The purpose of this document is to assist those who may want to add a window air-conditioning unit in their off-campus unit.  This is not permitted where Caltech has provided air-conditioning.  Caltech sells only casement style a/c units for use in the on campus dormitories.  We sell no other a/c units.  Prior to your purchase of any air conditioning unit, you must call Housing Maintenance at 626-395-6175 and have them site inspect to ensure you have the electrical power needed to operate a window a/c.  If it is determined that the electrical service cannot handle the additional load of adding an air conditioner, Caltech will make no changes in order to accommodate an air conditioner.


If you are able to install an air conditioner, Caltech must install it.  You will be charged the exact labor rate for installation.  The average labor cost for this installation is $45.00.  The average labor rate per hour per man is $30.00.


Here are some helpful hints on purchasing a window air-conditioning unit for use in an off campus unit.


Window unit:
The window unit is (usually) easy to install into any standard double-hung window. It should offer multiple cooling options (low - high). This is the kind that most people get because it's the cheapest.
Cost: $250-$800
Weight: approximately 120 lbs.

Before you get ready to go shopping, it's a good idea to check out Consumer Reports or some other product-rating publication so you know which models are recommended based on what you're considering buying. Don't select a no-name brand without researching it or you won't know what kind of quality and durability you're getting. If you aren't interested in hunting down air conditioner brand ratings, then pick a brand you already trust, such as General Electric, Amana, Sharp, or Whirlpool.

Now you're ready to go to the store. To find one, we suggest that you look in your newspaper for air conditioners that are on sale and see what else they have in stock. We also recommend that you go to a "superstore" that specializes in selling appliances such as air conditioners (they tend to have the best people on staff to help you… in fact, they're super). And most importantly, don't forget to bring your room dimensions along with you.

Btus and EERs

Once you arrive at the store, the first thing you should look at are the air conditioner's Btus and EERs.

Here's an example: Let's say your apartment is 12' x 15'. So that's 180 square feet. Using method (1), you know that you should be looking for an air conditioner in the low 6,000 Btus. Using method (2), you are recommended to get an air conditioner with about 6,300 Btus (180 X 35).

In addition, you should follow the following guidelines for proper selection:

Here are some other things to think about when purchasing your air conditioner: