Unlocking efficiency: Choosing the air conditioner that saves electricity

Air conditioners with high EER, SEER and ENERGY STAR certification are known to save electricity, as they are designed to operate efficiently and consume less energy.

How to determine the energy efficiency of an air conditioner before purchasing it?

Determining the energy efficiency of an air conditioner before purchasing it is crucial to ensure you make an informed decision that not only meets your cooling needs but also helps save energy and reduce operating costs.

Some key factors to consider:

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

The EER is a measure of how efficiently an air conditioner uses electricity to cool a specific area. It is calculated by dividing the cooling capacity (in BTUs – British Thermal Units) by the power input (in watts):

Seek air conditioners with higher EER ratings, as they indicate greater energy efficiency.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

SEER is another important rating that takes into account the efficiency of an air conditioner over an entire cooling season, considering various temperatures and conditions. Higher SEER ratings indicate better energy efficiency.

NOTE: In some areas, local regulations establish the minimum SEER requirements for air conditioners in order to promote energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR Certification

The ENERGY STAR label is a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency of a wide range of products, including appliances, electronics, lighting, heating and cooling systems, and more.

To earn the ENERGY STAR label, products must meet stringent energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through a three-step certification process:

Step Description
1. Testing Manufacturers conduct product testing in a laboratory recognized by the EPA to ensure compliance with ENERGY STAR specifications.
2. Review An EPA-recognized impartial third-party certification body evaluates the product test results to verify its conformity to program requirements, thereby qualifying it for the ENERGY STAR label.
3. Off-the-shelf Testing Following the initial testing and certification, specific certified models undergo additional “off-the-shelf” testing to confirm continuous adherence to ENERGY STAR requirements, guaranteeing consistent compliance with expected energy efficiency standards.

Products with the ENERGY STAR label typically demonstrate superior energy performance, leading to lower energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Inverter technology

Air conditioners with inverter technology are more energy-efficient than traditional models.

Inverter technology allows the compressor to operate at variable speeds, adjusting the cooling capacity according to the demand, maintaining a more consistent temperature and thus, reducing energy consumption.

Size and capacity

Make sure that the air conditioner is appropriately sized for the space you want to cool. An oversized unit may cycle on and off frequently, leading to energy inefficiency, while an undersized unit may struggle to cool the space efficiently.

Smart features and programmable thermostats

With smart features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with home automation systems, you can remotely control and monitor your cooling system.

You can better manage your AC’s energy consumption by adjusting the settings based on occupancy patterns, weather conditions, or time of the day.

With programmable thermostats you can customize your cooling schedules, minimizing energy usage during periods when cooling is unnecessary.

These technologies not only contribute to energy savings but also offer convenience and flexibility in managing your indoor climate.

Additionally, some smart air conditioners may provide energy usage reports, allowing you to track and analyze consumption patterns for further optimization.

NOTE:  Some states have specific energy efficiency requirements or incentives for purchasing energy-efficient appliances. Check with local authorities to see if there are any guidelines or financial incentives available.

You can check for rebates and special offers in your specific area on ENERGY STAR certified products here.

Why are inverter air conditioners considered the most energy-efficient?

Air conditioners come in two main types: inverter and non-inverter models. Inverter air conditioners are considered the most energy-efficient due to their advanced technology, which allows the compressor to operate at variable speeds.

Traditional air conditioners typically have a fixed-speed compressor that turns on and off to maintain the desired temperature, resulting in energy spikes during each cycle.

In contrast, inverter technology adjusts the compressor speed continuously to match the cooling demand. When the desired temperature is almost reached, the compressor operates at a lower speed, consuming less energy.

This avoids the frequent on/off cycling seen in non-inverter models, providing more consistent cooling and reducing energy consumption.

The table below outlines the key distinctions between inverter and non-inverter air conditioners:

Feature Inverter air conditioners Non-inverter air conditioners
Compressor operation Operates at variable speeds based on cooling demand Operates with a fixed-speed, turning on and off
Energy efficiency Considered the most energy-efficient due to continuous adjustment May be less energy-efficient due to on/off cycling
Temperature control Provides more consistent cooling and stable temperatures Temperature fluctuations may occur with on/off cycling
Cost Higher initial cost Generally has a lower upfront cost
Long-term savings Offers potential long-term energy savings May have higher operational costs over time due to energy consumption

Although inverter air conditioners may have a higher initial cost, their superior energy efficiency justifies the investment, leading to long-term cost savings and environmental benefits.

When shopping for an energy-efficient air conditioner, first thing first, consider the size of the unit relative to the space you want to cool.

Read more: Maximizing energy efficiency – Smart practices for air conditioner operation

Additionally, look for products with the ENERGY STAR label, as these meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA.

Leading the way: Top ENERGY STAR most efficient air conditioners for 2024

The ENERGY STAR most efficient 2024 list showcases products that embody energy efficiency and the latest technological innovations, offering the best energy savings and a commitment to environmental protection.

The table below lists the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient air conditioner models for 2024:

Brand Model Estimated Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr) Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER) Less Energy Use than US Federal Standard Markets Low Noise
Midea 1010451315 375.0 16.0 47% United States, Canada Yes
Midea 1010451479 468.8 16.0 47% United States, Canada Yes
Midea MAW08U1QWT 375.0 16.0 47% United States, Canada Yes
Midea MAW10U1QWT 468.8 16.0 47% United States, Canada Yes
LG LW6023IVSM 290.3 15.5 41% United States, Canada Yes
Keystone KSTAW08INV-HC 413.8 14.5 48% United States, Canada Yes
Midea MWAUQB-08HRFN8-BCL0 413.8 14.5 48% United States, Canada Yes

These models from Midea, LG, and Keystone, excel in energy efficiency, innovation and environmental responsibility.

Consumers in the United States and Canada seeking cutting-edge, energy-efficient air conditioning solutions (with low noise levels) can consider these models as top choices for the year 2024.

The Keystone KSTAW08INV is available for purchase on Amazon, in 3 different sizes: 12,000 BTU10,000 BTU and 8,000 BTU.


Read more: Keystone shines on the ENERGY STAR most efficient 2024 List

NOTE: Please remember to further look into specific requirements, such as room size, installation preferences, budget etc., when making a purchasing decision

Other reputable brands recognized for their commitment to energy efficiency in the realm of air conditioning and climate control include:

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