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Sears Low Profile 6,000 BTU A/C: A Quiet, Super-Efficient "Class Act" in Room Air
Written: Jun 16, 2004 (Updated Jul 26, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
"Window Shakers." That's the way some people describe window air conditioners. One thing is for certain: No one who uses that term has ever tried out the Sears 73069 6,000 BTU room air conditioner.
On its low speed, this air conditioner is so quiet that you will literally forget that it's turned on. Even on the medium or high fan speeds, the sound of cool air blowing from this unit is only slightly above the level of a whisper.
But quietness is only one advantage of this well-engineered unit. Some other features:
-Digital control panel with remote control, featuring electronic automatic temperature control settings adjustable in one-degree increments from 60 to 86 degrees F. All control functions are accessible from either the unit's control panel or the remote.
-Chart-topping 10.7 EER. Bearing the U.S. Government's EnergyStar rating, this unit is amazingly efficient, providing 6,000 BTUs of cooling while only drawing 560 watts. On the yellow EnergyGuide sticker that came with my unit, this unit was off the scale -- more efficient even than the chart could show.
At the national average electric rate of about 8.7 cents per kwh, if this unit is operated 8 hours per day every single day for an entire month, it would only cost $11.70 that month on your electric bill to run it.
-Automatic on/off timer which will turn on or shut off the air conditioner up to 12 hours in the future. This can be a big energy saver: Instead of letting the unit run all day while you're at work, just set it to turn on an hour or so before you get home. You come home to a cool, comfortable room, while saving many hours of running time and several kilowatt-hours of electric power.
-Sleep function: When the timer is used to turn the air conditioner off, a "sleep" feature will raise the temperature setting 2 degrees 30 minutes after the timer is set, and another 2 degrees 30 more minutes later.
-PlasmAire air purification feature: The heat exchanger is treated with a special material which is said to provide greater air purification than a conventional air conditioner filter.
-Auto-restart: This is a very helpful feature that takes care of a problem inherent in most digital-controlled air conditioners. With most of these digital units, if the power fails, the unit will not come back on when the power is restored, because the electronic control circuit "forgets" that it was turned on. Not with this unit. The auto-restart feature will automatically start the unit back up if the power fails and then comes back on. However, the compressor is electronically protected from the harm that can come from restarting it too soon after it shuts off, and it will wait 3 minutes before restarting.
-EZ-mount. Unlike most window air conditioners which are heavy and difficult to put into a window, this one has convenient handles on each side to make mounting much easier. It weighs approximately 55 pounds, which is lighter than most units of this size range. I had no problem installing it into a window myself, but having a second person to help is never a bad idea.
In addition, the window mounting kit is already installed on the unit and it's literally ready to put into a window as soon as you unbox it. This is much nicer than some other units, which require that you spend 30 minutes or more installing the side curtains and window mounting rails yourself.
-Low-Profile Design. Being much lower and flatter than most window air conditioners, this unit takes up much less window space than most other models. This is a very nice feature, especially if you have it installed in a room without a lot of windows, as it means the a/c unit does not cut down on incoming light as much as most units would.
-Two fan motors. One feature which Sears does not mention, but which I discovered myself in examining the unit, is that it has not one fan motor, as almost all window a/c units have, but two -- one in the outside part of the unit to blow air across the condenser, and another in the inside part to draw air over the cool evaporator and push it into the room.
This offers numerous advantages:
-Each motor can run at an optimal speed to accomplish the task it is performing. With one motor, anytime you lower the fan speed, you are also reducing airflow across the unit's condenser, making the unit less efficient. With two, the outside motor can always turn at the best speed for cooling of the condenser, while the inside one can operate at a lower speed to enhance quietness and comfort.
-Better insulation and noise isolation between inside and outside parts of the unit. With one fan motor, the motor has a long shaft that runs from the inside of the unit to the outside, requiring a hole in the unit for this shaft to pass through. This causes more noise to move from outside to inside, and also causes some air to be able to pass from inside to outside. The use of two separate motors allows the inside and outside to be completely sealed off from each other, making the unit quieter and more efficient.
