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Purchasing a Room Air Conditioner

Energy Efficiency with New Room Air Conditioners

ENERGY STAR® qualified air conditioners feature high-efficiency compressors, fan motors, and heat transfer surfaces. In an air conditioner, air is cooled when it passes over refrigerant coils, which have fins similar to an automobile radiator. The compressor sends cooled refrigerant through the coils, which draws heat from the air as it is forced over the coils. By using advanced heat transfer technologies, more heat from the air is tranferred into the coils than in conventional models, saving energy required to compress the refrigerant. ENERGY STAR room air conditioners must exceed minimum federal standards for energy consumption by at least 10 percent.

Buy the Right Size Room Air Conditioner

Many people buy an air conditioner that is too large for the space, thinking it will cool better. An oversized air conditioner is actually less effective than a correctly sized unit, and wastes energy at the same time. Air conditioners remove heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove a portion of the humidity. This leaves the room with a damp, clammy feeling. A properly sized unit will remove humidity effectively as it cools. Running a smaller unit for a longer time will use less energy to completely condition a room than running a larger unit for a shorter time.

The following is the recommended capacity of a room air conditioner for the area to be cooled:

  • 100 - 150 sq ft. . . . .5,000 Btu/hr
  • 150 - 250 sq ft. . . . .6,000 Btu/hr
  • 250 - 300 sq ft. . . . .7,000 Btu/hr
  • 300 - 350 sq ft. . . . .8,000 Btu/hr
  • 350 - 400 sq ft. . . . .9,000 Btu/hr
  • 400 - 450 sq ft. . . . .10,000 Btu/hr
  • 450 - 500 sq ft. . . . .12,000 Btu/hr
  • 500 - 700 sq ft. . . . .14,000 Btu/hr
  • 700 - 1,000 sq ft. . . . .18,000 Btu/hr

Room Air Conditioner Rebate Criteria

To qualify for an ENERGY STAR rebate, the Energy Efficiency Ration (EER) must be equal to the specifications below. Currently, only units without reverse cycle (heating function), and with louvered slides are considered for the ENERGY STAR program. So look for the ENERGY STAR logo on the air conditioner that you are purchasing!

The following are the ENERGY STAR room air conditioner specifications:

  • Less than 6,000 Btu . . . . .Minimum EER of 10.7
  • 6,000 - 7,999 Btu . . . . .Minimum EER of 10.7
  • 8,000 - 13,999 Btu . . . . .Minimum EER of 10.8
  • 14,000 - 19,999 Btu . . . . .Minimum EER of 10.7
  • 20,000 Btu or greater . . . . .Minimum EER of 9.4