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

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telemark
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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 telemark »

iamlucky13 wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 3:42 pm
CrossOverGuy wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:05 amIt is expensive to run my air conditioner in relation to my regular electric bill, pushing it over in the realm of more than $100/mo difference or so, which to me is expensive.
CrossOverGuy wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:56 am
Is this Central Air, or room air conditioners? If window AC then you might be able to buy your own high efficiency model?
This is a room air conditioner through a slot in the wall (I think originally called a Fedder's slot) in the living room. I guess my air conditioner might probably last another summer or two, but will certainly look for the best energy number for what's available what will fit the dimensions of that wall slot. I've only ever used fans in the bedroom even though there's a wall slot there for a smaller air conditioner for a smaller room.
$100 per month is a lot for a window air conditioner. Is this a big 240V model, or does it plug into a standard 120V outlet? Do you have blinds to reduce solar heating through windows?
Just to clarify, since a number of people have said similar things: a wall mounted air conditioner is not the same as a window air conditioner. They are similar, but when you shop they are different product lines and you can't substitute one for the other. Which is why I was observing, earlier, that there don't seem to be any inverter models that the OP can use.

And if anyone could point to a window-or-wall mounted air conditioner that gets 14 SEER or higher I would be deeply interested. Typical numbers seem to run 9 to 11, although there are some smaller models claiming 12 or higher.
Changing focus: my own strategy is to emphasize using the outside air any time it is cooler than the inside air, to minimize AC use. I'm in a mild climate, so this may not be practical for you, but I open my windows in evenings and mornings, or even all night long (only 2nd story overnight), and if necessary put fans in the windows get the benefit of the cooler air. This obviously does not work if the outside temperature does not drop to a comfortable level overnight. It also doesn't work very well if it is muggy outside.
This is what I normally do, but last year there was enough wildfire smoke that I didn't want to open the windows for weeks at a time.
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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 jharkin »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:05 am
In your first post you said the air conditioning was very expensive. Now you say it’s just a pittance.

So what is it, expensive or not????
It is expensive to run my air conditioner in relation to my regular electric bill, pushing it over in the realm of more than $100/mo difference or so, which to me is expensive. However, in relation to moving, which someone else suggested, which comparable apartments to mine would be more than $1,000-1,500 more a month than I am currently paying, that to me is really expensive. In comparison to moving, the a/c would be relatively inexpensive. I'd rather just keep my a/c bills down and stay where I am.

I've no thermostat in my apartment -- the landlord through the super controls the temperature when they give heat in season.
$100/ month for probably 2-4 months in summer... or about $300 a year. vs. you are probably paying 20-30,000 a year in rent right?

I don't see what the problem is.


Thats really not a lot of energy. I am sure if you was how much energy your building is using for heat (which your landlord hides as part of the rent) your jaw would drop.
JD2775
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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 JD2775 »

Do some of you really keep it in the 80's inside your house in the summer? My SO and I keep it at 78 and that's about the threshold for losing my cool. No pun intended:)
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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 dknightd »

If you could get your neighbors to turn the temperature down in their units it might help
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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 eye.surgeon »

a whole house fan will significantly decrease your AC needs depending on your region.
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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 neilpilot »

eye.surgeon wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:45 pm a whole house fan will significantly decrease your AC needs depending on your region.
I've installed a whole house fan in a couple of homes. They would exhaust into the attic.

How would you install a whole house fan in the OP's apartment?
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eye.surgeon
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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 eye.surgeon »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:20 pm
eye.surgeon wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:45 pm a whole house fan will significantly decrease your AC needs depending on your region.
I've installed a whole house fan in a couple of homes. They would exhaust into the attic.

How would you install a whole house fan in the OP's apartment?
I wouldn't. Houses only. It was general advice for readers of the thread rather than the OP specifically.
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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 »

alfaspider wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 12:23 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 12:14 pm
firebirdparts wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:41 am
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.
This is the reality of it. If somebody does tell you that something somewhere is "dramatically more efficient" then you know you're dealing with somebody who didn't take thermodynamics, and also has done a better job on insulation in some part of the system, or somebody who is sending the heat into a colder source of cold (like groundwater).
Yes, although the improvement in SEERs over the past 40 years or so has been really impressive. Say from 7-8 to 16. That's a big difference.

Agree that adding insulation & air leak-proofing is the first step of anyone trying to get a hold on heating/ cooling costs.

(A 1988 fridge used c 2000 kwhr pa; a modern one (which may be bigger) uses c 550 kwhr pa (mine uses 300 kwhr pa but that's a smaller European Bosch). Never ceases to amaze me).
A lot of those improvements were at the beginning of the period though. My 1999 a/c unit (still kicking!) is rated at 14 seer. Ran the numbers and concluded that the efficiency benefit from replacing it wouldn't be all that substantial. Better windows/insulation more likely to help.
In the late 80s I still had the window unit that my parents had bought in the summer of 1960! It was really noisy... and I used to find that lulled me to sleep (having perhaps had it as a baby). I doubt it was very efficient (but electricity was cheap).

When my father retired they installed a high velocity miniduct system (1920s house with hot water rads) which works well to this day. Summer heat waves were longer and hotter, it seems. That's how I wound up with the window AC. I hope it was disposed of in a way which collected the Freon (CF12?) but I doubt it, somehow.

Thanks for point re room AC SEER. Agree that if you are at 14 the improvements from a higher SEER will be marginal.
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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 Elsebet »

kevinf wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:35 pm
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.
Consider putting thermal film on the windows, which are generally the least effective part of the thermal envelope of modern construction. The film is inexpensive and easily removable when you leave the apartment and it makes a big difference for windows that get direct or reflected sun.

It's available at Home Improvement stores and online retailers.
Do you have a brand of thermal film you recommend? I'd like to try this.

We keep the AC at 80. On hot days, which I consider that to be when the upstairs is 80+ already the early AM, in the morning I close all the windows and close our blackout curtains (on every window) to keep out sunlight. Our windows are almost all east-west facing. If it is cool enough when we go to bed, I open all of the windows again to let the cooler night air in, then rinse and repeat in the morning. Every bedroom in the upstairs has a ceiling fan, my office (a bonus room over the garage) has 2.
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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 »

I recently got a portable air conditioner. Toshiba RAC-PT1411HWRU, refurbished for $300. I originally got it just for emergencies in case my central AC broke down, but I've been so impressed with it that I might use it for spot cooling rooms. It has a dual hose design so that it draws in outside air to run over the condenser and exhausts the hot air outside. Single hose portable ACs blow room air over the condenser and exhausts it outside which is not only wasteful but it also creates negative pressure causing hot outside air to seep back into your house. The Toshiba unit also has inverter technology so it can vary the compressor and fan speeds according to the demand. When I have it on low speed it's fairly quiet and only draws 290 W yet it's still putting out 53F air! The official specs are 12,000 BTU (SACC), 12.3 CEER, max 1400 W.
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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 kevinf »

Elsebet wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:00 pm
kevinf wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:35 pm
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.
Consider putting thermal film on the windows, which are generally the least effective part of the thermal envelope of modern construction. The film is inexpensive and easily removable when you leave the apartment and it makes a big difference for windows that get direct or reflected sun.

It's available at Home Improvement stores and online retailers.
Do you have a brand of thermal film you recommend? I'd like to try this.

We keep the AC at 80. On hot days, which I consider that to be when the upstairs is 80+ already the early AM, in the morning I close all the windows and close our blackout curtains (on every window) to keep out sunlight. Our windows are almost all east-west facing. If it is cool enough when we go to bed, I open all of the windows again to let the cooler night air in, then rinse and repeat in the morning. Every bedroom in the upstairs has a ceiling fan, my office (a bonus room over the garage) has 2.
I've never been disappointed by 3M films.
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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 »

Elsebet wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:00 pm
kevinf wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:35 pm
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.
Consider putting thermal film on the windows, which are generally the least effective part of the thermal envelope of modern construction. The film is inexpensive and easily removable when you leave the apartment and it makes a big difference for windows that get direct or reflected sun.

It's available at Home Improvement stores and online retailers.
Do you have a brand of thermal film you recommend? I'd like to try this.

We keep the AC at 80. On hot days, which I consider that to be when the upstairs is 80+ already the early AM, in the morning I close all the windows and close our blackout curtains (on every window) to keep out sunlight. Our windows are almost all east-west facing. If it is cool enough when we go to bed, I open all of the windows again to let the cooler night air in, then rinse and repeat in the morning. Every bedroom in the upstairs has a ceiling fan, my office (a bonus room over the garage) has 2.
One thing about sunlight.

If it gets through the glass, it is in your house. So:

- if curtains or blinds have a light color, some light will be reflected back out (a good thing)

- blackout curtains will help but only to an extent, because the energy in the light will get converted into heat energy radiating from the (internal) curtain or blind

This really argues for external shutters or a film on the outside of the window. You probably only need to do that for the most southern exposed windows (or ones on east or west side which get a lot of sun).

My parents installed an awning (similar climate to yours), however it wasn't easily retractable in winter (for them, in retirement) and it's made the western side of the house (the back of the house faces west) very dark. But it did make a big difference to the usability of rooms on that side of the house.
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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 Bengineer »

Valuethinker wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:19 am ...
One thing about sunlight.

If it gets through the glass, it is in your house. So:

- if curtains or blinds have a light color, some light will be reflected back out (a good thing)
...
One issue for reflective internal curtains/blinds/films for dual pane windows is that the window absorbs some of the reflected heat on the way back out, raising the temperature of the glass unit, which is trouble for the longevity of the seals.

One additional external option is solar screening. I've used replacement screens on west facing windows and roll-up screens over sliders to good effect. They give privacy in the daytime with a view similar to sheers and good heat rejection.
homebuyer6426
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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 homebuyer6426 »

Alternatives to AC:

Fan
Split-level hillside house with the one level mostly below ground never gets hot in summer
Large numbers of iced drinks throughout the day
Leaving two windows at either side of the house open during the night, closing them when the sun comes up. Open them again in late afternoon once indoor temperature exceeds outdoor (can combine this with 2 fans for a more powerful draft effect)
Colder flooring such as tile or concrete
Walls with higher thermal mass (like concrete), you can also increase a home's thermal mass by storing water barrels inside, which doubles as an emergency water source
Deciduous trees that shade the house from the sun only in the warm season
Cooler bedding options
Cooler clothing options
Cooler hairstyle options
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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 LittleMaggieMae »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:56 am
This is a room air conditioner through a slot in the wall (I think originally called a Fedder's slot) in the living room. I guess my air conditioner might probably last another summer or two, but will certainly look for the best energy number for what's available what will fit the dimensions of that wall slot. I've only ever used fans in the bedroom even though there's a wall slot there for a smaller air conditioner for a smaller room.

Electricity is metered for each apartment, so I believe I'm only paying for what I use.

I think I'm going to look into a ceiling fan as well for the living room.

Thanks for all the responses, by the way. Lots of different circumstances out there, and as everything progresses in terms of inventions, I thought that I had read somewhere that someone had invented, but not really successfully marketed, air conditioners that don't use as much electricity. Is is possible that electric companies might be trying to impede its adoption since less energy would be needed to be provided by them?
If your apartment building is brick you may need to use one set of "old time tricks" to keep your rooms cool. If it's some other type of construction - I'm not sure what will work and what wont.

If you are on the top floor of a brick older building there might not be much you can do once the "heat" settles into the building. :(
If your heat is accompanied by high humidity - you may not have many options.

Since you are in an apartment - you may need to use some "old time tricks" to help keep your place cool.

If the heat is just heat without much humidity - it may help if you cover your windows (especially on the southern and western exposures) with more than shades or curtains. I grew up without AC and only had a "one room" AC unit when I was in my 30's - and didn't have whole house AC until I bought a house (let me tell you I LIKED going to my full time job - there was AC there.) Adding another layer over windows to block the sunlight and heat - helps (putting a bed sheet over the curtain rod, or taping tissue paper to the windows (covering them) can help.

If there's humidity in the air - you need something to pull the moisture out of the air - so an AC unit (and then use fans to move the dry air around). A dehumidifier versus AC unit may also help - if it has a small tank you may need to empty it often. Add a fan to circulate the drier air and it will feel more comfortable.

If the air temps drop dramatically at night (and there's not much humidity) - you can open windows at night to get cool dry air into your rooms (use fans to pull in the air or exhaust the air out a window) If there is any hint of humidity do NOT open your windows - you do not want to add humidity into your already warm rooms.

AC's cool by pulling moisture out of the air. 78 degrees with low humidity feels WAY COOLER than 78 degrees and high humidity. A fan will NOT make the 78 degrees with high humidity feel much better.

If you live in a brick building - once the bricks heat up and no longer cool off at night - it gets harder to keep the interior cool. You really do need to block as much of the "solar heat" coming in thru the windows as possible - that's the only thing you can control/effect.

