What is airflow: How to buy an air conditioner to get the cheapest electricity bill: and improve home and house air flow

How to cool the house

Open the house to cooling breezes; remove barriers to air flow; and use fans to make the air flow through the house.
Open the house to cooling breezes; remove barriers to air flow; and use fans to make the air flow through the house.

Read the Government-required labels and keep your electricity bills low; buy ten star - if you can

How to cut electricity cost from air con; use only10-star rated air conditioning. This rating label show the Australia and New Zealand label. Most Government now test and label airconditioners to help you buy best.
How to cut electricity cost from air con; use only10-star rated air conditioning. This rating label show the Australia and New Zealand label. Most Government now test and label airconditioners to help you buy best.

Three free online calculators help you decide, size model and energy-saving features when you buy a new air conditioner

If you live near a coastal area and have a very efficient home, you may not need air conditioner.
In that case, go here:
Here's how to cool your house without an air conditioner, if you decide not to buy one.
How to buy an air conditioner with lowest electricity costs: If you can't cool your house without an air conditioner - the free calculators and data give you tools to get the best deal.
Here's how to find out kind to buy to get the lowest running costs:
Air conditioners can really ramp up your electricity bill. If you already have one may be it just needs a clean-up.
Get informed, and lower your electricity bill
: Get smart! Australian government research reports Australian air conditioner buyers make bad decisions, decisions which cost them money;

"...there is no evidence that... consumers (select) the most efficient products, even though this would be in their financial long term best interests".

  1. 28 per cent of consumers did not consider the energy label when purchasing air conditioners;
  2. 30 per cent did not research their purchase; and
  3. 31 per cent were an impulse buy;
  4. consumers do not seek out and purchase more efficient air conditioners, despite the
    presence of higher efficiency air conditioner products of similar price to other
    products in virtually all air conditioner categories

Government-speak: "This suggests that a significant proportion of consumers are not in the position to make an informed economic decision regarding air conditioner purchases".
How the airconditioner retailers respond:

Harvey Norman has an option to chose by energy star, and no energy efficiency advice: for example four 2.5kw split system wall unit. However the search on "4 star" produced items which were "3 star".

BEST: The Home Improvement People: In this Solar Air Conditioning option sun is used as a heat source to reduce the energy needed to drive the cooling process of a typical air conditioning system which in turn reduces the electrical energy required to run the compressor.You don’t need Roof Solar Panels, Available in split-system and ducted . No energy rating mentioned but if it makes all its own electricity this is the best. Design-wise a bit clunky. But if you want the lowest electricity cost then perhaps this is the one. Sydney only.

These below offer no energy star information about air conditioning products

Bing Lee has no tool to sort by energy efficiency, and provides no advice

Deal Direct provides no energy star information choice option, or advice

Joyce Mayne provides no energy star information choice option, or advice

Bunnings appears to sell fans but not air conditioning. Has a strong sustainability focus. Lots of information sheets and green rah-rah. But a search "energy star rating" gave, "No results found".


Sale curve shows air conditioner considered an essential household item in Australia

Air conditioning extends civilized living into very hot places of the world. Over about 30C, human health, brainpower and productivity starts to slow
Air conditioning extends civilized living into very hot places of the world. Over about 30C, human health, brainpower and productivity starts to slow | Source

Hot house or workplace + cheap, low quality air conditioner = huge electricity bill

Air conditioner electricity costs can make you poor: Advice:
Low-quality air conditioners cost less to buy, but will cost much more in electricity.
So:

  1. only buy high efficient air conditioners rated 10 or above (see label example).
  2. this is a challenge as when I looked at the Government air conditioner purchase comparison site, I could not find an air conditioner rated above 4.
  3. don't rent a house with air con installed unless it has a high-rated air con

How to lower your electricity bill: Government rules in Australia and New Zealand require manufacturers to make new kinds of air conditioners to use less electricity. see Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Air Conditioners: 2011 Issued by the Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee under
the auspices of the Ministerial Council on Energy.

