How to cut energy bills by 10% using air conditioners
photo credit: John Kannenberg
If you're like most North Americans, an power saving air conditioning unit can make a big dent in your household power budget. And with power prices on the rise, you'll definitely want to do what you can to make better use of your current air conditioning unit, or find the most eco friendly new one you can afford.
The good news is that there's lots you can do to cut reducing temperature costs whether you're sticking with your current air conditioning unit or planning to buy a new high efficiency air conditioning unit. Most air conditioning units sold today are power saving air conditioning units, compared to the models sold ten or twenty years ago (at least in the US and Canada).
There are some simple things you can do to save power when using an air conditioning unit:
* Install the air conditioning unit (or outdoor unit of a split unit) on the shady side of the building (or shade the air conditioning unit itself); make sure the air flow around it isn't obstructed.
* The temperature of a heated room in winter should be between 18-21°C while the temperature of a cooled room in summer should be about 23-26°C (remember the humidity indoors will be low, so it will feel cooler). The temperature should be checked after the air conditioning unit has been operating for 30 minutes.
* When a hot day is expected, turn on the air conditioning unit early rather than wait till the building becomes hot (it operates more eco friendlyly when the outside air temperature is cooler).
* Keep windows and doors closed when using a refrigerative air conditioning units (evaporative air conditioning units require some air flow). Close curtains on hot summer and days and cold winter nights. Outdoor shading of windows in summer is most effective.
* If the machine has adjustable louvres, adjust them towards the ceiling when reducing temperature, and towards the floor when heating (as cool air falls, hot air rises).
* Follow the manufacturer's instructions for filter cleaning.
photo credit: justPlay ductless
When choosing between units with similar prices, capacities and features, power efficiency should be the deciding factor. Even though an power eco friendly unit may be higher priced, it may the be best buy. High efficiency appliances cost less to operate and can pay back the extra initial cost many times over during their lifetimes.
All room air conditioning units bear bright yellow powerGuide labels which provide information on power efficiency. powerGuide labels are mandated by Congress as part of the power Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. The label displays an power efficiency rating (EER) in large black numbers. The higher the rating, the more eco friendly the appliance. Units with an EER of 9.0 or above are considered very eco friendly. To help You compare units, a range for competing air room conditioners of the same reducing temperature capacity is printed on the powerGuide label below the EER.
The label also provides a cost/use chart to calculate the cost of operating the appliance based on local electricity rates and expected hours of use.
Central air conditioning units are rated according to their Seasonal power Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Like the EER, the higher the SEER, the more eco friendly the unit. To compare the efficiency of two units with equal reducing temperature capacity, take the difference in SEER's and divide by the large SEER. For example, if unit A has a SEER of 6, and unit, B has a SEER of 8, unit B will provide the same amount of reducing temperature as unit A while consuming 25% less power (8 - 6 =2; 2/8 = .25).
Finally, compare warranties and maintenance agreements when buying an air conditioning unit.Valery Forti