Picking the Best Air Conditioner for Your Apartment

Looking to cool down your apartment? With spring and summer approaching soon, it’s important to start thinking about how to prepare for those hotter months and stay cool. While many apartments come with built-in air conditioning (AC) units, many do not. So what are your options for cooling down your space? In this article, we’ll go into detail about how to decide what is the best air conditioner for your apartment.

How do air conditioners work to keep your apartment cool?

Air conditioners have been around for a very long time, in fact, the first air conditioning system was developed in 1902.The basics of how air conditioners work are similar to how a fridge works. Air conditioners use an internal refrigerating system to take in hot air and cool it. The hot air, absorbed by the AC unit through various coils and systems, turns into a gas. From there, the unit converts it back into a liquid.

Next, the hot air pushes out the back through vents or a window and the cool air pushes into your apartment. The website HowStuffWorks.com puts it very simply: “Think of it as an endless, elegant cycle: liquid refrigerant, phase conversion to a gas/heat absorption, compression and phase transition back to a liquid again.”

air conditioningair conditioning

Important things to understand when selecting your AC unit

There are a couple of other things to consider when picking which type of AC unit to use for your apartment. You’ll want to consider things such as cooling capacity, BTUs, energy efficiency and costs.

BTUs

BTU or British thermal units is the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool one pound of water. For air conditioners specifically, the BTU refers to the amount of heat your unit can remove in an hour. Some units take more than others. For instance, a window unit takes anywhere from 3,000 to 25,000 BTUs, whereas a portable system can use anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 BTUs. Make sure to take the time to research this before deciding on which unit is best for you. Learn Metrics has created a more in-depth chart for understanding different BTUs for different sized apartments.

Cooling capacity

When picking out your AC unit keep in mind its cooling capacity. The size of the area you want to cool will greatly impact your choice. Different units cool different area sizes. Take portable units for example — these are usually only able to cool the area they sit in. Window units on the other hand are a better option if you are looking to cool down an entire apartment.

Energy costs

The cost that it takes to run an AC unit is something else to consider. The price can greatly change depending on how big your unit is and how big of an area you’re trying to cool. On average it can cost anywhere from $14.40 per month to $211.20 to run different types of AC units.

Best air conditioner options for your apartment

Now you know how air conditioners work, how do you know which type is right for your apartment? Here are a couple of different options that you can choose from.

1. Portable air conditioner

Portable units are one option when looking for an AC unit. They come in various sizes and work in many different rooms. Often referred to as “portable swamp coolers” or “evaporated cooling” these two systems work similarly to other AC units but primarily rely on water. Another difference is their setup. For instance, some require their own voltage plug and most require you the ability to vent the hot air out of a window.

Another great question to ask when thinking about portable units is, “Can you use a portable air conditioner in an apartment?” The answer depends on your apartment complex and its rules. In certain apartments they are not allowed, so make sure to check with your apartment before you invest in one. Here are some pros and cons of portable AC units.

Pros:

  • Move room-to-room
  • Cost-efficient
  • Come in various sizes
  • Great if you have a strict HOA or landlord and can’t install a window unit

Cons:

  • Sometimes are less energy efficient
  • Can be noisy

AC unit in a window against a brick wall AC unit in a window against a brick wall

2. Window units

Window units are very popular throughout Europe and make another great option for your apartment AC unit. Set in a window, they function much like other AC units and are capable of cooling medium-sized spaces. Here are some of their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Come in various sizes to fit your windows
  • Can come with a heating system

Cons:

  • Not portable and stay in the window you place them in
  • Not energy efficient

3. Wall-mounted

Wall-mounted units are a great option for people who are living in older buildings that tend to get very hot during summer. Here are the pros and cons of these AC units.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Don’t take up a window or block the view
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Don’t cool the whole space
  • Must be cleaned and maintained regularly

Happy woman holding a remote under an air conditioning unit Happy woman holding a remote under an air conditioning unit

4. Personal AC unit

Personal AC units are great for cooling down a single person in a smaller space. They are typically very small — meant for bed stands or desks and are not meant to cool the entire space down. These typically only need a plug and water, however, they do not cool as well as bigger units. Here are their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Great for personal use
  • Move from room-to-room
  • Easy to use and install

Cons:

