As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

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CrossOverGuy
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As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by CrossOverGuy »

There have been breakthroughs so that huge UNIVAC computers that used to be the size of entire rooms now are dwarfed in computer power by personal computers one lugs around easily. There are other technological feats as well like light bulbs that don't use as much electricity. But air conditioners, while some seem to have developed to be more energy efficient, are still harmful to the environment and still use so much electricity. Even if people had to replace their present ones the way they replace their light bulbs with more energy efficient ones, in not too much time it most likely would be worth it, since most people's use of air conditioners are probably the single biggest boost in their energy bills when they use them. I use fans at present until it gets really hot as I haven't seen yet the prices electric companies have raised rates with inflation up nowadays.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by KlangFool »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRYuUqYI3nM

It was invented 400 BC in Persia. Wind catchers. It used no electricity.

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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by randomguy »

AC efficiency is constantly improving. And you can go out and and get some 25 SEER/16 err AC if you want. Most people tend to buy like 14s seers though. The 40/month savings isn't as appealing as saving 2k up front. And definitely not worth it to replace som 8k unit that is functioning fine. Now the math if you live in a place like Phoenix is a bit different than the places where you use AC 3 months/year. Maybe people there are more likely to pay for efficiency.

Computers were so far from the theoretical limits that making big breakthroughs was easy. If the limit is 1nm transistors and you are 1" you have a ton of room for improvement. There just isn't that much room for AC improvement. Preventing heat gain might be you low hanging fruit if you haven't already done it.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Marylander1 »

It's been invented and likely available from a vendor near you: my current mini-split heat pump is dramatically more efficient than the giant noisy monster it replaced. Check out the energy efficiency ratings, and carefully consider the system's design and placement in your home:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... ency_ratio

My old system might have used 10% of its electricity merely to rattle the entire building.

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Last edited by Marylander1 on Sat Jun 18, 2022 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by H-Town »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:09 pm Yes, a fan.
lol this

I keep it 84 degree. Fan can go a long way.

But I’m used to summer heat. It’s just a way of life around here.
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beardsicles
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by beardsicles »

Yeah, a heat pump.

They can actually (more efficiently, usually) cool the house to a higher ambient temperature but provide more comfort because they do such a good job dehumidifying.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by JDave »

The number one thing you can do to reduce your air conditioner energy usages (heating too), is seal the penetrations between your top floor ceiling and your attic. Every electric wire, plumbing pipe, and air duct will usually have a big, unsealed gap. Most can be sealed with a few cans of spray foam. Once they're sealed, they stay sealed, and the energy savings just roll in.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by SchruteB&B »

runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:20 pm Keep the house in the 80's.
Mrs. Seinfeld, I am begging you! Put the air conditioner ON! :D
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by BernardShakey »

Californiastate wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:29 pm What is the question?
The title :wink:
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Californiastate »

BernardShakey wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:55 pm
Californiastate wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:29 pm What is the question?
The title :wink:
It's more of a rant than a direct question.
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CrossOverGuy
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by CrossOverGuy »

Not so much of a rant, insofar as I'd like to find a solution: an air conditioner I could buy that would not shoot up my apartment's electric bill by a large amount. As I said, I mostly use a fan in my apartment, unless things get so hot or so or otherwise unbearably humid that it feels like it is in the 90s or so.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by radiowave »

In the summer months we open the windows in early morning pulling in cool air, then close windows mid morning. If the inside temp gets to 80, I open the basement casement windows, then run the attic fan for a few min pulling cool air up into the main house. We do have a swamp (evaporative) cooler but it can get very humid inside so we use it sparingly and only when outside ambient temp gets into the 90s. Our summer electric bill is under $100.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by DVMResident »

Evaporator cooler, useful in low humidity environments like Colorado.

