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Published: Thursday, 6/29/2006

Energy Cents: Saving Money with Room Air Conditioners

(ARA) - Maximize your energy savings by replacing your old room air conditioner with a new energy efficient model. Despite rising electricity costs, a typical new room air conditioner only costs about $45 per year to operate, compared to more than $90 in 1980. Before buying a new unit, consider two important factors: cooling capacity and efficiency. A room air conditioner's cooling capacity is a measure of the cooling effect delivered to a room.

Unfortunately, many people size air conditioners incorrectly by purchasing an air conditioner with more cooling capacity than needed. A unit with too much capacity may cool a room so quickly that it won't run long enough to lower humidity. This results in a cold, clammy feeling caused by chilly, humid air. More importantly, you will be wasting energy -- and money.

To help you determine what size room air conditioner you need, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has developed a "Cooling Calculator." This calculator, along with other useful information about room air conditioners, can be found on www.cooloff.org. The Web site will take you through a series of questions before recommending models that fit your needs.

After properly sizing the unit, consider its operating efficiency. Find an efficient room air conditioner that uses less electricity. The higher the energy efficiency ratio, or EER, the more efficient the model. Save even more money by looking for an Energy Star certified unit. Visit www.energystar.gov for the most efficient room air conditioners available.

When shopping, look for the "AHAM-certified" seal. Models certified through AHAM's program have been tested and their performance verified by an independent laboratory, assuring consumers that the product will perform according to the manufacturer's product claims for BTU's per hour, amps and efficiency.

The www.cooloff.org Web site contains information on energy efficiency, cooling capacity, and suggestions for proper installation. Consumers can learn how to keep the unit clean inside and out, be reminded to change the filter regularly, and find other valuable tips.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Editor's Note: The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is a not-for-profit trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances, and suppliers to the industry and is headquartered in Washington, DC. Visit the AHAM web site at http://www.aham.org.

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