And sometimes you just gotta do the best you can and live with the heat (if you have your AC on and all the other tricks to keep cool going but it's not enough to make it comfortable - so your living space has temps in the 80's )

In the future if you have the same kind of living conditions - it sometimes pays to start early on keeping your interior spaces cool - so start covering windows, getting your fans set up, opening windows at night (if not much humidity) to help cool off the interior, etc. You don't want to start thinking about keeping your place passively cool once you feel hot. Once you feel hot - AC is usually your only hope and you want to prolong not needing AC as long as possible. (even a couple two three days without AC means you will have a lower bill).
You will also want to watch the weather/temps - so that you can turn off your AC when the outside temps are cooler and open up your windows. Otherwise your AC will be cooling off the heat in your space when you could be using outside air to do it. (and paying a higher bill).
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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 money2churn »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:56 am storing water barrels inside, which doubles as an emergency water source
Had to laugh at this, I actually store part of my emergency water supply (8x 3gal jugs) under my bed. Can't say I notice that it lowered temps in my bedroom though.
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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 illumination »

strummer6969 wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 8:56 am Isn't it amazing that room air conditioning was invented less than 100 years ago and until the 1960s was uncommon? I don't know how people managed back then.
So much of this in my opinion is people being overly sensitive to temperature. I have this battle with my wife constantly, she insists the house is too hot in the summer (upper 70's set on the thermostat) while she wraps herself in a thick blanket to watch TV. I could get by with probably half the energy we use and be comfortable, but I have to please a "committee" and I'm usually out voted.

I took a long trip to Belize years ago and air conditioner was not in many places. After a few days, I just got used to it and couldn't believe how freezing cold the airport was when I left. Felt like a meat locker. But it was just a normal indoor temp that we are used to.

I do think good ceiling fans are probably the closest thing to a free lunch when it comes to keeping a place comfortable and using less energy.
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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 kd2008 »

After much compromise we settled on 73F. DH would like it lower. I would like it higher. There are ceiling fans in nearly every room. DH is antique table fans collector. There are these fans if he wants them. But he usually is happy with the ceiling fan on lowest setting. I said, can we try 74F? I get the stare. Sometimes it is not even about the temperature. :D

Our average pay monthly electric bill was $80. Then natural gas prices when through the roof and 30-yr surcharge for the deep freeze we got two winters ago. It is now at $120 per month.

I feel life is too short to obsess over this. Would I take a lower bill? Yes. Is it high enough for us to change our behavior? No.
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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 homebuyer6426 »

money2churn wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 4:15 pm
homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:56 am storing water barrels inside, which doubles as an emergency water source
Had to laugh at this, I actually store part of my emergency water supply (8x 3gal jugs) under my bed. Can't say I notice that it lowered temps in my bedroom though.
You would need a lot of water to notice a difference, and it isn't so much that it lowers temps, as it moderates them closer to the average daily and nightly temperature. Less amplitude in the temperature graph. I was able to notice a few degrees difference in my 5x7x7 ft greenhouse when I stored 60 gallons inside. If you want warming at night, you paint them black and put them in direct sunlight on the floor... for cooling in the day they should be in the shade and high up if possible, as cold air sinks.
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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 OpenMinded1 »

kevinf wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:35 pm
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.
Consider putting thermal film on the windows, which are generally the least effective part of the thermal envelope of modern construction. The film is inexpensive and easily removable when you leave the apartment and it makes a big difference for windows that get direct or reflected sun.

It's available at Home Improvement stores and online retailers.
Interesting idea, but might this cause a person's heating bill to rise. With the film on, the sun wouldn't help heat the dwelling as much during cooler periods. I guess it depends on the climate. Maybe it would reduce the overall climate control bill in some climates, but not in others. Also, how difficult is it to install? The 3M thermal film website makes it sound like most people hire professional installers to do it. Seems like it might be relatively expensive if you have to hire someone to install 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 AlphaLess »

I believe there are multiple such projects being worked on.
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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 arf30 »

Was talking to the HVAC guy while he was at the house fixing an issue, and he told me the new furnace + AC sytems can run at any partial load (like 15% load) compared to traditional systems which are either at 100% load or off. They also have integrated dehumidifer control, which allows your house to be warmer but feel cooler. Combined with modern insulation it results in a much lower energy bill.
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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 »

illumination wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 4:42 pm
strummer6969 wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 8:56 am Isn't it amazing that room air conditioning was invented less than 100 years ago and until the 1960s was uncommon? I don't know how people managed back then.
So much of this in my opinion is people being overly sensitive to temperature. I have this battle with my wife constantly, she insists the house is too hot in the summer (upper 70's set on the thermostat) while she wraps herself in a thick blanket to watch TV. I could get by with probably half the energy we use and be comfortable, but I have to please a "committee" and I'm usually out voted.