  • Not energy efficient
  • Need cleaning after each use to avoid germ growth

Man with his face in front of a fan Man with his face in front of a fan

How to keep your apartment cool without an AC unit

If none of these options work for you, there are other ways to keep yourself cool this summer. Here is a list of other options to consider:

  • Installing fans
  • Purchasing dark blinds to block the sun
  • Putting cooling sheets on your bed
  • Switching out your light bulbs to ones that produce less heat
  • Opening your windows at night
  • Cooking outside

Stay cool as a cucumber

While the summer heat is great for outdoor activities and vacations, it’s not so great for your apartment. Keeping your place cool throughout these hot months is essential. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable in your own living space. The good news is there are many different options to consider when thinking about the best air conditioner for your apartment.

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The 5 Most Popular Orlando Neighborhoods for Renters

Orlando, FL is known as one of the top tourist destinations in the country. But the “Theme Park Capital of the World” is home to way more than Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. It’s also a burgeoning metropolis that features modern living, a vibrant nightlife and many outdoor activities.

If you are looking to make Orlando home, we can help you find the best neighborhood to meet your needs. We combed through Google data using generic keyword searches and combined those results with the most searched Orlando neighborhoods on ApartmentGuide.com to determine the five most popular Orlando neighborhoods with renters.

Most Popular Orlando Neighborhoods

most popular neighborhoods in Orlandomost popular neighborhoods in Orlando

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Here is a quick overview of each neighborhood and what you’d expect to pay for rent in each area.

1. Downtown

downtown orlandodowntown orlando

Downtown Orlando functions as a booming business district during the day, but cranks up the nightlife after dusk with bustling entertainment and nightlife that attracts young professionals and sports fans making their way to an Orlando Magic game. Those looking for urban living can also enjoy lots of fine dining options and various galleries and theaters. Being so close to the action comes with a price, as rentals are more expensive than the city’s overall average.

Property Size Downtown Average Orlando Average
1 BR $1,878 $1,379
2 BR $2,466 $1,714

2. Rosemont

Rosemont OrlandoRosemont Orlando

If you’re looking for a smaller neighborhood on the northwest side of Orlando, then you might want to visit Rosemont. This quaint district offers affordable housing near Lake Orlando and is a favorite place for biking and jogging by the water. With a median age of 40, Rosemont caters to individuals, couples and families trying to stay on budget.

Property Size Rosemont Average Orlando Average
1 BR $875 $1,379
2 BR $1,044 $1,714

3. Millenia

Millenia OrlandoMillenia Orlando

This new, up-and-coming neighborhood is in the southwestern part of Orlando and showcases attractive modern architecture and large, reasonably priced family homes. For those who love to shop, the Mall of Millenia provides 1.2 million square feet of retail and entertainment. When it comes to the cost of living, these urban apartments are on par with the city’s average.

Property Size Millenia Average Orlando Average
1 BR $1,402 $1,379
2 BR $1,744 $1,714

4. Baldwin Park

Baldwin Park OrlandoBaldwin Park Orlando

Baldwin Park once served as the Orlando Naval Training Center for the U.S. Army Corps and U.S. Air Force from 1940 to 1968. Today, it is a trendy neighborhood that successfully mixes old and architecture and includes 50 miles of trails and a 200-acre park.

Located just two miles east of Downtown, Baldwin Park also offers families and professionals access to great dining and entertainment options, such as The Village Center on Broad Street. Expect to pay higher-than-average prices for modern living in this area.

Property Size Baldwin Park Average Orlando Average
1 BR $1,732 $1,379
2 BR $2,117 $1,714

5. Metro West

Metro West OrlandoMetro West Orlando

Created in the mid-1980s, Metro West successfully blends businesses with community. This classy and affordable neighborhood appeals to families, professionals and avid golfers. You can even work on your swing at the Golf Clubhouse run by Arnold Palmer Golf Management. Metro West also offers some spectacular views of the city for a price that’s below the Orlando average.

Property Size Metro West Average Orlando Average
1 BR $1,245 $1,379
2 BR $1,522 $1,714
The rent information included in this article is based on current rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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The 5 Most Popular Madison Neighborhoods For Renters

Madison, WI, is undoubtedly one of the best small towns in America. The city is known for its five beautiful lakes, many city parks and quirky urban secrets. A global food scene and Farmer’s Market also make it a “foodie” paradise.

