Woe to you, owner of a casement or slider window. You cannot buy regular window unit A/Cs, as they are designed for double-hung windows. Because your windows slide into the unit from the side (or outward, with casements), these units will not work, unless you want to undertake a elaborate hack, as detailed on numerous YouTube videos.
For slider windows and casements, you need special A/Cs. These A/Cs are taller than they are wide. Also, in order to cover the gap in the window above the A/Cs, they have slide-outs that extend upward rather than sideways.
Frigidaire produces a suite of Casement/Slider Room Air Conditioners in BTUs of 8,000, 10,000, and 12,000 (models FRA084KT7, FRA103KT1, and FRA123KT1, respectively).
Buy It or Not?
The quickest way to characterize these Frigidaire Casement/Slider A/Cs is that they are icy-cold, room-filling beasts, but you pay dearly for these Arctic pleasures.
Like any other spot-cooling machine, they are designed to cool just one room. If they happen to cool other rooms with all doors open, so much the better: call it collateral benefits.
If you can afford the machines, they are a worthwhile buy.
How Fast Do They Cool?
Each 12,000 BTU unit is specified by Frigidaire to cool 550 square feet, a specification which I have found to be accurate--more or less--from experience.
Test case: two 12,000 BTU Frigidaires positioned at opposite ends of a 975 square foot living space composed of one living room, three bedrooms, one bathroom, and one kitchen.
Running at Hi fan speed with temperatures set at 60 degrees F, they are able to bring the temperature of all areas of the entire space down 5 degrees in 45 minutes.
Forty-five minute may seem like a long time to drop 5 degrees, but note that even the remote rooms (with doors open) need to be brought down 5 degrees.
The two rooms where the A/Cs are located get positively ice-cold. The four remaining rooms reach a cool but not cold state.
Cost of any casement/slider A/C will be about twice the price of a conventional unit. The unit's price spikes upward or downward, according to season and demand.
In the chart below, you can see how the Amazon cost of the 10,000 and 12,000 BTU units altered from early spring to summer, and then from one year to the next. Basically, when temperatures in June shoot up to scorching levels, it becomes a pricing free-for-all.
|10,000 BTU||12,000 BTU||Unit Price Difference|
|May 20, 2015||$475||$500||$25|
|June 20, 2015||$500||$640||$140|
|June 25, 2015||$500||$885||$385|
|June 6, 2016||$528||$600*||$72|
So buy your unit between November and January for better prices. Higher BTU units tend to be more price-volatile and eventually sell out faster than the lower BTU units.
But if you can catch it before hot season hits, I believe it is well worth paying the extra $25 for a higher BTU unit.
I have detailed the Frigidaire A/C installation in this step by step tutorial.
To sum up installation, you are basically on your own. Because windows, siding, and sill are different, Frigidaire's instructions try to cover all possibilities. But this just makes the instructions all the more complex.
With one of my windows, I even ignored all the provided implements (bracket, foam weatherstripping, etc.) and improvised my own wooden stand that attaches to the side of the house. Thus, the Frigidaire does not touch the window, except lightly on the sides.
On another window, I used Frigidaire's implements and the installation went fine.
At 78 pounds, these units are very heavy to lift. If you are not in good shape, you will need help to carry them. Partially it is the weight; partially it is their volume and sheer unwieldiness. You have practically no place to grip.
My best advice is to grab opposing corners of this metal cube. That gives you the most body clearance and allows you to bypass the sharp metal edges of the extending window covers.
The biggest complaint is the condition of the units when you open the box. These are not cosmetic defects, either. The top of one of my units was deeply dented--so deep, in fact, that I wasn't sure that rain wouldn't enter my house through it.
I have tried to push the metal upwards from inside the unit, which helped a bit. Filling it in with caulk helps, too. The units come in thick styrofoam packaging, and I can only imagine that the damage occurred before packing.
What I Like
- Solid, efficient cooling.
- Easy to use remote control units. Up and down arrows control temperature; left and right arrows control fan speeds.
What I Dislike
- Damaged goods upon delivery.
- Loud operation. The unit is not deafening but it is moderately loud. When we want to listen to something with low volume, such as a movie on a laptop, it is necessary to turn down the fan speed on the unit (located about 10 feet away).
- No top filler provided. With the space above the A/C unit open, I had to improvise by purchasing, cutting, and installing an acrylic sheet from Home Depot.
All prices, except for the 12,000 BTU unit on 06/06/2016, are from Amazon. The 12,000 unit (2016) is from Lowe's. Amazon stopped carrying this unit in 2016.