Choosing a Room A/C
Two-thirds of all homes in the United
States have air conditioners.Choosing a new high-efficiency
can save money and electricity.
Air conditioners use about 5% of all the electricity produced
in the United States, at a cost to homeowners of over $11
billion. As a result, roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide
is released into the air each yearan average of about
two tons for each home with an air conditioner. Calculate
the size you need now!
New High Efficiency Units
Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and taking
other actions to keep your home cool could reduce this energy
use by 20% to 50%. The most efficient air conditioners on
the market are up to 70% more efficient than the typical room
air conditioners found in U.S. homes today.
A room air conditioner's efficiency is measured by the energy
efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is the ratio of the cooling
capacity (in British thermal units [Btu] per hour) to the
power input (in watts). The required cooling capacity depends
on the size of the room being cooled. The higher the EER rating,
the more efficient the air conditioner. Look for units with
an EER of 10.0 or above. Check the EnergyGuide label for the
unit, and also look for room air conditioners with the ENERGY
Proper sizing is very important for efficient air conditioning.
A bigger unit is not necessarily better because a unit that
is too large will not cool an area uniformly. A small unit
running for an extended period operates more efficiently and
is more effective at dehumidifying than a large unit that
cycles on and off too frequently. Based on size alone, an
air conditioner generally needs 20 Btu for each square foot
of living space. Other important factors to consider when
selecting an air conditioner are room height, local climate,
shading, window size, etc.
Verify that your home's electrical system can meet the unit's
power requirements. Room units operate on 115-volt or 230-volt
circuits. The standard household receptacle is a connection
for a 115-volt branch circuit. Large room units rated at 115
volts may require a dedicated circuit and room units rated
at 230 volts may require a special circuit.
If you are mounting your air conditioner near the corner
of a room, look for a unit that can direct its airflow in
the desired direction for your room layout. If you need to
mount the air conditioner at the narrow end of a long room,
then look for a fan control known as "Power Thrust" or "Super
Thrust" that sends the cooled air farther into the room.
Other features to look for:
- A filter that slides out easily for regular cleaning.
- Logically arranged controls
- A digital readout for the thermostat setting, and
- A built-in timer
Calculate the Size of Room Air Conditioner
Tips for Reducing
the Energy Cost of a Room A/C