The hum and rattle of room air conditioners has come early to Washington this year. Last month was the warmest March on record for the contiguous United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It’s hard to imagine life without air conditioning in most parts of the country. About 87 percent of American homes have some sort of air conditioning, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In the Northeast, 58 percent of homes use window or wall air-conditioning units, the survey found.
Now is an important point in the season to check your units to see what shape they’re in. Replacing an old model with a more-efficient one could mean savings in energy usage and costs. Room air conditioners are quieter than even five years ago. Although standard window units still dominate the room air-conditioning market, portable models are growing in popularity because they can be easily rolled from room to room. They are also appropriate for buildings that don’t allow units to stick outside a window, because they vent through only a small hose.
A bit of style news: Window units, traditionally available only in boring beige, can be part of your color scheme. Sleek Kuhl models by Friedrich have interchangeable front panels ($49 each) available in six colors, including pink and cobalt blue.