Geothermal heat pump is more efficient…but you’re in an apartment so no-go.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by runner3081 »

SchruteB&B wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:52 pm
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:20 pm Keep the house in the 80's.
Mrs. Seinfeld, I am begging you! Put the air conditioner ON! :D
You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Sandtrap »

evaporator cooler
aka
swamp cooler

whole house or room or zone
common in the southwest
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Calc_is_Easier
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Calc_is_Easier »

There are lots of solutions, but no silver bullets. Turn off airflow to all spaces that don't need cooled (or use a mini-split evaporator/blower system). Seal all the leaks in your home and ducts, and between spaces. Insulate. Use triple-pane windows with low-e glass. Put black-out shades in. Increase the thermostat temperature.

For the HVAC-R system itself: Use a ground source heat pump on the outdoor heat exchanger side. Use a system with an economizer or recuperation heat exchanger. Use a system with brushless motors and variable speed fans. Minimize use of fresh air exchange when temperatures are extreme. Use a variable speed vapor injection refrigerant compressor that has a permanent-magnet DC motor. Use electrically variable expansion valves instead of fixed orifice tubes. Power all the electrical systems with solar and wind. Air quality is important too: add a good MERV14+ filter with activated carbon.

Or move to ancient Persia. :D
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by adamthesmythe »

Sandtrap wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 6:04 pm evaporator cooler
aka
swamp cooler

whole house or room or zone
common in the southwest
Yup.

For conventional AC there is a fundamental performance limit imposed by thermodynamics. I don't know how close current systems get, because it's not just the Carnot efficiency there's also an energy cost to removing water.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by windaar »

Calc_is_Easier wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 6:06 pmTurn off airflow to all spaces that don't need cooled
Ask your HVAC guy before your do this. closing off rooms or floors in either winter or summer is generally not a good idea for a lot of reasons.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by finite_difference »

Marylander1 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:15 pm It's been invented and likely available from a vendor near you: my current mini-split heat pump is dramatically more efficient than the giant noisy monster it replaced. Check out the energy efficiency ratings, and carefully consider the system's design and placement in your home:
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... _ratio/url]

My old system might have used 10% of its electricity merely to rattle the entire building.

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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by LilyFleur »

beardsicles wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:35 pm Yeah, a heat pump.

They can actually (more efficiently, usually) cool the house to a higher ambient temperature but provide more comfort because they do such a good job dehumidifying.
I live a mile and a half from the beach, and my condo development is bordered by a river channel. It is a humid microclimate in Southern California. For much of the summer, I simply run the dehumidifier setting on my minisplits. I also use fans to distribute the air throughout my living room/dining room/kitchen area. I keep the door to my extra bedroom closed and rarely run the minisplit in that room. The condo development gets noisy in the summer with so many open windows, and the other residents' dogs bark more. The motorcycles on the main boulevard speeding to the beach are excessively noisy. My space is quiet and cool, and I love it!
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Turbo29 »

randomguy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:11 pm Now the math if you live in a place like Phoenix is a bit different than the places where you use AC 3 months/year. Maybe people there are more likely to pay for efficiency.
In a very hot and dry climate, higher SEER does not help as much as one might think. SEER values are calculated assuming conditions that are much different than Phoenix.

ABSTRACT
Air conditioning loads are generally the largest consumer of energy in a building for the
summer season. Most cooling equipment is labeled with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
(SEER), based on tests outlined by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.
The federal government requires all systems to meet standard SEER ratings, and the federal
efficiency program ENERGY STAR uses SEER as judgment criteria for systems. However, the
SEER rating test is not necessarily reflective of all climate zones, and uncertainty remains about
whether SEER ratings are truly effective for planning incentives for energy efficient systems in
different regions. In 2011, a large project was deployed around Phoenix, Arizona, to measure the
actual field performance of residential air conditioners with a range of SEER ratings. Customer
survey information was used to normalize for square footage and other factors. The results of this
study helps determine what correlation exists between the shorter-term seasonal efficiency and
SEER rating in the hot, dry summer climate, so that appropriate utility incentive programs can be
established. The findings of this study will be presented.

Field Study of the Energy Savings Potential of High-SEER Air Conditioning
in the Hot-Dry Climate
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by mmmodem »

I rarely ever turn on my AC despite living in CA with multiple 100 degree days. The home is newer so has very good insulation. All the heat is trapped in the attic. My home is 1 story and 2 story neighboring homes surround and shadow a good deal of my home. I chose a home with windows facing north and south. I use the whole house fan at night with windows open to cool the home as much as possible. I close all windows and blinds in the morning to preserve the cold throughout the day. I install ceiling fans in every room so I can turn up the temperature to 76 degrees. 78 is recommended but other family members complain.

I understand some of these things are physical and you cannot change but you can choose for your next residence. My electricity usage is about the same in summer or winter as AC usage is minimal.

In comparison, my parent's home nearby where I grew up is unbearable in summer. Windows face east/west, AC is on all the time in the summer. I do all the tricks above but it's still expensive in summer.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by randomguy »

Turbo29 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 7:17 pm
randomguy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:11 pm Now the math if you live in a place like Phoenix is a bit different than the places where you use AC 3 months/year. Maybe people there are more likely to pay for efficiency.
In a very hot and dry climate, higher SEER does not help as much as one might think. SEER values are calculated assuming conditions that are much different than Phoenix.

ABSTRACT
Air conditioning loads are generally the largest consumer of energy in a building for the
summer season. Most cooling equipment is labeled with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
(SEER), based on tests outlined by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.
The federal government requires all systems to meet standard SEER ratings, and the federal
efficiency program ENERGY STAR uses SEER as judgment criteria for systems. However, the
SEER rating test is not necessarily reflective of all climate zones, and uncertainty remains about
whether SEER ratings are truly effective for planning incentives for energy efficient systems in
different regions. In 2011, a large project was deployed around Phoenix, Arizona, to measure the
actual field performance of residential air conditioners with a range of SEER ratings. Customer
survey information was used to normalize for square footage and other factors. The results of this
study helps determine what correlation exists between the shorter-term seasonal efficiency and
SEER rating in the hot, dry summer climate, so that appropriate utility incentive programs can be
established. The findings of this study will be presented.

Field Study of the Energy Savings Potential of High-SEER Air Conditioning
in the Hot-Dry Climate
Of course. In those climates you use EER. I haven't looked extensively (I live in the swamp) but my impression has been that high SEER tend to be high EER but the savings are a bit different...
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Big Dog »

beardsicles wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:35 pm Yeah, a heat pump.

They can actually (more efficiently, usually) cool the house to a higher ambient temperature but provide more comfort because they do such a good job dehumidifying.
A properly sized conventional HVAC does a great job of dehumidifying. The issue is that most contractors don't like doing a Manual J, and therefore most homeowners have a compressor that is too big for their house, which decreases dehumidifying.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by tortoise84 »

runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
I'm currently experimenting with this super cooling strategy, but not because of Time Of Use rates. Instead, I'm trying it because my HVAC ducts run through my hot attic, and I have seen a noticeable drop in efficiency of my AC in the afternoon. For example, return air 84F, supply air 80F, so only 4F differential. The AC has to run over 50% of the time just to maintain 82F. If I set it in the 70s, it would probably run non-stop. But in the morning or late evening, I can get return air 82F, supply air 69F, so a much better 13F differential. So I'm going to try super cooling in the morning, then set to 83F from 12-9PM when the attic is too hot for the HVAC ducts to operate efficiently, then 81F overnight. Yes, I've gotten used to having my AC in the 80s here in South Florida, as long as the AC did its job of dehumidifying down to around 50%, then I feel just fine.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Turbo29 »

runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm
You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
My utility (Salt River Project) has a plan called "EZ-3"; peak rates 3pm-6pm, Monday-Friday. All other times (including weekends and most holidays) are off peak.
I super cool to 75°F and have the thermostat go up to 82°F at 3pm when peak rates start. Lower rates start again at 6pm at which time the thermostat is programmed to go back down. It is rare that my AC runs at all during the high rate period; maybe 3 or 4 times on really hot days. I find it very tolerable and it saves a lot of money.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Williams57 »

There are a few reasons for this.

1. The industry has been shifting from refrigerants with high global warming potential. Unfortunately the replacements with lower GWP are lower efficiency. So that doesn't help.
2. The overall equipment efficiency though has been going up, but due to the above, probably not as fast as things in other industries.
3. $/kWh have been going up, and the introduction of time of use (demand) $/kW makes AC electric use more expensive, which has been happening in the last few years in more areas for residential rates.
4. Climate change is causing more use for ACs in most places, they just run more and hence use more energy.
5. The easiest, cheapest and best thing to do is use it less by optimizing schedule, via a smart thermostat or conscious & occasional use of cooling.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by bob60014 »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:03 pm ......
I mostly use a fan in my apartment, unless things get so hot ....
Put a block of ice in front of the fan. It worked in the '20s....1920s that is! ;)
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by bob60014 »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:03 pm ......
I mostly use a fan in my apartment, unless things get so hot ....
Put a block of ice in front of the fan. It worked in the '20s....1920s that is! ;)
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by runner3081 »

Turbo29 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 8:47 pm
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm
You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
My utility (Salt River Project) has a plan called "EZ-3"; peak rates 3pm-6pm, Monday-Friday. All other times (including weekends and most holidays) are off peak.
I super cool to 75°F and have the thermostat go up to 82°F at 3pm when peak rates start. Lower rates start again at 6pm at which time the thermostat is programmed to go back down. It is rare that my AC runs at all during the high rate period; maybe 3 or 4 times on really hot days. I find it very tolerable and it saves a lot of money.
We have APS, at the moment, peak hours are 3-8. Waiting for them to change that over to 4-7.

The AC never goes on during during peak (we set it at 90 during this time).

Shocking, really, how much money it saves. Over $100 per month. We used to keep the house at 84 24/7. Wife hated it, now... I come home early and she is in a jacket during super cooling. We use more electricity, but the bill has been cut by at least 30%.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by radiowave »

tortoise84 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 8:36 pm
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
I'm currently experimenting with this super cooling strategy, but not because of Time Of Use rates. Instead, I'm trying it because my HVAC ducts run through my hot attic, and I have seen a noticeable drop in efficiency of my AC in the afternoon. For example, return air 84F, supply air 80F, so only 4F differential. The AC has to run over 50% of the time just to maintain 82F. If I set it in the 70s, it would probably run non-stop. But in the morning or late evening, I can get return air 82F, supply air 69F, so a much better 13F differential. So I'm going to try super cooling in the morning, then set to 83F from 12-9PM when the attic is too hot for the HVAC ducts to operate efficiently, then 81F overnight. Yes, I've gotten used to having my AC in the 80s here in South Florida, as long as the AC did its job of dehumidifying down to around 50%, then I feel just fine.
I'm smiling. Being in CO, typical summer days are less than 20% humidity and recently saw the inside humidity dip down to a single digit.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Monsterflockster »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:46 pm There have been breakthroughs so that huge UNIVAC computers that used to be the size of entire rooms now are dwarfed in computer power by personal computers one lugs around easily. There are other technological feats as well like light bulbs that don't use as much electricity. But air conditioners, while some seem to have developed to be more energy efficient, are still harmful to the environment and still use so much electricity. Even if people had to replace their present ones the way they replace their light bulbs with more energy efficient ones, in not too much time it most likely would be worth it, since most people's use of air conditioners are probably the single biggest boost in their energy bills when they use them. I use fans at present until it gets really hot as I haven't seen yet the prices electric companies have raised rates with inflation up nowadays.
We had 460 AC growing up. (Four windows down at 60 mph). Pretty sure that’s still a Ali le but at today’s gas rates it ain’t cheap. :D
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by MJS »

Potentially, ultra white barium sulfate paint on roofs.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Brianmcg321 »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:03 pm Not so much of a rant, insofar as I'd like to find a solution: an air conditioner I could buy that would not shoot up my apartment's electric bill by a large amount. As I said, I mostly use a fan in my apartment, unless things get so hot or so or otherwise unbearably humid that it feels like it is in the 90s or so.
Here is an $8 air conditioner you can do yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaC0dlRENk0
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by pseudoiterative »

JDave wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:39 pm The number one thing you can do to reduce your air conditioner energy usages (heating too), is seal the penetrations between your top floor ceiling and your attic. Every electric wire, plumbing pipe, and air duct will usually have a big, unsealed gap. Most can be sealed with a few cans of spray foam. Once they're sealed, they stay sealed, and the energy savings just roll in.
There's discussion of the energy efficiency of heating and cooling in chapter 7 (heating and cooling) and technical chapter E (heating II) of David MacKay's book "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air".

MacKay writes from the perspective of British energy consumption, so the problem of cooling is not really regarded as significant compared to the problem of heating. Have you considered moving somewhere bloody cold? :D
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Starfish »

The AC efficiency is limited by simple high school physics (thermodynamics) principles. The problem in US are the low building standards. If you have low insulation and low quality windows we are going to spend energy to cool/heat that house. So first step would be more insulation, and add solar.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by jebmke »

Starfish wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:49 am The AC efficiency is limited by simple high school physics (thermodynamics) principles. The problem in US are the low building standards. If you have low insulation and low quality windows we are going to spend energy to cool/heat that house. So first step would be more insulation, and add solar.
Sealing the house did a lot for us. Then we put in a two stage system and it rarely runs on the upper stage even in temps in mid-90s.
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by stoptothink »

runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm
SchruteB&B wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:52 pm
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:20 pm Keep the house in the 80's.
Mrs. Seinfeld, I am begging you! Put the air conditioner ON! :D
You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
This is one of those "choose your battles" topics in our home. I have lived comfortably completely without AC (in some of the hottest areas of the country, including Mesa AZ and Houston), but temperature is not something my wife will compromise on. If it's over 76, she's melting, under 68 and she's going into hypothermia. Yesterday afternoon it was high 70's outside with a strong breeze, she had to have the AC on in the car and then when we got home. She's also famous for turning on the AC and then putting a space heater on her feet.

I don't understand how a few degrees difference can have such an impact on someone's comfort, but those few degrees come at a pretty big cost. Totally separate from the financial cost, I kind of have a mental block regarding AC/heat; one of my core life principles is "use less" and it just seems so wasteful to me. Fortunately we have a small well-insulated home and we try to spend as little time as possible in it.
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JoeRetire
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by JoeRetire »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:09 pm Yes, a fan.
This. We have ceiling fans in every bedroom, plus the living room and family room.
Makes a huge difference. We only use our air conditioner for about 2 weeks per year.
This is gonna be my time. Time to taste the fruits and let the juices drip down my chin. I proclaim this: The Summer of George!
tunafish
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by tunafish »

stoptothink wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:02 am
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm
SchruteB&B wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:52 pm
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:20 pm Keep the house in the 80's.
Mrs. Seinfeld, I am begging you! Put the air conditioner ON! :D
You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
This is one of those "choose your battles" topics in our home. I have lived comfortably completely without AC (in some of the hottest areas of the country, including Mesa AZ and Houston), but temperature is not something my wife will compromise on. If it's over 76, she's melting, under 68 and she's going into hypothermia. Yesterday afternoon it was high 70's outside with a strong breeze, she had to have the AC on in the car and then when we got home. She's also famous for turning on the AC and then putting a space heater on her feet.

