We know that the most energy-efficient way to cool down in the summer is not to use an AC at all. We've written about ways to stay cool without an AC and many of our readers have shared their survival strategies, too. But sometimes an AC is necessary, so if you're thinking of getting one, here are a few tips to ensure that your AC is as efficient as possible:
1. Get a Window Air Conditioner. It seems pretty logical that using a room-based AC rather than a central AC will cut your energy costs down by almost 50%, and this is simply because there's less to cool down. Focus on cooling just the area where you are and where it's most needed, like the bedroom or the living room.
2. Buy the Proper Size. A larger AC unit doesn't necessarily mean better cooling: in fact, oversized air conditioners relative to the room they're in not only waste more energy, but are less effective by cooling the room too quickly but not removing enough of the humidity, therefore leaving the room damp and clammy. Determine the square footage of your room, then follow the guidelines in this chart to determine the correct cooling capacity in BTUs ("British Thermal Units"). On average, you need approximately 35 BTUs per square foot to cool a room with a normal ceiling (8-10').
3. Look for a Unit with the Highest EER Rating. A room air conditioner's efficiency is measured by its EER ("Energy Efficiency Rating"). ENERGY STAR units typically have EER ratings above 10, and the higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is. Select a room air conditioner with an EER of at least 9.0 if you live in a mild climate, and an EER over 10 if you live in a hot climate. Buy the most efficient air conditioner you can afford, especially if you use (or think you will use) an air conditioner frequently and/or if your electricity rates are high.
Related Post: How To Buy an Air Conditioner (via Unplggd)