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WA-1211S - Even better than expected!
on July 26, 2011
The current Amazon description does NOT do this unit justice! What it tells you is the following:
Energy star Window Air Conditioner
12000 BTU cooling Capacity
3 fan speed
Temperature Range from 62-86 F
Now, let me tell you what this unit REALLY offers!
First, it has a remote control. This is a big thing for us... we don't like to have to keep getting up and down whenever we want to change a setting... and settings it has! With the remote, you can not only change the temperature, but also set the timer, fan speed, sleep mode, and operating mode (cooling, fan, "drying" - which I'll get into in a moment..., or AUTO)
It has a timer! You can set your air conditioner to shut off after a certain amount of time - up to 24 hours in half-hour increments (one-hour increments after 10 hours). This is great for those of us who "accidentally" fall asleep while watching a movie or something with the air conditioner on... it saves a ton on electricity!
The vent is adjustable so you can direct the air. Pretty standard, but Amazon doesn't mention it.
Digital temperature display - again, probably seems obvious, but again, Amazon doesn't mention it.
About that 3-speed fan they mention... that would be Low, Medium, or High... but you can also choose "AUTO", which will alter the fan's intensity for you depending on demand.
The filter is not only washable, the unit actually tells you when it needs cleaned, so you don't forget to check it.
It has this thing called "SLEEP" mode... where it apparently slowly rises the designated temperature by 4 degrees over a 1 hour period, then runs at that temperature for six hours before returing to the original temp. I suppose this would make it quieter when you're sleeping, but we don't intentionally sleep in the room we have this in, so it's not such a big deal to us.
Lots of other modes! Here's a description:
FAN mode - works like a fan by bringing air in from the outside.
AUTO mode - a "smart" air conditioner! Instead of just flooding your room with constant cold air until icicles form, this allows you to set a temperature and stick to it. This may be a standard function in newer air conditioners, but the one we've been using in our bedroom for years didn't have this, so you'd wake up freezing in the middle of the night. In AUTO mode, the AC starts cooling whenever the temperature in your room hits 4 degrees above your desired temperature, and it switches to FAN mode when the temp drops 2 degrees below that. This seven-degree range may seem broad, but it keeps your air conditioner from constantly turning on-and-off-and-on-and-off, like my grandma's nursing home AC used to do.
COOL mode - standard air conditioner mode. This is similar to AUTO, except that you only have a two-degree range. The booklet offered this example:
Assume you set your temperature to 70 degrees.
- in AUTO mode, it will COOL to 68 degrees, then FAN to 74 degrees, then COOL again...
- in COOL mode, it will COOL to 70 degrees, then FAN to 72 degrees, then COOL again...
Basically COOL is the same as AUTO except it'll switch more often.
Then there's DRY mode - now this is neat... your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier, removing moisture from your home, which can make it seem drier without having to spend as much on electricity.
Finally, there's an ENERGY SAVER mode, which can be selected from COOL mode. When your desired temperature is reached, it stops cooling, the fan runs for another couple of minutes, then it "cycles" for two minutes every 10 minutes until the room temperature gets above the set temperature, at which point it COOLs again.
Oh, and it plugs into a regular outlet. This is great, because at the time we needed an AC, all the stores in our city were sold out of everything but 220s, which (I recently learned) do not fit normal outlets.
It's heavy. The UPS guy dropped it off and I couldn't get it inside until my husband got home. Also, the instructions tell you to screw it into your windows. My windows aren't made of wood, and I don't really want to drill into them anyway, so we chose not to do that. I'll let you know if it slides out or anything, but I think it'll be fine. We might prop it up outside with a 4x4, we'll have to see.
Installing it was really pretty easy, given that we didn't really follow the instructions. If you follow the instructions, best of luck to you.
Please comment if you have any questions! I was leery about purchasing this unit when there weren't ANY reviews ANYWHERE, but we did... and I'm glad we did!
UPDATE: ONE YEAR LATER.
A couple of comments have suggested this review sounded a lot like a manual. It probably does. We wrote this the day after we got the air conditioner, and wanted to help out anyone else considering buying the unit with as much information as possible. When you get the manual, you probably will not have to read it if you've read this review!
That said, we used this air conditioner for the lower story of our 1940s-era brick home, which does not have working central air. It was used for an area of probably around 650-ish square feet. Our home is not insulated, and any argon gas that may once have been in our windows is no longer there, so this is definitely not the "optimal home", but this unit worked for us. It is sort of noisy, but no more so than the 5000 BTU air conditioner we had from the 1990s. I love the different cooling modes that help us save money on electricity. We usually turn it off at night unless it's an especially hot Ohio night.
One more note - it came with foam padding to put around the window opening to more fully insulate from the outside air. This then stuck when we tried to remove it in the fall. We won't be using that this year.
I'm glad to see this review has been helpful to a lot of you. Please keep the comments coming if you have any more questions! It's really a fantastic value.