High Performance Air Conditioning – Truth or Dare on your electric bill

July 8, 2008 at 9:55 pm 1 comment

As the true days of summer approach here in Southern California we are all in that new quandary about whether we can afford to run our air conditioning units. Do we swelter or go into debt?

Fortunately technology marches on and there is continual advancement in this arena.   The best recent advance has to do with the digital control of what are called economizer units on commercial sized units. The basic explanation is that these sensors and controls monitor the conditions both inside and outside your building and adjust the intake of outside air to maximize the comfort inside as well as the overall performance of the system.  A good explainer with more detail is here: http://alternativeenergy.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1066929%3ABlogPost%3A39594

If you are curious about your exisiting home unit or are considering buying or upgrading I would advise buying a system with the highest SEER( Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) you can find for your particular application. This is the simplest way to insure a system that can be affordable to use and that is the measure that really matters.  At this website they lay out a very concise definition of these terms and walk you through a fairly complete cost of use calculation for an AC unit. (http://www.inspect-ny.com/aircond/aircond04.htm)

The other factor to consider when installing or upgrading is the experiance of the contractor.  You can buy the most efficient unit in the world but if the duct work system isn’t planned and installed properly it will make little or no difference in the overall comfort of your space and cost you a lot of money to run.

I encourage you to shop around, ask for recommendations and customer referrals as well as making sure that your contractor is certfied and trained on the equipment he is selling you.  Depending on the complexity of your space you may wish to incure the additional expense of having your system designed by a licensed mechanical engineer.  This si truly the surest method to a well designed and efficient system. However it will add several hundred dollars to the total cost of your system.

Lastly let’s talk about those of us who have a small apartment or other small space.  There are efficient options for you as well.  Metaefficient.com has a couple of great articles rating the best high performance small air conditioners (http://www.metaefficient.com/cooling/the-smallest-portable-air-conditioner.html#more-1522) and very efficient portable fans (http://www.metaefficient.com/fans/very-efficient-portable-fan-the-seabreeze-turbo-aire.html).

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Design, Technology. Tags: , , .

Prefab Homes Revisited – Manufacturered by who? More Efficiency Tricks for your Central Air Conditioner

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Barbara72  |  October 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Hey, but what if it could do this and that to? ,


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