I took a long trip to Belize years ago and air conditioner was not in many places. After a few days, I just got used to it and couldn't believe how freezing cold the airport was when I left. Felt like a meat locker. But it was just a normal indoor temp that we are used to.

I do think good ceiling fans are probably the closest thing to a free lunch when it comes to keeping a place comfortable and using less energy.
I feel your pain. A battle I lost a long time ago; I learned to shut my mouth and choose winnable battles.
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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 talzara »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:07 am Interesting idea, but might this cause a person's heating bill to rise. With the film on, the sun wouldn't help heat the dwelling as much during cooler periods. I guess it depends on the climate. Maybe it would reduce the overall climate control bill in some climates, but not in others.
Low-E thermal film also works in reverse to keep the heat in the house during the winter. The interior of your house is also radiating heat through the windows, but it's radiating 24 hours a day.

It is more effective when it is on the side that needs to reject heat. In a cooling-dominated climate, you should put the film on the outside of the window (surface 1 of a double-paned window). In a heating-dominated climate, you should put the film on the inside of the window (surface 4). Do not put film on both sides, as it could damage the window by trapping heat between the panes.

However, it still works in both directions even when it is on the wrong side. The wavelengths still get absorbed. It's less effective because the heat has to conduct through two panes of glass and the space between.

Low-E windows are manufactured with the coating between the panes. It should be on surface 2 in a cooling-dominated climate and surface 3 in a heating-dominated climate. A lot of windows are probably installed with the wrong surface coated, and it still works, just less effectively.
OpenMinded1 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:07 am Also, how difficult is it to install? The 3M thermal film website makes it sound like most people hire professional installers to do it. Seems like it might be relatively expensive if you have to hire someone to install it.
It's easier than installing window film on a car. The glass in the car is curved, but the glass in your house is flat.

3M sells through dealers, but many other manufacturers sell direct-to-consumer.
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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 oldfatguy »

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.
Planting a bunch of trees 35 years ago on the south side of your house also helps.
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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 RetiredAL »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:30 am
money2churn wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 4:15 pm
homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:56 am storing water barrels inside, which doubles as an emergency water source
Had to laugh at this, I actually store part of my emergency water supply (8x 3gal jugs) under my bed. Can't say I notice that it lowered temps in my bedroom though.
You would need a lot of water to notice a difference, and it isn't so much that it lowers temps, as it moderates them closer to the average daily and nightly temperature. Less amplitude in the temperature graph. I was able to notice a few degrees difference in my 5x7x7 ft greenhouse when I stored 60 gallons inside. If you want warming at night, you paint them black and put them in direct sunlight on the floor... for cooling in the day they should be in the shade and high up if possible, as cold air sinks.
Yep! Water = 8.3 lbs / gal. Thus 8 * 3 * 8.3 = 200 lbs. At a 10 degrees storage temp rise, that's 2000 btu, but that same heat will be released into the room at night when the room is cooler, either to cooler outside air (possible) or into the AC (more likely). If into the AC, it will be a near net sum zero.

In the greenhouse, the water is used as a temp moderating factor across 24 hrs with somewhat lower highs and somewhat warmer lows, but it's not a system cooler nor heater.
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kevinf
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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 kevinf »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:07 am
kevinf wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:35 pm
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.
Consider putting thermal film on the windows, which are generally the least effective part of the thermal envelope of modern construction. The film is inexpensive and easily removable when you leave the apartment and it makes a big difference for windows that get direct or reflected sun.

It's available at Home Improvement stores and online retailers.
Interesting idea, but might this cause a person's heating bill to rise. With the film on, the sun wouldn't help heat the dwelling as much during cooler periods. I guess it depends on the climate. Maybe it would reduce the overall climate control bill in some climates, but not in others. Also, how difficult is it to install? The 3M thermal film website makes it sound like most people hire professional installers to do it. Seems like it might be relatively expensive if you have to hire someone to install it.
You can get some other brands from Home Depot/Lowes/et al, it goes on with a spray bottle and a squeegee, and peels off with a plastic scraper and a few sprays of water. If you're REALLY concerned about min-maxing your energy costs I suppose you could just take them on and off each heating and cooling season. However, keep in mind that thermal films also helps to keep heat INSIDE as well as outside so you aren't radiating as much heat energy out of your home at night with the film in place.

edit: Talzara ninja'd me on the response :sharebeer
RetiredAL
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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 RetiredAL »

kevinf wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 3:27 pm
OpenMinded1 wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:07 am
kevinf wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:35 pm
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.
Consider putting thermal film on the windows, which are generally the least effective part of the thermal envelope of modern construction. The film is inexpensive and easily removable when you leave the apartment and it makes a big difference for windows that get direct or reflected sun.

