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Window AC Shopping: How to Choose a Window Air Conditioner with Heat

ac and heating window unit

As the seasons change, cooling gives way to heat. It makes sense therefore to have an air conditioner that can provide both cooling and heating function in one, instead of having a separate space heater for the purpose.

For individual rooms and smaller spaces, a window AC can provide both. Since not all AC units are equal, we discuss the key factors to consider when choosing a window air conditioner with heat to ensure you invest in the best one that fits your needs.

What is a Window Air Conditioner?

A window air conditioner is the simplest type of AC unit. It’s a single unit design where all the parts are contained inside one housing, compared to other types of AC systems that have both an indoor and outdoor unit.

As the name suggests, this type of AC is mounted on a window.

Pros of a Window AC

  • The least expensive type of AC system
  • Easy to install, requires only a window opening and nearby power outlet
  • Some units can provide both cooling and heating in one

Window AC Drawbacks

  • Due to its compact size, window ACs are designed to service only single rooms or small spaces.
  • Less efficient than other types of AC systems
  • Generally emits more noise since the compressor is housed in the same unit

When Should You Choose a Window AC?

A window air conditioner is best used when:

  • You only need to service a single room
  • You live in a small one-room apartment or studio unit

If you need to service multiple areas, we suggest going for a mini split so that all rooms can be linked to a single outdoor compressor.

You can also read our guide on window ACs vs through the wall models.

10 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Window AC with Heat

1. Proper sizing

Window air conditioners with heat come in various sizes, measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A higher BTU rating indicates a greater cooling and heating capacity, making it suitable for larger spaces.

Before diving into the technical specifications, determine the window AC capacity that you need by using our convenient AC sizing calculator.

2. Energy efficiency

The next biggest consideration after unit capacity is energy efficiency. This is critical not only for environmental reasons but also to reduce your monthly utility bills. 

Look for units with an Energy Star certification, as these models meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency. AC units with the EnergyStar label are guaranteed to be more efficient than non-certified counterparts.

Additionally, check the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for cooling and the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating. Higher EER and HSPF ratings indicate better energy efficiency.

The EPA updated their CEER ratings for window AC units in March 2023. Make sure the model you choose complies with the updated CEER based on its BTU capacity, to get the best efficiency for your investment. 

3. Refrigerant

Also related to energy efficiency is the use of refrigerant. The EPA has started phasing out older models that use R410A in favor of newer A2L refrigerants

These refrigerants are less toxic, more energy efficient, easier to refill and service, and better for the environment. Since window AC units last for years, it’s best to future-proof your purchase by choosing models that use R32 and newer refrigerants.

4. Heating Function

A window air conditioner with heating function uses either one of two technologies to provide heat:

  • Electric resistance heating – less expensive, but also less energy efficient
  • Heat pump – better efficiency but with a higher price tag

The heat pump models are relatively new to the market. Previously available only in larger AC systems such as mini splits, recent advances have allowed them to be miniaturized enough to fit in window ACs. 

5. Placement

Window air conditioners are designed to fit into standard-sized windows, but it’s essential to ensure that the unit you choose matches your window dimensions. Measure the window opening carefully and check the product specifications for compatibility. Some units may require modifications or window AC kits for proper installation.

The minimum width for a window AC is 14 inches, but high capacity models can require up to 28 inches. For height, low BTU models can be as low as 7 inches to as high as 27 inches for larger BTU ACs.

Finally take the depth into consideration. The minimum is 12 inches, going up to 36 inches for larger units.

6. Ease of use

Entry level window ACs with heat typically have manual controls and analog dials, while intermediate models feature digital displays and come with a remote for convenience.

A programmable timer is a plus for scheduling operational times. For top end models, smart home features provide even more flexibility by allowing you to integrate it with your smart home, and control the AC from anywhere with an internet connection or via voice command.

7. Noise level

Window ACs are notorious for producing noise compared to other types of AC systems. The noise can impact your comfort, especially if the unit is placed in a bedroom or living room. 

Consider the decibel (dB) rating of the unit, with lower dB values indicating quieter operation. Many modern window air conditioners come with features like sleep mode, which adjusts the fan speed for quieter operation at night.

