Millions of old window air conditioners are still in use, but the technology inside those ugly, noisy boxes hasn’t changed much in the last few decades.
You can make one smarter by connecting it to a third-party controller like the Sensibo Sky, Ambi Climate 2, or Tado Smart A/C Remote.
This might reduce its energy use, but if yours is on its last legs, it’s better to get rid of it and buy a new one with a built-in brain.
That’s what LG’s line of connected window air conditioners with Dual Inverter have, and they’re also very efficient.
LG’s Dual Inverter line includes a 9,500 BTU unit and a 22,000 BTU monster that plugs into a 220-volt outlet (the type an electric clothes dryer would use).
I looked at LG’s model LW1517IVSM. It is rated at 14,000 BTU and plugs into a more common 15-amp, 120-volt grounded outlet.
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, by the way. When comes to air conditioning, is a way to measure how much heat an air conditioner can take out of a room.
So, the more BTUs an air conditioner has, the more powerful it is.
The square footage that an air conditioner should be able to cool can also be given by the manufacturer.
LG says that this unit is best for rooms that are up to 800 square feet.
I tried it out in a bedroom made out of 600-square-foot attic space.
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During the remodel, our central HVAC system wasn’t connected to this room, so it gets very hot in the summer. You need a window air conditioner.
Describe An inverter.
Before we talk about the smart features of this air conditioner, let’s talk about what makes it more efficient than most.
The compressor motor in an air conditioner moves the refrigerant that is used to exchange heat.
On a typical air conditioner, the compressor motor runs at the same speed no matter how much the temperature outside is different from the temperature you set with the controls.
The compressor starts up and works hard until the set temperature is reached.
Then it turns off and waits until the target temperature is reached again, at which point it turns back on. This cycle keeps going until there is no more need for air conditioning.
This doesn’t happen with an inverter air conditioner like this one from LG, which is powered by a compressor motor that can run at different speeds.
It might turn on the compressor at full speed at first, but once the target temperature is reached, it will slow down the compressor motor to keep that temperature instead of turning it off and waiting for the room to get too hot.
The air conditioner figures out how hard it needs to work to keep the room at the right temperature, and it tells the compressor motor to work that way.
So, LG says that its Dual Inverter air conditioners are up to 25% more efficient than what is needed to get the EnergyStar certification from the U.S. government.
The EnergyGuide label on the model LW1517IVSM we looked at here says that it will cost $68 to run for a year, compared to $115 to $182 for similar models that are less efficient.
This method also has another benefit: because the compressor motor in an inverter air conditioner doesn’t always run at full speed, this type of appliance isn’t as loud. This LG unit was quiet. It wasn’t as quiet as a whisper, but it was quieter than any window air conditioner I’ve ever heard.
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Simple To Set Up
LG’s largest Dual Inverter model that doesn’t need a 220-volt outlet is the LW1517IVSM. It’s a 100-pound box that looks impressive.
But LG made it easy to put the unit together by making the main unit slide out of its cabinet. First, you attach just the cabinet to your window sill.
Then, you slide the unit into the cabinet and use a couple of screws to hold it in place.
Plug it in and turn it on. You can use the control pad on the front of the unit or the LCD-equipped remote control to set the desired temperature and fan speed.
From a very hot 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the LG LW1517IVSM took only 25 minutes to cool the room down to a very comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
But no smart homeowner worth their salt wants to mess with buttons on a control panel when they can talk to a smart speaker or use an app on their phone.
That’s where this air conditioner’s built-in Wi-Fi adapter (unfortunately, it only works with 2.4GHz networks) and the LG SmartThinQ app come in.
Both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant work with the device.
The SmartThinQ app does a good job of letting you control and adjust your air conditioner from afar, but when you look into its scheduling options, you’ll find major flaws.
The app lets you set days and times for the air conditioner to turn on and off, but you can’t set temperatures for different times of the day.
The SmartThinQ app also has a home, away, and vacation modes, but it’s very hard to figure out what they do and how to change them.
SmartThinQ was made to control a wide range of LG smart appliances, like refrigerators, washers and dryers, robot vacuums, and even LG TVs.
Because of this, many of the options in it don’t work at all with LG’s air conditioners.
The Winner Is Inverter Technology
The LG LW1517IVSM is easy to recommend because its price isn’t that much higher than that of similar window air conditioners that don’t have inverter motors or Wi-Fi.
Even if it wasn’t smart, it would still be a great choice. I’m not a big fan of LG’s SmartThinQ app, but that won’t matter if you don’t need detailed scheduling.
And if the microcontroller is a must-have feature, you could always add a third-party controller like one of the ones listed above.
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