As science and technology is gradually developing, our need for comfort is increasing with that. We, today, are no foreign to using technology for our comfort. The Air Conditioner is one such amazing device that adds to our comfort.
In the scorching heat of summer, the Air Conditioner or the AC provides cooling comfort to us. This device conditions the room’s temperature to a degree set by the user, providing an atmosphere of convenience. It helps us relax and rest peacefully.
Even if its work is to condition the temperature according to the user’s preference, it is used mainly during summer. AC has become a very common appliance used in households, offices, educational institutions, etc. However, this familiar and instrumental appliance does consume a lot of electricity and can be pricy on the pocket. So, can you reduce the electricity consumption by your favourite summertime appliance while still using it? Let’s see.
- How does it work?
- Choice of AC.
- Tips and Tricks
How does it work?
An AC works on a very simple principle- it takes the internal air of the room, passes it through the evaporator coils, cools the air and throws it back into the room. It has 4 major parts – Compressor, Condenser, Expansion Valve, and the Evaporator. There are tubes that connect these to each other in a cycle. There’s an existing refrigerant gas (Freon) in the tubes.
When the AC starts working, the Compressor starts working like a pump increasing the pressure and the temperature on the refrigerant and sending it through the tube into the Condenser.
The Condenser then, condenses the gas into a liquid and sends it to the Expansion Valve. The Expansion Valve expands the liquid reducing the pressure and the temperature. The now cool liquid goes to the Evaporator. The Evaporator has a fan that brings the air from the room and sends the cool air back. The fan cools the internal air with the help of the cold refrigerant.
After passing through the Evaporator, the refrigerant again changes to gas form and goes to the Compressor.
Why does it consume a lot of electricity?
The compressor of the AC is responsible for electrical consumption. The longer it works for, the more energy it consumes.
Can you use the AC and still save electricity?
Yes, you can.
How can you do that?
We’ll, there are various ways of saving electricity and your hard-earned money while still using the ‘oh so lovely’ Air Conditioner. This can be divided into two parts. One for the choice of AC and Two for the tips and tricks while using your AC.
Choice of AC
This is important and of need for you if you haven’t already bought an AC. Having said that, the choice of AC matters a lot in helping you be energy efficient and for a little bit of finance management. There’s a whole array of choices that you can make on brands but for being energy efficient, you need to focus on two things basically.
The star rating
Always check for star ratings in any and all appliances before getting it. This is general for all electrical appliances and not just Air conditioners.
The star rating of appliances is provided by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), India. You’d have seen them on refrigerators, ACs, etc. It basically looks like a semicircle with five numbered stars. The rating is shown by colouring the said stars ( usually clock wise) in red.
The higher the star rating, the more energy efficient the appliance is. The initial cost of higher star rated device will always be higher than those with lower or no star ratings. However, this is a good investment in the long run as the lifetime cost including maintenance of a higher star-rated appliance will be lesser in comparison to a lower star-rating.
The inverter technology in ACs helps consume less electricity and thus is energy efficient and gives less electricity bill than the normal ACs that do not have an inverter.
The best way to put the workings of an inverter AC is that the installed inverter gives power to the compressor according to its need, i.e., it provides less power to the compressor when it needs less power and more power when it needs more. With an inverter AC, the compressor is always working with variable temperature. When the desirable or the set temperature is achieved, the compressor runs at a slower pace and it speeds up when the temperature changes.
In contrast to this, a normal AC which doesn’t have a compressor runs with a fixed speed. When the desired temperature is achieved, the compressor switches off and it starts again when the temperature changes. The major question that arises here is, if the inverter AC runs continuously, how does it consume less electricity than a normal AC. The restarting of the compressor consumes about three times more power, thus consuming more electricity.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks for being energy efficient and saving money while using AC. These tips are applicable to all types of ACs and are easy to follow.
The myth of quick cooling
Many people believe in the concept of quick cooling- setting the temperature at the lowest to cool the internal air quickly. This however, puts extra load on the compressor which then uses a lot of power leading to an extra amount of electricity bill. The temperature of 25°C is ideal as it does not use a lot of power.
To avoid extra power consumption, the ideal temperature should be maintained.
Placement of the outdoor unit
This tip is useful for when you have the liberty to move the outdoor unit, if it’s already installed. The ideal place for an outdoor unit to be placed is away from direct sunlight. Also, the surrounding area should not be cluttered.
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Insulation is important
When one is dealing with heat and cooling, insulation is key. Insulation will help in keeping the room relatively cool, helping the AC to cool the room faster, without overloading the compressor.
- To help in insulation, the roof and the outer walls can be painted white, so as to reflect the sunlight and not absorb it. Absorption of the sunlight will warm up the room.
- If not white paint, thermal insulation wallpapers can be used.
Keep the room airtight
This is a very basic tip but is very useful. While the AC is on, keep the doors and windows tightly closed so as to keep from the outside warm air enter into the room.
On this note, the curtains and the blinds need to be closed properly as well.
The Air Conditioner needs to be maintained properly which includes thorough cleaning of the filter in regular intervals.
The dirtier the filter, the more time it takes for the compressor for cooling. As a result, it uses more power.
Avoid other appliances that produce heat
The room in which the AC is working should not have any other device that emit or produce a lot of heat. This includes refrigerators, microwaves, etc.
- When these devices are running, they emit a lot of heat increasing the room temperature of the room cause of which the AC will take more time to cool the room. The more time the AC takes, the more power it consumes.
- Also, avoid the usage of any other electrical appliances if possible as all the electrical appliances emit heat.
While going to sleep, most of us leave the AC running. So, when we’re asleep, the AC runs continuously even after the room is cooled already which ends up using a lot of electricity unnecessarily.
So, as a solution, it’s a good idea to use timer or sleep mode while going to sleep. All the ACs have the option of basic timer and sleep mode which will automatically switch off the AC after the set time.
Ceiling Fan is the friend
This tip only applicable for night and not for daytime when the roof receives direct sunlight.
When at night, the room is cooled and you’re about to sleep, switch off the AC and switch on the ceiling fan instead of leaving the AC running. Once the room is cool enough, the ceiling fan will just circulate the cold air throughout the room and will consume less electricity than an Air-conditioner running for that time.
Avoid switching ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ a lot
This is related to the idea that when the compressor starts, it consumes a lot of power. So, when you think that you’re saving electricity by switching it off and then switching it on again after some time, we actually end up consuming more electricity.
With these tips, go use the AC and save some power while you’re at it. Chill out like a pro.