Summer is finally heating up and you may be considering buying a new air conditioner. If you are thinking that an energy efficient Energy Star unit is an extravagance that you cannot afford, take some time to inform yourself about the sizing, selection and installation of the conditioner. Understanding these is the key to both saving money and cost-effective operation.
Energy Efficient Air Conditioner: Energy Usage
Air conditioning systems or units are among the basic appliances that contribute to a huge portion of energy usage. High energy usage calculated as Btu (British Thermal Units) per hour easily translates to the production of tons of carbon dioxide specifically in the generation of electrical energy. Energy efficient air conditioner is an excellent solution to alleviate this problem by saving power and reducing usage costs.
Did you know? Energy Star air conditioner (central unit) have 14% more efficiency than standard models and can save 30 percent in cooling costs. Energy Star air conditioner (room units) use 10 percent less energy than conventional models.
Whether the unit is a simple room air conditioner or a wide-reaching central air conditioner, manufacturers have integrated efficient technologies into their modern products.
Assessing the Efficiency of the Air Conditioning System
Energy efficient air conditioner units or systems are generally more expensive than conventional appliances. Nonetheless, the savings earned over time can eventually offset the initial investment. In the recent trend, costs of branded air conditioners are proportional to the established energy efficiency ratio (EER) as well as the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The latter rating is more appropriate to regions where climate includes summer and winter seasons since it is sensitive to these seasonal change.
Tip: Choose a room a/c unit with an EER over 10 if you live in a hot climate. If you live in a mild climate, choose a unit with an EER of 9 or more.
Old systems are rated at SEER values of less than six while modern systems have ratings of at least 13 and are certified with an Energy Star service mark. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the modern systems are at least twice as efficient as the old. Highly efficient units can even reach ratings as much as 20.
EER is calculated similarly as SEER except for the fact that the former is based on the hottest temperatures that the country of operation can experience. Since EER values are expressed with the same units as that of SEER, modern systems also require EER values of at least 13.
Tip: SEER and EER ratings are posted on an Energy Guide Label and must be visibly placed on all new a/c units.
Checking the Correct Size and Location of the Air Conditioning System
The SEER and EER values are just initial indicators of overall energy efficiency. The ways that these air conditioning systems or units are installed further determine the effectiveness of the cooling or heating system.
Did you know?
The Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and The Air Conditioning Contractors of America publish calculation procedures for sizing central a/c units.
The correct size of air conditioner for a specific room or building must be proportionate to the amount of space being cooled or heated. In addition to the proportionate size, the location of the conditioning system must also allow for easy maintenance. Placing the unit in an ideal location further minimizes the amount of conceivable noise generated by the operating appliance.
Did you know?
A large air conditioner does not supply the greatest cooling, but instead burdens you with the following:
• It will cost you more to purchase a large unit
• The more frequent cycling of the larger unit will reduce its efficiency what translates into a less comfortable environment, in addition to wearing out your unit more quickly
• It will cost you more to operate a large unit.
Air Conditioner: Installation
For large heating, ventilation, and air conditioning needs, choosing a contractor for the project becomes relevant. Your contractor should:
- Provide a written contract with the central details concerning the installation, including the cooling load calculation results
- Perform a written calculation or use a computer program to size the system
- Issue a warranty on installed equipment and handiwork
- Post the final bill when you are pleased with the central unit
Finally, when installing a new room air conditioner, make sure you:
- Place it on the coolest side of the house in a window or wall section in close proximity to the center of the room
- Fit the conditioner tightly and weatherstrip gaps to minimize air leaks.
To conclude, while energy efficient air conditioners do cost more than standard units, with knowledgeable sizing, selection and installation, they can reduce energy use and the utility costs compared to standard units while letting the inhabitants take advantage of cool comfort.