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Oct 27

How to Choose an Air Conditioner That’s Eco-Friendly

If you are like many people, you are probably concerned about your carbon footprint and annoyed by skyrocketing power bills. Air conditioning in general is often implicated as being inefficient and power hungry, but numerous options are available that dramatically reduce the environmental impact. As each person’s home, budget, and cooling needs are different, there is no one size fits all solution. Take the time to shop around, keeping these four tips in mind.

  1. Consider Evaporative Cooling

Known as a swamp cooler in the American Southwest, evaporative cooling is an excellent choice for those living in drier climates. Evaporative coolers operate on the same principles as the human sweating response. As dry air passes over water, it absorbs some of that water. In the process, the water undergoes a phase shift from liquid to gas. This chemical reaction consumes heat, reducing the temperature of the water.

An evaporative cooler uses water-soaked pads to produce this reaction. Outside air is drawn into the system through vents in your roof. As it passes through the pads, the effective temperature is lowered. Warm air then escapes from your home through open doors or windows. No chemical refrigerants are required, making this a tremendously eco-friendly choice. It can also lower your power bill by as much as 75% when compared to traditional air conditioning.

The major drawback is that evaporative coolers are much less effective in more humid environments. The reason is that the air is already so saturated with water that it has trouble absorbing any more. Therefore, if you live in a humid region, an evaporative cooler is not a practical solution.

  1. Look Into Ductless Options

Although ducted air conditioners are sometimes considered the gold standard in air cooling, they can be surprisingly inefficient. Ducted systems, especially older models that do not meet today’s standards, have a tendency to leak. If you have ducted air conditioning, be sure to have it inspected once a year, and consider upgrading the system with modern materials.

A ductless split system is an excellent eco-friendly alternative. In this type of system, the compressor and heat exchange components are placed outdoors in a weatherproof box, while the vents and thermostat are located inside, typically mounted on a wall. Pipes circulate refrigerant between the different parts of the system. You can cool a single room this way, or use a multi split system to cool several rooms using the same outdoor components.

  1. Choose Zone Controls

If you have a ducted reverse cycle system, upgrade to a programmable thermostat with zone controls. This allows you to set different areas of your home to different temperatures, and further refine each zone’s temperature based on the time of day. For example, you might set the bedrooms to cool just before bedtime, or the common areas to cool 30 minutes before you arise. This prevents you from wasting energy cooling areas that you are not using, or forcing your air conditioner to work harder than usual by trying to cool a house that has been hot all day.

  1. Check the Energy Rating and Size

All modern appliances have energy ratings based on their power consumption. The better the rating, the more energy efficient the air conditioner is. This translates to both lower power bills and a smaller carbon footprint. However, the ratings should be used as a guide rather than a hard and fast rule. The reason is that technology evolves rapidly, and not all ratings systems consider all factors.

Size also matters. An undersized air conditioner will consume a great deal of power as it strains to cool your home. However, an oversized air conditioner is equally inefficient. Sizing your air conditioner is a complex undertaking that considers not only the square footage, but the amount and quality of insulation, the exterior wall materials, and even the number, size, and orientation of your windows. Figuring out the right size is a job best left to an expert.

Jim’s Heating & Cooling is a trusted provider of air conditioning and heating in the greater Adelaide region. We offer a wide range of heating and cooling solutions, along with special discounts and financing offers. Call locally on 131 546 now or request a quote to get started!

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