The State Capitol building is the city’s center, surrounded by museums, local businesses and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace. Madison is also home to the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin and the nationally-ranked UW Hospital system.

When you are ready to live in Madison, let us help you find your perfect neighborhood to call home.

We combed through Google data using generic keyword searches and combined those results with the most searched Madison neighborhoods on ApartmentGuide.com to determine the five most popular Madison neighborhoods with renters.

Most Popular Madison Neighborhoods

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Our data found the most popular Madison neighborhoods are just a short walk to the lakes and to the State Capitol Square. Your neighbors are students, doctors, small business owners and local politicians.

Here is a quick overview of each neighborhood and what you’d expect to pay for rent in each area.

1. Downtown

downtown madisondowntown madison

Downtown is Madison’s oldest neighborhood complete with award-winning restaurants, a bustling arts and nightlife scene and an expansive Saturday Farmer’s Market (Sundays in the winter). It’s the heart and soul of the city and it’s right outside your door when you rent Downtown. Living on “the Isthmus” also guarantees incredible views of the State Capitol Dome, Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, but comes with above average rental prices.

Property Size Downtown Average Madison Average
Studio $975 $970
1 BR $1,549 $1,261
2 BR $2,132 $1,594

2. Regent

regent madisonregent madison

Regent is a booming neighborhood for sports fans and hospital employees. There is a healthy balance of affordable new apartment buildings on Monroe Street and near the hospital along with vintage Madison residences. Camp Randall Stadium anchors this neighborhood, so loving Badger football is a must to live this close.

Property Size Regent Average Madison Average
Studio $849 $970
1 BR $1,088 $1,261
2 BR $1,519 $1,594

3. Schenk-Atwood

schenk-atwood madisonschenk-atwood madison

Once a blue-collar district, Schenk-Atwood is an East Side neighborhood that has transformed into a hip and vibrant community with a booming food and music scene. This corner of Lake Monona is a haven for foodies and has some of Madison’s most-loved institutions: Willy Street Co-op, the Barrymore Theater, the Harmony Bar and Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Property Size Schenk-Atwood Average Madison Average
Studio $1,373 $970
1 BR $1,645 $1,261
2 BR $2,127 $1,594

4. State-Langdon

state-langdon madisonstate-langdon madison

This is Madison’s hottest student neighborhood. Grab a beer or some campus-made ice cream and join the crowds at the Memorial Union Terrace. Nearby, everyone knows the best meals in the city come from the food trucks outside of Memorial Library. New construction on University Avenue means new apartment options, as well as a new shopping and lifestyle hub for rental prices lower than the city average.

Property Size State-Langdon Average Madison Average
Studio $883 $970
1 BR $1,145 $1,261
2 BR $1,647 $1,594

5. Tenney-Lapham

tenney-lapham madisontenney-lapham madison

Ice-skating in Tenney Park is a Madison highlight. If you rent in this majestic neighborhood, you can choose from new buildings with ultra-modern amenities, as well as early-20th-century gems. Renters here love the vintage woodwork and charm. The shops and restaurants on State Street are just around the corner and Lake Mendota is your personal waterfront.

Property Size Tenney-Lapham Average Madison Average
Studio $1,107 $970
1 BR $1,496 $1,261
2 BR $2,306 $1,594
The rent information included in this article is based on current rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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The 5 Most Popular Jacksonville Neighborhoods for Renters

Jacksonville is one of the fastest-growing regions in Florida. Its spectacular beaches, urban parks, arts community and culinary cuisine makes Jacksonville an attractive destination for new residents.

If you are one of those people looking to live in Jacksonville, we’re here to help you find your perfect neighborhood to call home.

We combed through Google data using generic keyword searches and combined those results with the most searched Jacksonville neighborhoods on ApartmentGuide.com to determine the five most popular Jacksonville neighborhoods with renters.

Most Popular Jacksonville Neighborhoods

jacksonville most popular neighborhoodsjacksonville most popular neighborhoods

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Here is a quick overview of each neighborhood and what you’d expect to pay for rent in each area.