I don't understand how a few degrees difference can have such an impact on someone's comfort, but those few degrees come at a pretty big cost. Totally separate from the financial cost, I kind of have a mental block regarding AC/heat; one of my core life principles is "use less" and it just seems so wasteful to me. Fortunately we have a small well-insulated home and we try to spend as little time as possible in it.
Women are different from men. Yes, it's true. We are much more sensitive to temperature. Different metabolic rate, thicker blood (thanks, estrogen), etc. Just like older people have a different temperature sensitivity than younger people. I got into a real argument once with a young AC/heating guy who wanted to limit the temperature to a range I knew was uncomfortable for me.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/arti ... mones.html

By the way, houses used to be designed better - awnings, doors located to set up through breezes, etc.
Last edited by tunafish on Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Starfish wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:49 am The AC efficiency is limited by simple high school physics (thermodynamics) principles. The problem in US are the low building standards. If you have low insulation and low quality windows we are going to spend energy to cool/heat that house. So first step would be more insulation, and add solar.
And, if you’ve got some extra money sitting around, install geothermal for heating and cooling. It’s not a frugal move short term as a retrofit, but once it’s in, it’s cheap to run and really comfortable.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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snackdog
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by snackdog »

Go solar. The higher your electricity rate, the better the return. Fed tax credit is 26% this year, lower going forward. Hurry.
MathWizard
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by MathWizard »

OP is in an apartment.

The options are quite limited.

Likely the owner is installing equipment, but tenants pay electric bill. This means there is no incentive for the owner to increase efficiency.

Options which increase humidity like evaporative cooling would make things intolerable except in conditions like the desert southwest.

I'm not sure there is a solution for OP short of moving .
Heat waves can be killers for elderly stuck in apartments, especially in brownouts/blackouts due to high load.
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CrossOverGuy
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by CrossOverGuy »

I'm in a very reasonable apartment in a great location in a big city for many years; I'm not moving to save on air conditioning which is a pittance as opposed to market rent rates here. I'll continue to use air conditioner less and fans more. Perhaps an overhead fan might be good, too. I've heard it's good policy to reverse the direction of the fan at different times of the year. A neighbor of mine recently got one -- I'll ask him how he likes it.

I'll also look into asking management if they've ever considered putting solar panels on the roof; I'm not sure if they can still get tax credits on that, but I'd love to be able to phrase it in some way that it benefits them financially so they might take action to do so. Maybe it would reduce overall electricity costs in the building (halls, laundry room, boiler, whatever runs on the electricity, etc.) for them. Unless of course they want to pass it on to us in rent hikes in perpetuity as a major capital improvement in which case I'd weigh if it's going to be more expensive than the original air conditioner usage.
Last edited by CrossOverGuy on Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
runner3081
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by runner3081 »

stoptothink wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:02 am
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 5:53 pm
SchruteB&B wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:52 pm
runner3081 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:20 pm Keep the house in the 80's.
Mrs. Seinfeld, I am begging you! Put the air conditioner ON! :D
You get used to it. We are in AZ. During peak hours, the AC is off after super cooling. Usually floats up to 84-86 degrees for an hour or two before off-peak time and the AC comes back on.

Even during super cooling, we only drop it to 72. Overnight, we keep it at 81.
This is one of those "choose your battles" topics in our home. I have lived comfortably completely without AC (in some of the hottest areas of the country, including Mesa AZ and Houston), but temperature is not something my wife will compromise on. If it's over 76, she's melting, under 68 and she's going into hypothermia. Yesterday afternoon it was high 70's outside with a strong breeze, she had to have the AC on in the car and then when we got home. She's also famous for turning on the AC and then putting a space heater on her feet.

