Air Conditioners and Energy Conservation
It is summertime! It is beautiful, bright, and sunny outside. While temperatures rise outdoors, we prefer indoors to be cool. This need is satisfied by Air Conditioners. They keep the heat where it belongs, outside.
There is a downside to this cooling that we get. It comes at a price in the form of higher energy bills. Air conditioning and energy conservation seem to be poles apart. Is there any way we can make these two ends meet? Here are a few tips to reduce energy consumption while using air conditioning.
Efficient temperature setting
We often tend to keep temperature settings way below comfortable temperature. Our body is ideally comfortable between 21°Celcius to 24°Celcius. Anything lower than that is unnecessary. However, we tend to lower it further. For every degree reduction in temperature, there is a 3% to 4% increase in energy consumption. Always keep the temperature between 21°Celcius to 24°Celcius.
One more thing to keep in mind is the relative temperature setting. The temperature can be set to roughly 10°C lower than the outside temperature. Always remember that any setting that is lower than the ideal is only inflating your energy bill. This is true for both new and used air conditioners. Moreover, try not to constantly play with the thermostat settings. Keep it in an ideal setting and leave the thermostat alone.
Avoiding heating the room
Heat makes your air conditioner work harder. Harder work means more energy consumption. We can make the appliance more efficient by reducing the heat in the room.
- Direct sunlight is good. It kills microorganisms and viruses. However, excess sunlight also heats up your home. Block the excess sunlight. Install curtains or blinds. This will prevent unnecessary heating of your home.
- Appliances at home emit heat too. Refrigerators, toasters, iron presses and cooking hobs commonly generate heat. Even light bulbs generate heat. To make your air conditioner more efficient, avoid keeping such appliances in the same room as your air conditioner. If that is not possible, avoid using them when the air conditioning is on. Switch on light bulbs as much as is required. Make sure your gadgets and appliances are not causing the load on your air conditioner.
- A major portion of your air conditioner is outside braving the heat. Try to provide a shade for it. Any reduction in direct heat on the cooling unit outside will mean more efficiency.
Regular servicing and maintenance
It is very important to regularly clean your air conditioner. An air conditioner also filters out dust particles, air pollutants, pollen, dander from pets, etc. This keeps us safe. Over a period, all the accumulated particles start clogging the appliance. Clogging makes it work harder. More effort is required to move the air.
Clean the air conditioner, especially filters, ducts, and tubes, at regular intervals. Ideally, give a contract to an expert to regularly service and maintain the appliance. The ideal period of maintenance is three months. This will improve the quality of air and increase the life of the air conditioner. Your energy bills will also be lower.
Air conditioners create a flow of cool air in a room. Furniture in a room can hinder this flow of air. Reorganize the furniture of the room. An improved flow of cool air will reduce the need to play around with the temperature controls of your air conditioner.
Turn off when not required
Unless you have pets at home, there is no need to the keep air conditioner on all the time. There are times when we step out of the house. Keeping the appliance on at such times is a waste of energy. Use the air conditioner only when you are in the room.
Compared to daytime, nights are cooler. You may need the air conditioner running throughout the afternoon. However, during the night, you can run it for a shorter duration.
Smart use of fans
Use the fan settings in the air conditioning smartly. The desired cooling can also be achieved by keeping the fan at the correct level.
If you have ceiling fans, table fans, or tower fans, use them along with the air conditioner. Better flow of air will result in lowered temperature. Fans consume a fraction of energy when compared to an air conditioner. When the room temperature reaches a comfortable 21°Celcius to 24°Celcius, turn off the air conditioner to save energy.
If your air conditioner is old, consider replacing it. New appliances now available in the market are loaded with the latest technology. This is because they are more energy-efficient. Let us look at a few pointers to keep in mind
- Check for the energy efficiency rating. It is a measure of how much energy will be used. Manufacturers specify this rating. The price of an appliance with a better energy efficiency rating is usually higher. However, they conserve more energy. This results in lower energy bills. With time, the higher priced appliance will prove to be more cost-effective.
- New air conditioners come with additional features like timers, sleep mode and remote control. You may have to pay higher for these features. Bear in mind, that this additional cost will be soon forgotten. Over time, you will be glad when you look at the long-term savings.
- Unless you are an expert at installing it yourself, please do not attempt to do it. Consider hiring an expert with good experience in the field. Faulty installation can be a cause of inefficient performance. Choosing to pay a higher fee to an expert will save you from the frustration of higher energy bills.
These pointers will also be helpful when you are purchasing an air conditioner for the first time.
We have a responsibility to save our hard-earned money. We also have a responsibility to save energy. With increased energy consumption, we are increasing our personal carbon footprint. This contributes to our nations increase in carbon footprint. Let us strive to conserve energy for ourselves, our nation, and our world. Make sure your new and used air conditioners are saving our planet.