There's a debate on Facebook's favorite home improvement page, Home Buddies —Does an inverter aircon save you money? Some swear by it, some cry budol. In this intolerable heat, people want answers.
The simple reply: inverter aircons are designed to consume less power. Under similar settings and conditions, an inverter aircon will consume less power than a conventional aircon.
The complicated answer: it depends on where and how it is used. Many factors affect aircon power consumption from the size of the room, presence of direct sunlight and the number of people inside the room.
An aircon accounts for up to half of a household electricity consumption that's why proper use is a must if you want to stay cool without the bill shock.
What is an inverter aircon?
Inverter technology makes an aircon more energy efficient compared to conventional units as it saves up to 42% in electricity costs or P485 per month (based on a Meralco Power Lab Test on a 1.0hp window-type aircon, inverter against conventional, at 25 degrees Celsius and high fan setting). Take note that inverter technology is available for both window-type and split-type aircon units.
Meralco likened a conventional aircon's compressor to a biker riding uphill, which has a tendency to overwork, requiring more energy while the inverter type is like a biker on a leveled road. "Less effort means less energy used," it said in a video.
Inverter technology is also available for other appliances running 24/7, such as refrigerators.
Always on aircon or on-off?
Meralco's Power Lab Manager, Alfred Iporac, told GMA News that naturally, the household's electricity bill would shoot up the longer an aircon is used.
"Mas mahabang oras ginagamit, mas nagkokonsumo ito. So 'yun pong gumagamit ng eight to 12 hours per day versus sa nagtu-24 hours, definitely mas makakatipid po 'yung lesser time."
In the case of air conditioner units with inverter technology, the longer you use it, the bigger the savings.
"So sa mga nakita naming pag-aaral, if you're using your air conditioners at least four hours per day or more, mas mahaba mas maganda pa siya, mas beneficial talaga ang paggamit ng inverter aircon."
Turning it on and off can result in fluctuating room temperatures, straining the inverter aircon. This means higher energy consumption. He suggests leaving the aircon running even when leaving the room, maximum one hour, to avoid frequently touching the power button.
What's the right size of aircon?
Big doesn't always mean better and it is also the case for aircon units. The space it will cool determines the right aircon horsepower (HP) it needs to run efficiently.
Meralco said an aircon unit too big for the room is likely to turn on and off more frequently, consuming more energy. An aircon too small for the room works harder to reach the room's desired temperature but won't have enough power for it.
Here are Meralco's recommended aircon HP depending on the room size:
What is the right thermostat setting?
Meralco said the most comfortable room temperature is about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius. Setting it at a lower temperature will not cool your room any faster, it said.
The general rule in aircon use is to set the fan speed on high but on humid days, set it on low to cool your room better and help remove moisture from the air.
What about sunlight?
Yes. Meralco suggests getting an aircon unit with higher HP if the room gets too much direct sunlight. If the room is heavily shaded, aircon with a lower HP should suffice.
Meralco said you can provide shade for your aircon unit but make sure not to block the airflow. Avoid placing lamps, television and other items on or near the unit as it can be a source of heat.
Does the number of persons in a room matter?
Yes, because an additional warm body means more heat inside the room. If more than two people are using the room, consider get a unit with higher HP.
No question here, clean your aircon regularly
A clean filter means steady airflow and continuous efficiency. To find out if your aircon needs cleaning, hold up the filter against the light. "If you can't see through it, it's time to clean or replace the filter," Meralco said.
You can save P334 a month or save 5% to 15% on cooling consumption when you clean the aircon filter, it said based on Meralco Power Lab tests.