At Home with Lisa: Tips on using a window air conditioner

Without a central heating and air conditioning system in my old house, we rely on our window air conditioning units to keep cool in the summer.

The weather warming up and summer just around the corner I know many people, including us, are thinking about a window-unit air conditioner.

This is an easy way to cool down your space without breaking the bank.

We bought a new air conditioner last year—we were on a budget and kept it to under $200. According to Avista’s website, an old A/C unit can use the equivalent energy of 30 fans so we knew it was time for a new one. Even with the smaller budget, we looked for a unit with a higher combined energy-efficiency ratio. Ours was an 11.1, which the Energy Guide on the label estimated would be around $53 a year.

Last summer, the air conditioner worked great. We kept cool throughout the hottest months and didn’t run up our energy bill.

While our unit had extenders on the side to fill out the space in the window, we knew that it was only going to be in the window for a few months. In the fall when the temperatures started to drop, we took the air conditioner out so we could close the window. There are covers you can buy to go over the outside of the unit and keep the warm air inside, but it was just as easy for us to take the unit out.

It’s still not quite warm enough to turn on the air conditioner, but if you are like me, finding a window unit that will cool things off without using a lot of energy is a good find and a great way to get ready for summer weather.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.

Read more energy saving tips.


  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Energy Saving
  3. Summer