Selecting an energy-efficient room air conditioner is a good start, but using it wisely is also important.
In the example above, the annual energy cost was based on 615 hours of operation (the total running time of the unit's motor). The total operating hours of your room air conditioner may differ dramatically, depending on how you use the unit. Features such as timers and “fan-only” modes can help limit operating hours.
Here are some tips on how to save energy – and money.
Supporting Energy Innovation Does Make a Difference
Beginning in the 1970s, new coil designs, more efficient compressors and better circulation systems led to a dramatic 15 percent drop per decade in the average energy consumption of room air conditioners (based on 750 hours of operation per year). This represents a shift in the average energy efficiency ratio, or EER, from 6.0 in the 1970s to nearly 10.5 today.
Today's energy-efficient units incorporate efficient rotary compressors and large evaporators and condensers with louvred fins and internally rifled tubes, as well as more efficient permanent split-capacitor (PSC) fans and slinger rings that deposit water collected from evaporators on to hot condensers. Models may soon have an EER of 13.
These units often offer advanced comfort features, such as noise reduction.
Components of a Room Air Conditioner
Two types of refrigerant – chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), such as R-22 – are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use and release of ozone-depleting substances. Manufacturers of all new air conditioners sold in Canada and the United States must rely on refrigerants that meet increasingly strict environmental standards. In almost all cases, older room air conditioners can't be refilled with newer refrigerants.
For more information on the phase-out and alternatives to CFCs and HCFCs, visit Environment Canada's Stratospheric Ozone Web site at www.ec.gc.ca/ozone .