Used everyday, the air conditioner easily becomes the largest energy consumer of a household. Therefore, in general, it is preferable to use natural ventilation where possible. For example, we can open the windows once the outside air has become cooler or close the curtains during the day so as to prevent heat from entering. Here are some additional tips to save energy and money with the AC. Set the thermostat as high as comfortably possible.
Another important factor that greatly influences the
amount of power an air conditioner draws is its size. The size, or capacity,
of an air conditioner is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The BTU rating
represents the volume of air, in cubic feet, which will have its temperature
reduced by one degree in one hour. For example, a 20,000 BTU air conditioner
is supposed to be able to reduce the temperature of 20,000 cubic feet of air
by 1 degree in 1 hour. Now, for a unit to operate in the most efficient manner
possible, its capacity must be neither too big nor too small for the space it
has to cool. An AC that is too large will too rapidly cool the room and consequently
cycle off before having sufficiently dehumidified the air. A small unit, on
the other hand, may not have enough BTUs to cool a room and will therefore tend
to keep on running (this will, of course, impact negatively on your bill).
The procedure to determine the optimum unit size for a particular room can be quite involved since a rigorous approach would require such parameters as the volume of the room, the number of windows and where they are situated, the kind of exposure of the room to sunlight, the insulation of the room, the number of occupants and the general climate of the area. However, as a rule of thumb, CEB tells us that 600 BTU are sufficient for cooling a surface of . Thus, a room with a surface area of 15 will require a unit with a capacity of 9000 BTU.
Air conditioner maintenance
For an air conditioner to operate efficiently; it must be regularly maintained. Maintenance can help detect problems at an early stage and thus prevent expensive breakdowns later on. Therefore, it is important that, every year or so, a qualified technician be hired to check the following: