PEOPLE are using air-conditioners more due to the current hot spell and this has increased Malaysia’s electricity demand tremendously. However, if you choose the right air-conditioner for your home, your utility bills will not be much higher, even if it is switched on, day and night.

5-star energy air-conditioners
The first thing you should consider is whether the air-conditioner that you wish to purchase is energy efficient. According to the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of Malaysia (SEDA), households that use 5-star energy air-conditioners could roughly save RM277.42 annually for the consumption of one unit of air-conditioner at home. And bear in mind, eco-friendly doesn’t always mean energy efficient. Look for the 5-star energy sign and you will be informed the amount of its total annual energy consumption. It might cost you more at the beginning but you will save for the rest of the air-conditioner’s lifetime.

Right-sizing the aircon unit
Rather than discussing the issues of ambient heat load or any technical part of the air-conditioner, let’s focus on right-sizing the capacity for your home. The thing that you should know is whether your home needs a unit that’s  1.0 hp, 1.5hp or more. This is important because you do not want to purchase a high capacity air-conditioner for just a small space at home, as it is not practical and of course it will consume more energy. You have to know the estimated size of your room or the space that you wish to install the air-conditioner that you want to purchase.

Normally, 1.0hp should be sufficient for a standard room and 1.5hp for a standard size living hall for apartments or landed terraced houses. If your house is heavily shaded, you may reduce the capacity by 10%. If your house is west-facing and receiving full afternoon sun, increase the capacity by 10%. If the ceilings are more than 12 feet high, the capacity should also be increased. Make sure to consider how many persons usually occupy your house as well. More occupants would need a higher air-conditioner capacity. There are websites available with calculation tools to assist in the estimation.

Space size and capacity

Where to install

Consider where you wish to install the unit as well and look for the area that allows free airflow around the external compressor unit. If you install it at a closed-in area, it will take more energy to provide the cool air into the room.

The maintenance

According to the US Department of Energy, dirty filters will consume 15% more energy compared to clean ones. And that might be the reason why your electricity bill goes up every single month. You have to understand the maintenance of the air-conditioners especially how to clean the filter yourself. Do it once a month if it is switched on frequently or if you are staying in a house that traps dust easily, for instance – high-rise apartments. Check with the manufacturer or installer about how frequently you should be cleaning the compressor unit and the internal coils.

The Building Sector Energy Efficiency Project (BSEEP) is a national project implemented by the Public Works Department (JKR), administrated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The big picture of the project is to fight climate change by reducing the annual growth rate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Malaysia’s building sector.

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