How great is it to keep your place cool when the temperature is going crazy outside? On the other hand, how not great is it to get the electricity bill at the end of the month and realize how much this comfort costs you and the planet? Air conditioners are a wonderful modern invention. However, they come with a price per kWh. Let us see how you can choose the best energy-efficient air conditioner. By the end of this article, you will no longer have that lingering thought: “Yeah, but how much is it going to cost me?” any time you turn the AC on.
Best portable cooling devices
Six main factors to consider when choosing the most energy-efficient ac unit
1. Temperature settings
Most of the air conditioners come with the possibility to set your temperature preferences today. Energy Star* recommends setting your AC to 78F (26C) — the ideal temperature to cool down without bringing up your energy bill. You can lower down the temperature when you are not home.
*Energy Star is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that promotes energy efficiency. We will be referring to this program further on in the article as well.
2. AC Model Recency
Just 40 years ago, even the best energy-efficient ac units of the time were producing 30% to 50% more energy than the air conditioners made today. Purchasing a very recent model can help you save up to 40% of energy compared to the AC products made in the 2000s.
Here comes the question: Do I have to change my air conditioner all the time to make sure I have the most energy-efficient air conditioner unit? Of course, you don’t!
If you want to make sure your electricity consumption is always low, we recommend choosing a portable evaporative air cooler. These devices are the best price-quality combo, and they are perfect for cooling down your personal space. In addition, you only need to change the cartridge every few months, and they are as good as new!
3. High EER and SEER ratings
EER stands for ‘energy efficiency rating,’ and SEER stands for ‘seasonal energy efficiency rating’. EER defines the energy efficiency at 100% cooling load, 50% humidity, and 95F to 80F temperature difference all year long. The SEER measures energy efficiency during the most demanding months: June, July, and August.
For the most energy-efficient air conditioning unit, you need to select the device with the highest rating. For example, the 12 EER rating is an excellent energy-efficiency rating for an air conditioner.
4. Calculate the cooling capacity you need
Even the most energy-saving air conditioner can start wasting energy when used in the wrong room. The cooling capacity is indicated in BTUs (British Thermal Units). If you have a potent device for a small space, it will end up overworking and burning energy. A less effective device for a large area will take too long to get to the desired temperature and use way too many kWh to keep it up.
Rule of thumb: multiply the square feet of the room by 25, and you will get the required BTUs.
You can also use this online BTU calculator.
If you only need to cool down a small, personal space — forget about the calculations and go for a personal air cooler. Evapolar’s models go up to 1360 BTUs per hour and will get you into a cool bubble within minutes.
5. Energy Star Certification
This criterion applies to the energy-efficient ac units produced in the US.
Energy Star Certification means that the device has been certified by the U.S. Department of Energy. The appliance with this type of certification uses less energy than its non-certified competitors.
Energy Star Certified air conditioners have higher SEER and EER ratings, which is why they use 8 percent less energy than conventional new models. The prices for such models are higher, but they pay for themselves in the long run, so definitely worth the initial investment.
6. Energy-saving mode
The name speaks for itself: the most energy-efficient air conditioning units come with an energy-saving mode. Once the temperature of your room gets to the one you have set, this setting will turn off both the compressor and the fan.
Bonus idea: If you can go for a smart air conditioner with an assistant like Alexa or Google, don’t hesitate! If you forget to turn it off or adjust the settings before leaving the house, you can always do so remotely.
There are plenty of AC types on the market today. So before you get too overwhelmed with all the factors, criteria, and numbers — you can cool down because we got you covered.
Five main air conditioner types classification and their energy efficiency
1. Central air conditioning
The most popular option for large homes due to its efficiency is central air conditioning. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of work during the installation since it involves measuring and heavy lifting. However, when installed correctly, it works at the peak of its energy efficiency.
We highly recommend you rely on professionals to calculate the capacity of your central air conditioning and on installation. If you get the wrong size system, your energy bill will go up, even if the system is very energy-efficient on its own!
2. Window air conditioners
These models are installed in the windows, and they work in separate rooms. In comparison to central ac systems, window air conditioners work best for smaller areas. This is because they use less than half of the energy than the central system in the same amount of time. However, if you have more than one window air-con, the price will add up! To make sure you choose the best option for the designated area, make sure you check both the EER and the BTUs.
3. Split system air conditioning
Split systems are HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems with both indoor and outside units and a compressor in between. They can be floor- or wall-mounted. They can also be ducted and ductless, and it depends on where you want them and on the capacities of your house.
Again, when you need to calculate the energy efficiency, it all comes down to proper sizing. Bigger is not always better! Optimal energy consumption is only possible when the split system is sized to its conditions.
We recommend you consult a professional for proper sizing of a split system since they have various requirements based on the room/area.
4. Portable air conditioning
Portable models are among the most energy-efficient air conditioners. Due to their nature, they can simply cool down one area instead of lowering the temperature in the whole house, like central air conditioning systems. As a result, they can consume just 1/8 of the electricity a central system consumes in the same time frame! The average EER rating of portable ACs is 8.5, placing it among energy-efficient air conditioning units.
