Report’s tests.

The Midea U-shaped MAW08V1QWT is for idea medium-sized rooms about 250 to 400 square feet. It costs $360.

And for larger spaces, Consumer Reports recommends the Midea MAW12V1QWT U-shaped unit that costs $470.

If you only need to cool down a small spac -- anything under 300 square fee -- the LG LW6019ER get the job done for about $280.

Not every space can accommodate a window AC, so Consumer Reports also tested portable air conditioners. These typically cost more, use more energy, and tests showed they don’t perform as well as window units.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.