8. Different modes

The primary advantage of a window air conditioner with heat is its dual functionality. Beyond cooling and heating, these units often offer various modes such as fan-only mode, dehumidification mode, and auto mode. Check whether any of these modes are useful for your needs.

9. Brand reputation

Researching the reputation of the brand and reading customer reviews can provide valuable insights into the reliability and performance of a particular window AC model. 

Choose brands known for durable and efficient appliances. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a particular model, do your homework and check reviews from other consumers. Verified reviews provide real-world experiences and help you make an informed decision.

10. Warranty and support

A reliable warranty testifies to the manufacturer’s confidence in their product. Check the warranty period offered, and be sure to understand the terms and conditions since not all warranties are the same. 

Also take into account the availability of customer support and the service centers in your area, so that assistance and service are easily accessible if needed.

Our Top Window AC with Heat Models for 2024

Window AC with Heat Pump:

Amana AH123G35AX 11200 BTU 9.8 CEER, 9.9 EER Window Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

Featuring digital electronic controls and an included remote, this heating and cooling window air conditioner has 11,200 BTUs of cooling capacity and a 9,900 BTU heat pump, with 8,500 BTUs of backup electric heat.

It has an EER of 9.9 and a Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER) of 9.8. Not only is this a window air conditioner but it can also be installed as a through the wall unit!

Amana AH123G35AX 11200 BTU 9.8 CEER, 9.9 EER Window Air Conditioner with Heat Pump
Price: $965.00 Amana AH123G35AX 11200 BTU 9.8 CEER, 9.9 EER Window Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

Featuring digital electronic controls and a hand held remote control, this heating and cooling window air conditioner features 11200 BTU cooling and a 9900 BTU ...

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Low BTU window AC with heat and smart features:

Friedrich CEW08B11B 8000 BTU Chill Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner with Electric Heat – 115V – R32 Refrigerant

The Chill Premier Series is Friedrich’s Premium Line of “smart” room air conditioners. This particular model offers 8,000 cooling BTUs and 4,200 heating BTUs, and has a 10.9 CEER rating.

It boasts smart WiFi connectivity, as well as Friedrich’s QuietMaster technology. It uses vibration reducing counterweights, heavy duty insulation on the inner wall for sound absorption, and stiffened sheet metal casing to help block external noise. The result is 25% less operating noise than regular window ACs.

Finally it uses the new R32 refrigerant, which is more efficient, less toxic, and more eco-friendly, making it a future-proof investment that complies with EPA’s new standards.

Top end window AC with heat:

Friedrich KEL36A35A 36000 BTU Class Kuhl+ Series Electric Heating and Cooling Smart Window Air Conditioner – 230V

This high BTU window AC boasts 35,000 BTUs of cooling power, along with an electric heater that can supply up to 17,300 BTUs of heat. The 35,000 BTUs will cool a large sized space that is about 1900 – 2700 sq. ft. It has an EER of 9.1 and a CEER of 9.0. 

With its commercial-grade quality and construction, it can be used in both residential and commercial spaces and uses a 230 Volt / 30 amp plug. It features Quietmaster Technology that uses sound-blocking insulation, a rotary compressor mounted on rubber grommets and steel inner walls, making it 45% quieter than competitor’s products. 

It can be controlled via the Friedrich Connect App. The app allows users to easily create customized 7-day programs including home, away and night time preferences, and integrate it with smart home routines.

Friedrich KEL36A35A 36000 BTU Class Kuhl+ Series Electric Heating and Cooling Smart Window Air Conditioner - 230V
Price: $2,649.00 Friedrich KEL36A35A 36000 BTU Class Kuhl+ Series Electric Heating and Cooling Smart Window Air Conditioner - 230V

Commercial-grade quality and construction are standard on all Kuhl+ air conditioner with electric heat units. Now Kuhl+ is part of Friedrich's Smart R...

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At Total Home Supply, we carry a wide selection of window AC units with heat from top brands. We also offer industry leading warranties as a testament to the quality of the products we sell.

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

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