See how consumers buy low efficiency air conditioners and get high electricity bills

The pink line shows the lower bill you would get if you had enough information, bargaining power and cash flow. The blue dots show the low efficiency air conditioners, sold, to you
The pink line shows the lower bill you would get if you had enough information, bargaining power and cash flow. The blue dots show the low efficiency air conditioners, sold, to you

Air con energy use forecast 2005 - 2025

Air con as proportion of the electricity bill: By 2007, Australia space cooling formed 3 per cent of all residential energy bill, and represented 21 per cent of the energy end use.
Time of Use pricing came in after 2007 and so a very rapid rise was expected in air con proportion of the electricity bill, in the next statistics.
Risk of blackouts on hot days: The use of air conditioners has such a large impact on the demand for electricity that, especially during very hot periods, the use of air conditioners creates a peak demand that far exceeds the normal demands on the electricity network and generation capacity.
Western Australia grid air con impact: The top 20 per cent of demand for generation and network capacity, is required for only 135 hours a year and air conditioning represents 25 per cent of that extreme peak demand
South Australia North Adelaide air con grid impact: The top 5MVA of load (approximately 25 per cent of total capacity), occurs for only 2 per cent of the year in extreme weather events
Sydney grid impact: Energy Australia estimate 10 per cent of its network capacity was only used for three days per year.
Queensland:
30 per cent of the consumer electricity tariffs was the result of increases in peak
demand for air conditioning. These happened for a very short time each year.
The problem:
A large proportion of the infrastructure investment in Australia‟s electricity system is being devoted to supply the generation and network capacity required to support air conditioning. The long term electricity supply solution is obviously solar. The new standards talked about here - new requirements in AS/NZS3823.2 - to apply from 2012 - were generally opposed by air conditioner equipment importers, sellers and installers, and supported by electricity suppliers.

Check the Star Rating. This means money. Even a one star improvement can save around 10% on running costs!

A one star improvement can save you 10% on running costs: The energy label show energy efficiency. More stars, the less it costs you to run. YOu will habe a lower electricity bill . Use this rating to compare different models - the more stars, the more money you'll save
Energy efficiency means: "energy service per unit of energy consumption”.

Air conditioner efficiency choice cut your electricity bill:

  1. amount of cooling capacity (output) per unit of energy it consumes (input).
  2. a big appliance will nearly always use more energy than a small one
  3. use energy efficiency starts to compare similar size products of different brands
  4. stars are 1 star up to of 6, in half star increments
  5. some times products can earn up to 10 stars.

Air conditioner energy efficiency: Two measures, EER and COP:

  1. Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for cooling; and
  2. coefficient of Performance (COP) for heating.

The Star Rating Index is calculated on the measured values for energy and capacity during a rating test, rather than the nameplate or rated values.

Based upon the tested power input and the tested capacity: Why does the star rating of some air conditioners sometimes seem inconsistent with the capacity output and the power input?
Australian standard: The star rating and star rating index for an air conditioner is not based on the rated power input and the rated capacity (as published on the web site) but rather it is based upon the tested power input and the tested capacity (not published on the web site) when tested in accordance with AS/NZS 3823.


Creates high pollution as air con in Australia powered 95 per cent by burning coal

Carbon pollution curve rises with increased air con as Australian electricity grids powered 90 per cent by burning coal. The good news: solar panels have reduced that by the value of a medium-sized power station, 350MW.
Carbon pollution curve rises with increased air con as Australian electricity grids powered 90 per cent by burning coal. The good news: solar panels have reduced that by the value of a medium-sized power station, 350MW.

Landlords don't care about your electricity bill; they just install the cheapest air con

In Australia around 30 per cent of residential housing and 82 per cent of small and large commercial property is leased.
Sneaky branding:
Australians and New Zealander choose between 180 air conditioner brands, sold by mostly by 10 to 15 big firms. Most suppliers offer 2 or 3 brands so supplier number was around 100.
Sneaky marketing:
When the temps get hot retailers sell air conditioner from a very limited range of products. Project home builders may buy air conditioners in bulk.
Aircon in Australia and NZ, a "Failed market":
All Australian and New Zealand Governments have agreed the "air conditioner market fails..." for five reasons
Lack of buyer friendly information: buyers can't understand air conditioner efficiency and
operating costs.
Land lords buy cheap air con, renters pay the electricity bill: Many end-users are excluded from the purchase decision when air conditioners are selected. Purchasers are often not motivated to consider life-time costs and, hence, energy efficiency.
Too complex: Consumers lack the information or the ability to understand and to effectively use the information.
Too much math for Mum and Dad: Consumers also lack the computation skills, time and motivation required to compare the life cycle costs of different air conditioners, so as to make informed financial choices

Lower efficiency air con in a badly designed house will bring a huge electricity bill