1. Riverside

Riverside JacksonvilleRiverside Jacksonville

Riverside’s Bohemian vibe, independent shops and eateries, craft breweries and active arts scene make this historic neighborhood attractive to young professionals. Its canopied streets are nestled near the river and feature architecturally diverse homes and buildings. This neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Districts, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s on the higher-end of Jacksonville’s rental prices.

Property Size Riverside Average Jacksonville Average
1 BR $1,653 $985
2 BR $2,090 $1,152

2. Mandarin

Mandarin JacksonvilleMandarin Jacksonville

Mandarin may be named after the orange, but is known for its lined streets of stately oak trees adorned with Spanish moss. The community boasts some of the most stunning views of the St. Johns River and an ample presence of restaurant and shopping chains. This high-demand rental area has more residential space than commercial and is reasonably affordable.

Property Size Mandarin Average Jacksonville Average
1 BR $977 $985
2 BR $1,095 $1,152

3. Baymeadows

baymeadows jacksonvillebaymeadows jacksonville

Baymeadows is the only Jacksonville community on our list not on the St. Johns waterfront. This quiet, family-centric suburban neighborhood is 12 miles outside the city center and features chain eateries and plenty of shopping. Those looking for a more laid-back feel can expect to pay slightly above average prices.

Property Size Baymeadows Average Jacksonville Average
1 BR $1,091 $985
2 BR $1,266 $1,152

4. San Marco

san marcos jacksonvillesan marcos jacksonville

San Marco is a historical and quaint family-friendly neighborhood that provides a small-town feel just minutes away from downtown. Located on the St. Johns River, San Marco is lined with chic bistros and trendy bars. San Marco Square is its lively hub with hip boutiques, casual eateries galleries and Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest community theatre in the country. The neighborhood features lots of affordable apartments.

Property Size San Marco Average Jacksonville Average
1 BR $800 $985
2 BR $1,321 $1,152

5. Downtown

downtown jacksonvilledowntown jacksonville

Located between the St. Johns River and high-rise buildings, Downtown Jacksonville is a favorite among professionals. The city’s epicenter is home to more than 50 restaurants and bars, as well as The Jacksonville Landing. If you love busy, vibrant urban areas with lots to do, the higher-than-average rent might be worthwhile.

Property Size Downtown Average Jacksonville Average
1 BR $1,375 $985
2 BR $1,443 $1,152
The rent information included in this article is based on current rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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The 5 Most Popular Memphis Neighborhoods for Renters

Rich in cultural history, Memphis is best known as the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. The Bluff City has since transformed into a thriving commercial center, featuring three Fortune 500 companies and a complete revitalization of Downtown.

With one of the best renter’s markets in the country, we’re here to help you find the perfect neighborhood to call home.

We combed through Google data using generic keyword searches and combined those results with the most searched Memphis neighborhoods on ApartmentGuide.com to determine the five most popular Memphis neighborhoods with renters.

Most Popular Memphis Neighborhoods

Memphis most popular neighborhoodsMemphis most popular neighborhoods

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Here is a quick overview of each neighborhood and what you’d expect to pay for rent in each area.

1. Downtown

downtown memphisdowntown memphis

Downtown Memphis borders the Mississippi River and is home to the city’s top entertainment attraction: Beale Street. You’ll find plenty of locals and tourists enjoying this walkable stretch while visiting the huge array of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Downtown is popular with young professionals and empty nesters who don’t mind apartment living. The rent here is higher than the citywide average.

Property Size Downtown Average Memphis Average
1 BR $1,032 $867
2 BR $1,478 $1,076

2. Midtown

midtown memphismidtown memphis

Just east of Downtown Memphis, Midtown is an artsy, eclectic community. Areas such as Overton Square and Cooper-Young are filled with a diverse collection of shops, restaurants (Payne’s BBQ is a must) and nightlife options. The proximity to Overton Park, which includes the Memphis Zoo and a concert venue, makes Midtown a great neighborhood for families, Millennials and everyone in between. The rent here is also very reasonable.

Property Size Midtown Average Memphis Average
1 BR $838 $867
2 BR $1,098 $1,076

3. Mud Island

mud island memphismud island memphis

With direct access from Downtown Memphis, Mud Island is a small peninsula with a tightly-knit group of residents. Featuring boutique shops and restaurants, the crown jewel of this neighborhood is the Mud Island River Park. This green space has bike trails, pedal boats and a 5,000-seat amphitheater where you can catch a free concert during the summer. With all the nearby amenities, expect rent prices here to be much higher than the citywide average.

