For residents of tropical Singapore, air conditioners are necessity. The weather stays warm throughout the year but gets especially humid and tolerable during the summer time and the monsoon season. Given the widespread use of this energy guzzling appliance, the government of Singapore, in line with international practice, provides a rating service for different brands of air conditioners.
A rating system of different brands of air conditioners, based on their energy efficiency, helps consumers in cutting down their energy bills. Till recently, the government’s rating system for air conditioners was based on a 5-band tick rating system – from 0 ticks to 4 ticks. However, it was soon noted that the energy efficiency of a lot of different air conditioner brands varied widely within the top rated 4 ticks band.
In fact, the most energy efficient air conditioner in the 4 ticks band was almost 50 percent better than other brands in the same band. With the new 5-ticks energy rating system for air conditioners, the government has now sought to remedy this anomaly. The adoption of the new 5 ticks energy rating system has meant that a lot of air conditioners that previously sported the highest 4 ticks label will now be reassigned 2 or 3 ticks energy label.
Tips to cut down your energy bills from running an air conditioner
1) Know the BTU you need:
BTU stands for British Thermal Units. It is a measure of the cooling capacity of an aircon. It is important that you find out about the BTU requirement of your home based on its dimension and insulation. An air conditioner with higher than necessary BTU means that you would be paying an inflated energy bill.
2) Window air conditioners or split units:
The choice between a window or a split air conditioning system depends on your needs and lifestyle. A window air conditioner is a basically a fuss free system that is installed through a hole or a window. It requires no additional wiring or piping in order to run. A split air conditioner has two components, the outdoor condensing unit and the indoor fan coil unit. In the case of a multi-split unit, you would have one outdoor condensing unit but multiple indoor fan coil units. If you have a large family, then it makes sense to have a split air conditioning system. However, if you are a small family and or stay in the same room, then localized cooling with a windows air conditioner can help you save money on your energy bills.
3) Inverter air conditioning units:
A lot of people tend to choose non inverter air conditioning systems based on their lower sticker price and ease of installation. The compressor and motor of a non inverter air conditioner, however, can only operate at the single designated speed. On the other hand, these air conditioners use significantly more energy and suffer from uneven temperature spread. On the other hand, an inverter air conditioner controls the compressor and its motor, enabling precise changes in temperature, and saves you as much as 50 percent in energy expenditure. In addition, inverter air conditioners tend to be relatively quieter.
4) Service your air conditioner regularly:
A little effort goes a long way when it comes to cooler homes and reduced energy bills. Did you know that your air conditioner filters are a magnet for all sorts of dust particles making them work as much as 20 percent harder? Regular cleaning of filters means you will get optimal cooling at no extra energy costs.
5) Properly insulate ducts:
If you have a split air conditioning system then it is important to make sure that your ducts are well insulated. This is especially true if they are running through parts of your house that are not air conditioned. Otherwise, your air conditioner would be working at its peak without delivering optimal cooling. Pay attention to the location where you would keep the outdoor unit of your split air conditioning system. The place should have sufficient ventilation as well as offer protection from extended exposure to the sun. In addition, make sure the exhaust air does not have any obstruction resulting in its re-circulation back into the home.
6) Look for obstructions near your air conditioner’s vents:
A lot of the time, people tend to mask the air conditioning vents by strategically placing furniture in front of it. Bad idea. You want the cool air flowing from the vents to spread throughout the room for even and quick cooling. Obstructions like furniture placed before the vents interrupt the optimal flow of chilled air, leading to insufficient cooling and inflated energy bills.
7) Energy efficient windows:
Windows that are energy efficient can go a long way in contributing to reduced energy spend. For example, double glazed windows that come with a sealed space between the panes filled with gas are widely noted for their ability to provide improved insulation. Similarly, specialized glass coating on your windows, also known as low-E coating, are noted for their ability to reflect heat while letting the light in. This energy efficient coat on your windows will keep the heat out while letting natural light in, resulting in substantial energy savings over a period of time.
8) Set your air conditioner at the ideal temperature:
Just like cars that run most efficiently at cruise control, so is the case with air conditioners. Your air conditioner is at its most efficient when it is running at 24 or 25 degrees centigrade. Remember, every extra degree of cooling you require leads to energy expenditure. The cooler you go, the more inefficient your air conditioner becomes at using energy optimally. For example, the difference in energy consumption between an air conditioner set at 24 degrees and 21 degrees is a massive 30 percent.
9) Make use of the fan:
Having an air conditioner does not mean you forget all about the humble fan. In fact, fans are a great complement to your air conditioning system as they can aid in quicker and even spread of cool air flowing through the vents. Fans not only use just a fraction of the energy required by air conditioners so you do not have to worry about the bills. On the other hand, they can help you save on energy bills by making sure your air conditioners run at the optimal level.
10) Pay attention to the energy efficiency ratio:
As mentioned before, the government labels the energy efficiency of air conditioners through a system of ticks. An air conditioner with 5 ticks is the most energy efficient. While 5-ticks rated aircon’s might cost higher than others, energy savings on such air conditioning system over a period of time far exceeds the upfront cost.