  1. if you can't afford a high-efficiency air conditioner;
  2. you are best not to buy one at all; and
  3. if you have a low efficiency air conditioner; and a
  4. hot house, you will can expect a very high electricity bill;
  5. Ouch. if you rent, i;ts possible you can do little to make your house cooler;
  6. cheap houses are hotter and landlords have no incentive to make them cool; so
  7. you make have to move to a cooler house; as the maths read line this:
  8. hot house + cheap, low quality air conditioner = huge electricity bill

What not to buy: 929 bad airconditioner models on the Australian market; 71 per cent of all aircon products

Shows the per cent of total models that are non-compliant with the new air conditioner efficiency standard
Shows the per cent of total models that are non-compliant with the new air conditioner efficiency standard | Source

Australia hours of air con cooling and heating by state State

State
Heating Hours
Cooling Hours
NSW and ACT
88
175
Northern Territory
-
1315
Queensland
44
438
South Australia
88
219
Tasmania
263
88
Victoria
44
131
Western Australia
44
263
Use this table to get the data you need to use the calculator below. This is the time your air conditioner may be need to cool. It is the Estimated equivalent Australia full load electricity operational Hours by State driven by heating and cooling de

Australia Commercial and Resdential electricity tariffs by State

Use the three tables above to post your data to the three calculators, to the right


  1. Use the three tables above to post your data to the two calculators, to the right
  2. That data lets you choose the type and size options
  3. Now you have size and type then check for the most most energy efficient model
  • Portable - if you have a small or single room and only require infrequent cooling but would like the option to relocate the unit.
  • Wall - if you have a small or single room and require infrequent to frequent cooling.
  • Split System - if you have a larger room or have multiple rooms that you want to cool.
  • Ducted - if you have multiple rooms that you want to cool

The right size: The output capacity is a measure of the amount of heat that will be removed from the rooms in your house by the air conditioner.

  • 125 watts (.125 Kw) per square meter of floor area to be cooled in living areas.
  • 80 watts (.08 Kw) per square meter of floor area to be cooled in bedrooms

Types of airconditioners: portable cooler

All in one box box. Suitable for renters. May be ducted (where unconditioned exhaust air is expelled from the conditioned space via a duct) or may be non ducted.
It has a large, wide flexible pipe which needs to go out a window. Its messy. But solves heat problems for renters of badly designed houses and units (at the cost of a high electricity bill). Note: Evaporative conditioners do not do well in humid climates like Queensland.

Types of airconditioners: spot cooler

Evaporator, condenser and associated refrigeration components in one portable box. Evaporative units do not work well in humid climates - so if you are in Queensland, this is not the unit for you.

Types of airconditioners: Double Triple split System

A split system air-conditioner with a single outdoor unit and two or three indoor units with a single controller. Non ducted.

Airconditioners: packaged - evaporator, condenser brand ideas

Types of airconditioners: packaged - evaporator, condenser refrigeration in one box

Evaporator, condenser and associated refrigeration components in one box mounted on a roof top or other location, ducted.


Types of airconditioners: single split system

Two units; single outdoor unit and a single indoor unit connected by refrigerant piping.

  1. indoor unit in the conditioned space (ie non ducted): and
  2. bigger indoor units may feed into a duct system

Types of airconditioners: multiple split system

Single outdoor unit and two or more indoor units, indoor unit independently controlled. Mon ducted.

Types of airconditioners: ducted

Indoor unit remote to the space to be conditioned. Air by duct. This means a flexible pipe.


Types of airconditioners: non ducted

Indoor side partly or wholly within the space to be conditioned; air is supplied and extracted directly.

Types of airconditioners: Big 3 phase electricity

Big air conditioners - more than about 15kW cooling capacity need three phase power supply. This may cost extra to install.

Work out your energy costs with an energy meter

Types of airconditioners: variable output compressor "Inverter"

Get better performance and energy efficiency: Air-conditioner models with a "Variable Output Compressor" have a variable speed drive, which enables the compressor to run at a range of speeds from slow to fast, to match the output required. Most conventional compressors run at a constant speed and these types of units vary their capacity by switching on and off at different intervals. Variable Output Compressors are a sophisticated piece of technology that improve the performance and energy efficiency of air conditioners under normal use. The most common form of Variable Output Compressor is called an "INVERTER" however there are other types available. It has anti-allergen, antivirus and antibacteria fliter and humidity control.

Australia, the sun burnt land, a land of flooding plains

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