I don't understand how a few degrees difference can have such an impact on someone's comfort, but those few degrees come at a pretty big cost. Totally separate from the financial cost, I kind of have a mental block regarding AC/heat; one of my core life principles is "use less" and it just seems so wasteful to me. Fortunately we have a small well-insulated home and we try to spend as little time as possible in it.
I prefer it to be warmer at home because the office is freezing. I step out at the end of the day from work and don't turn the car AC on for 5-10 minutes, even though it is 130+ in the car. Takes me a while to thaw out :)

Completely agree about wasting. Just a few degrees keeps so many more dollar bills in our pocket, compared to the profit generating electric company!
Valuethinker
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Valuethinker »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:46 pm There have been breakthroughs so that huge UNIVAC computers that used to be the size of entire rooms now are dwarfed in computer power by personal computers one lugs around easily. There are other technological feats as well like light bulbs that don't use as much electricity. But air conditioners, while some seem to have developed to be more energy efficient, are still harmful to the environment and still use so much electricity. Even if people had to replace their present ones the way they replace their light bulbs with more energy efficient ones, in not too much time it most likely would be worth it, since most people's use of air conditioners are probably the single biggest boost in their energy bills when they use them. I use fans at present until it gets really hot as I haven't seen yet the prices electric companies have raised rates with inflation up nowadays.
https://www.energystar.gov/productfinde ... rs/results

room ACs - high efficiency models

https://www.energystar.gov/products/cen ... nditioners

Central HVAC (see also Heat Pumps if you are looking for a heating solution as well-- in the southern USA in particular HPs are quite common & we have had many discussions here about HPs which are appropriate for cold weather climates (if you search on poster talzara for example)).

You are constrained by the laws of thermodynamics. Moving from incandescent bulbs to solid state electronics (LED lightbulbs) allowed for 90-95% improvements in efficiency. That's not possible with a heat engine.

Nonetheless if you aim for SEER of 16 or above you are doing pretty well. That's probably double the SEER of a 30 year old model.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... ency_ratio

Note the environmental friendliness of the compressor gas has changed 1000x since the 1988 Freon Ban (generically Freon was CF12 I believe) was agreed by the world's nations in Montreal. Not as yet fully won, but very big improvements.

(Fridges are amazing. A 1980s fridge could easily burn 2000 kwhr pa. A 2022 fridge can burn 500 kwhr pa, and will be larger. My fridge (in Europe, a Bosch) burns c. 330 kwhr pa ).

It is worth knowing that if your insulation, particularly in your roof space, is poor AND/OR your house is not well leak-sealed, then it will cost a lot more to cool. A lot of houses were just not that well built. A utility may be able to assist you with an energy audit.
Valuethinker
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Re: As summer electric bills go up, has anyone invented an air conditioner that doesn't use as much electricity?

Post by Valuethinker »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:08 am I'm in a very reasonable apartment in a great location in a big city for many years; I'm not moving to save on air conditioning which is a pittance as opposed to market rent rates here. I'll continue to use air conditioner less and fans more. Perhaps an overhead fan might be good, too. I've heard it's good policy to reverse the direction of the fan at different times of the year. A neighbor of mine recently got one -- I'll ask him how he likes it.

I'll also look into asking management if they've ever considered putting solar panels on the roof; I'm not sure if they can still get tax credits on that, but I'd love to be able to phrase it in some way that it benefits them financially so they might take action to do so. Maybe it would reduce overall electricity in the building (halls, laundry room, boiler, whatever runs on the electricity, etc.) for them. Unless of course they want to pass it on to us in rent hikes in perpetuity as a major capital improvement in which case I'd weigh if it's going to be more expensive than the original air conditioner usage.
Is this Central Air, or room air conditioners? If window AC then you might be able to buy your own high efficiency model?

Is electricity a central cost or individually metered for each apartment? (A lot of places, it's just divided by number of units and added to each bill, I believe).

Make yourself aware of what energy efficiency programmes are available via your State, Municipality or Utility. There are often "low hanging fruit" that people don't realise about. For example halogen bulbs in communal spaces (which both burn a lot of juice but also are hot). If there are such programmes, you might suggest them to your landlord?

Payback for landlord is 1). lower tenant utility bills mean less risk of a bad-paying tenant 2). when unit is re-let, it may command a higher rent.

I doubt solar panels will work to your advantage as a tenant.
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