This unit also has 4-way adjustable air discharge louvers, allowing you to direct the airflow up or down and to the left or right. This is very useful if the unit is mounted toward the corner of a room, since you can use these louvers to send the air toward the center of the room to help the unit cool faster and more efficiently. The air discharge louvers are on the top of the inside part of the unit, which is beneficial in promoting better air distribution and eliminating drafts.
-"Smart" Energy Saver Feature
This model is equipped with an Energy Saver feature. On most units, when Energy Saver is turned on, the fan cycles on and off with the compressor. That's a little different from what happens on this model: With the 73069, the Energy Saver feature is a little "smarter" than most. When the compressor shuts off, the fan continues to run for 30 more seconds to take advantage of a little "free" cooling, since the evaporator will remain cool for a while after the compressor shuts off. Then, after the unit has been off for three minutes, this fan will come back on for 30 seconds to circulate the room air for comfort and also to allow the unit's thermostat to get a more accurate reading of the temperature of the room air.
I have mixed feelings about Energy Saver features. First of all, the fan motor uses very little energy compared to what the compressor uses, so cycling the fan motor on and off with the compressor saves very little power. If the inside fan draws 75 watts, which if anything is probably a liberal estimate, cycling it off for two hours a day is going to save a grand total of 0.15 kilowatt-hours a day. At average electric rates, that's a savings of one cent. Benjamin Franklin's wisdom notwithstanding, a penny's worth of daily savings, to me, is not worth the diminished comfort that comes from not having the fan running constantly. Also, I wonder if this unit's on again/off again, on again/off again cycling of the fan every three minutes would shorten the life of the fan motor. So, the Energy Saver feature is there for anyone who wants it, but I leave mine in the normal mode and keep Energy Saver shut off. With this unit's ultra high efficiency, its effect on your electric bill will be minimal, anyhow, so you're not likely to be desperate to shave another 30 cents off its monthly power usage.
Along with this unit, Sears provides a very well written instruction manual detailing all of the unit's features, and also a complete parts listing showing an exploded diagram of the unit and all parts, simplifying the ordering of replacement parts or servicing, if that should ever be needed.
Sears provides a one-year full warranty on the entire unit, as well as a five-year warranty on the sealed refrigeration system (compressor, evaporator, condenser, refrigerant lines).
While I can't comment on the reliability of this unit because I've only owned it a few weeks, I can say that the actual manufacturer of it is Lucky Goldstar, now one of the world leaders in room air conditioners. I would be quite surprised if it did not prove to be quite reliable, as all of this company's other models are reputed to have excellent reliability.
Update: I've owned the 73069 for over a year now, and it's still performing flawlessly, and no repairs have been needed. In addition, this summer is proving to be hotter and more humid than last, so it's been possible to test the unit under more severe conditions. Today, for example, it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 114 -- very hot, in other words. Even in these extreme conditions, this unit was able to keep my 325 square foot room at 72 degrees while only running its compressor intermittently to hold that temperature. That's impressive performance, especially considering that my room is larger than what the unit is rated to cool.
Honestly, this unit is so good that even those with central air might want to seriously consider getting one: With it, you could cool just the bedroom at night for a tiny fraction of the energy consumed by the central system. Moreover, I have been in many houses where the fan noise of the central a/c's blower is far louder than the nearly-silent fan and compressor on this one great little air conditioner. In addition, having a digital unit like this in the bedroom could allow you to get the bedroom to precisely the temperature you most prefer. With central systems, often some rooms are too cool and others are too hot.
All in all, this is just about the best room air conditioner I've ever seen. Its intelligent design features, exceptional efficiency, and amazingly quiet operation will have you wondering why you didn't buy it far sooner.
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Window Min./Max.: 23 in. / 36 in.