Energy efficiency is one of, if not the MOST important thing to look for when buying a new air conditioner. The star rating is a good starting point to assess the performance of a new system and relates to its cooling output relative to the units (kW) of energy it consumes. Of course larger systems will always use more energy since they do more work, and the star rating system accounts for different AC sizes.
Manufacturers are continually making improvements in energy efficiency of their systems, particular with the operation of the components like the heat pump and condenser. In 2010, the star rating system was upgraded to allow for air conditioners with exceptional efficiency of up to 10 stars.
Of course, a high star rating system can still be costly for users to operate if it’s used in the wrong way or setting. We recommend buyers look for a number of energy efficient features in their AC system as well as the highest rated star system that they can afford. Features to look for include:
Look for A Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can automate HVAC systems, which can be especially useful for businesses. These can also be set to switch off half an hour before the end of day, and half an hour before arrival to ensure the building temperature is maintained. In a home environment ideally temperatures are set around 24°C during the day, and 25°C at night and programming these temperatures into the system will avoid the temptation to adjust the system for each degree cooler adds 10 per cent to the bill.
Look for Sensor Controls
Many systems come with motion sensor technology that will activate when the room is not being used. One of the most common reasons people pay too much for air conditioning is because they leave it running when it’s not in use. Some systems allow you to program the systems to only operate within certain temperatures in addition to switching off when no one is in the room for a set period.
Look for Inverter Technology
Some inverter systems may have a lower star rating than expected however this is based on when the compressor motor is operating at full capacity. Inverter systems automatically regulate the speed of the compressor so run at different speeds as the temperature stabilizes and no stopping and starting of the compressor, so an inverter system uses less mechanical energy. They also cool a room faster. See graph below for how the two systems compare.
Figure 1 – Temperature and Operation Differences Between Inverter and Non inverter systems
+ = Non Inverter System
+ = Inverter System
Other advantages of inverter systems are that they operate more quietly and have less fluctuations in their temperature. If you’re going to buy a new air conditioner, it’s seriously worth making sure it’s comes with inverter technology.
If you are serious about saving with your air conditioning, call H&H Air Conditioning for more advice on energy saving features available across our product range. With sleep timers, lockable thermostats controls so the temperature stays set, and air conditioners with economy operating modes, we have a number of solutions to suit those in the market for an energy efficient air conditioner. Contact us on (07) 3276 1800 for our Brisbane branch and (07) 5477 1777 for our Sunshine Coast office.