One of the disadvantages of portable AC devices is their aesthetics. Very often, they come with a tube for exhausting hot air outside. However, you can purchase a window set to hide some of the details and avoid keeping the window open all the time.
While evaporative air coolers are not air conditioners, their technology makes them the most energy-efficient models on the market. As a result, they are perfect for cooling personal spaces, which puts an end to fighting over the thermostat.
In terms of energy consumption, air coolers beat all the competitors — they consume 100 times less energy than an air conditioner. They are not a replacement for air cons or split systems — the functioning and the components are completely different. However, they are an excellent energy-saving option to keep you cool.
We have talked quite a bit about sizing and its importance for energy-efficient air conditioning units. How exactly do you calculate the proper size of a cooling device?
First, you can use an online calculator. However, to be completely objective, a calculator is sometimes not enough.
You also need to take into account:
- Orientation. Are the windows facing the sunlight? How many hours of direct sunlight does a room get?
- Climate. Humidity is a huge factor, for example.
- Insulation. For instance, ceiling insulation is crucial to making your home thermally efficient. The better the insulation, the smaller AC you can get.
If you are confident about the space that needs cooling and there are no specific requirements, you can use the following formula:
Square feet x 20-25BTU = cooling capacity.
Tip: Place your cooling unit as high as you can. The cold air flows downward, while the hot air rises due to the density. If the cooled air comes from above, it will ensure proper filtration of the air in the room and a more efficient cooling process.
What are the main features of the best energy-saving air conditioner?
- Inverter technology. Inverter systems allow to stabilize the temperature without stopping and starting the compressor. How exactly does it work? Think about driving a car.
You need to get from point A to point B (desired temperature). The distance is 200kms. How will you use less fuel and still get there faster?
a) By driving on autopilot for around 2.5 hours at 80km/hr.
b) By speeding up and slowing down several times in a row.
Inverter system allows using less mechanical energy.
- Programmable thermostat
- Remote control
- Sleep mode
- High EER and SEER rating
- Proper sizing
Have you decided on what criteria you will use when going through energy-saving air conditioner units? Then, let us see what you can do after the purchase! No matter how energy-efficient your new device is, there are a few things you can do to maximize its capacity and efficiency.
- To make the best of your air conditioner, we recommend preventing the cool air from escaping the house and the warm air from getting in. This will reduce the energy consumption on top of adjusting the temperature on the thermostat. In addition, keep the windows closed, use fewer heat-generating appliances and invest in sunlight-blocking curtains.
- Be mindful about when and how you use the air conditioner. Even the most energy-efficient air conditioning systems can end up wasting energy. Energy Star recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees for a temperature that is energy efficient and comfortable!
- Maintenance is crucial. From cleaning to regular check-ups, take care of your device, and it will serve you for a long time. There have been cases when the most expensive among the most energy-efficient air conditioners failed with improper maintenance.
Stay cool without heating your energy bill with Evapolar.
We have saved the best for the last. How about getting your personal space to the ideal temperature in minutes without seeing a difference in your electricity bill? Personal evaporative air coolers by Evapolar will do just that! How?
- The airflow is directed at you. So you can feel the effect right away without waiting for the whole room to cool down. It can’t get more efficient than that!
- The energy consumption is extremely low. 12W for the most powerful model, to be exact.
- You can take it anywhere! For a small one-time investment, you get a permanent cooling companion. Whether you need to take it around the house or to a different country in a van, it will guarantee your energy-efficient comfort wherever you may be.
Cooling devices and air conditioning systems are one of the best inventions. Some of them require a lot of thinking, measurement, and commitment. Others solve a problem in a few clicks. You can always go for the most energy-saving option right away and pick an Evapolar device. Permanent options will always be there, but while you may still be choosing the one that fits you best, you can always do so under the fresh breeze of your personal air cooler.
People also ask (FAQ):
1. I rent. What is the best energy-efficient solution for those who don’t own the place? I don’t want to install something expensive I won’t be using in a few years!
If you can’t install a permanent cooling solution, anything portable is always an option. For example, a personal air cooler or a portable air con will happily travel with you to your next home. An air cooler can even go to a different continent — the Evapolar models weigh just a few pounds!
2. This is a lot of information! In my city, it only gets hot a few weeks per year. How do I choose a simple short-term solution with the best energy-saving options?
A short-term solution is usually the one you can store away when you don’t need it. For large spaces, we recommend an appropriately sized portable air conditioner. For your comfort, we stand by the air coolers — you can store them anywhere!
3. I just want the cheapest version in terms of installation, first investment, and energy. Which one should I pick?
If you need to cool down the whole room, we recommend a portable air conditioner with a high cooling capacity. Again, make sure you do the numbers in advance. Otherwise, you can end up cooling just one part of your room.
If you need to cool down your personal area (workout spot, work desk, etc.), an evaporative air cooler is the most hassle-free option.
4. Is it better to oversize or undersize an air conditioner?
If you are hesitant about the size and cannot double-check it, it is better to undersize. While a small system will have more work to do in a large room, it will still cost less. Big systems will end up wasting energy on small spaces, and they also cost more to operate.
5. What is a good EER rating?
From 8.5 and above! While 12 EER is considered excellent, some of the most efficient air conditioner units can reach more than 12 EER.