Property Size Mud Island Average Memphis Average
1 BR $1,176 $867
2 BR $1,745 $1,076

4. Raleigh

raleigh memphisraleigh memphis

Raleigh is a diverse community situated northeast of the city center. This large neighborhood is the only suburban area on our list and offers a wide variety of retail and dining options with quick access to Downtown for commuters. Rent here is very affordable and choices include everything from studio apartments to single-family homes. The bargain rent also makes Raleigh popular with young families.

Property Size Raleigh Average Memphis Average
1 BR $559 $867
2 BR $666 $1,076

5. Central Gardens

central gardens memphiscentral gardens memphis

Located in the center of Midtown, Central Gardens is a beloved neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This residential community is filled with single-family homes initially built in the early 20th century. With its quaint and serene atmosphere, Central Gardens is popular with families and retirees. Rent here is very similar to the citywide average.

Property Size Raleigh Average Memphis Average
1 BR $831 $867
2 BR $1,117 $1,076
The rent information included in this article is based on current rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

As people get older, the idea of slowing down and living out their days in an old folks’ home isn’t part of their life plan.

Understanding why a move may be necessary and what types of care and facilities are available can make it easier for them and their adult children.

Benefits of a continuing care retirement community

There’s not one medical diagnosis that determines whether someone needs to move into a continuing care facility. In many cases, it’s based on the physical assistance that somebody might need or on personal safety. Life situations may dictate what you can do, what you can afford and what you may need.

That’s what makes a continuing care retirement community so great. It provides one campus with every type of retirement community out there, so an aging adult can make one move and continue on in the same place as their needs change.

Here are the types of care options you will find at a continuing care community.

1. Active adults

For those who are retired and still very active and involved with their communities, an active adult community might be a great transition when they’re ready to move from their homes.

It’s ideal for those who don’t need help with daily life but still want the benefits of living in a community, such as sharing meals they don’t have to cook and attending concerts, art classes, lectures, movies, discussion groups and book clubs.

This type of arrangement helps residents feel less isolated because they’re engaged and connecting with others. They’re living in a community with people who share their interests and for many people, that’s better than living at home alone.

2. Assisted living

Whereas independent living is great for those who crave community but don’t need assistance, assisted living services are available for those clients who do need assistance with chores, like showering, getting around or medical care.

Assisted living facilities help residents with medication management and provide a more scheduled environment. In many cases, those living on their own may not be getting the nutrition in their diets that they need. By moving to an assisted living community, they can have their medication administered by nurses or licensed aide residents and get help with meals, cleaning and personal care.

For many, it’s not just about health concerns. Socialization is an important aspect of this type of retirement community as it helps extend their quality of life, especially when their health falters.

3. Memory care

Other residents need more specific care, such as those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. In those cases, a memory care facility is a good option. Since those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can become agitated, confused, aggressive or depressed, memory care facilities and their staff can provide a structure that helps minimize those symptoms.

In addition to getting the care they need by staff who know how to communicate and work with people with dementia, residents have a chance to socialize and engage in activities where their options at home may be more limited and lonelier. Having a routine that’s predictable and comforting can help residents living in memory care facilities.

Choosing a community

It’s worth noting that not all continuing care retirement communities are created equally.

When choosing a facility, consider staff-to-resident ratio, outcomes, the medical director, therapy plans and dining programs. Some residents may need a more restrictive diet, for example, and it’s important to know whether the facility can easily accommodate those needs.

Also, every retirement community is different in terms of the levels of care it provides and its fee structure. While some independent and active residents might feel different levels of care aren’t important, understanding what’s available in different communities is important for long-term planning.

Look at the physical layout of centers, too. Some retirement homes might separate assisted living residents to a specific part of the building or floor while others don’t.

Many older individuals stand to benefit from the care retirement communities provide, whether a resident needs assistance with specific healthcare concerns or prefers a more independent lifestyle.

Before they pack their first box, it’s important to consider what they really need to make sure they find their right home. This will make it easier for everyone, both emotionally and mentally, in the long run.

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