It's available at Home Improvement stores and online retailers.
Interesting idea, but might this cause a person's heating bill to rise. With the film on, the sun wouldn't help heat the dwelling as much during cooler periods. I guess it depends on the climate. Maybe it would reduce the overall climate control bill in some climates, but not in others. Also, how difficult is it to install? The 3M thermal film website makes it sound like most people hire professional installers to do it. Seems like it might be relatively expensive if you have to hire someone to install it.
You can get some other brands from Home Depot/Lowes/et al, it goes on with a spray bottle and a squeegee, and peels off with a plastic scraper and a few sprays of water. If you're REALLY concerned about min-maxing your energy costs I suppose you could just take them on and off each heating and cooling season. However, keep in mind that thermal films also helps to keep heat INSIDE as well as outside so you aren't radiating as much heat energy out of your home at night with the film in place.

edit: Talzara ninja'd me on the response :sharebeer
Outside shades lowered in the summer to keep solar energy off the windows, then raised in winter to allow the solar energy in. For south windows, awnings sized for your sun angles you want to block in summer, admit are other times are a possibility. For west windows, seasonal shades will be far better.

Films reflect IR which helps keep inside heat inside, which will be a comfort factor at night or during really low temps.
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kevinf
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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 kevinf »

RetiredAL wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:26 pm Outside shades lowered in the summer to keep solar energy off the windows, then raised in winter to allow the solar energy in. For south windows, awnings sized for your sun angles you want to block in summer, admit are other times are a possibility. For west windows, seasonal shades will be far better.

Films reflect IR which helps keep inside heat inside, which will be a comfort factor at night or during really low temps.
Not everyone wants to block direct sunlight outright. Films allow you to pass visible light while largely rejecting heat (many are rated for 70%+ heat rejection).

https://www.lowes.com/pd/GILA-Heat-Cont ... lm/3416000
Broken Man 1999
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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 Broken Man 1999 »

We have 3M Ulta High Performance Safety and Security Film installed on all the windows of our sun room. There is a medium tint, but not very dark.

We have never gotten around to putting blinds on the windows, as it is comfortable to use the room with just the film. No bright sunshine, but plenty of light. We have six french doors opening to the sunroom, and there is no a/c ductwork. We just open the doors and the window from the laundry room to provide a/c to cool things down if we need to do so. We have two ceiling fans running pretty much continuously.

We have real wicker furniture and our cushions have never faded, though we did get them reupholstered when we changed the color scheme. DW seems to get the redecorating bug periodically. :annoyed

All our other windows have been replaced by energy efficient storm/wind ratings windows, but the size and number of windows in the sun room would have been an expense I was unwilling to take via window replacement.

So far the film has held up over the years, no bubbles, cracks, peeling, or any other issues. The film was installed by an authorized 3M dealer, and has a lifetime warranty. The film was installed on July 21, 2003 for total cost of $2838.00.

DIY might be OK for small film jobs, but installing on very large windows might be a real task.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
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 »

kevinf wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:45 pm
RetiredAL wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:26 pm Outside shades lowered in the summer to keep solar energy off the windows, then raised in winter to allow the solar energy in. For south windows, awnings sized for your sun angles you want to block in summer, admit are other times are a possibility. For west windows, seasonal shades will be far better.

Films reflect IR which helps keep inside heat inside, which will be a comfort factor at night or during really low temps.
Not everyone wants to block direct sunlight outright. Films allow you to pass visible light while largely rejecting heat (many are rated for 70%+ heat rejection).

https://www.lowes.com/pd/GILA-Heat-Cont ... lm/3416000
However they will also keep heat *in*? This is nice in winter, but if one has an overheating problem (I would guess 75% North American households do have an overheating problem in summer in south facing rooms) that may not be optimal?
Saving$
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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 Saving$ »

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.
Which part of the country are you in? It matters.
You indicate you are in an "apartment." Do you own the apartment?

Order of addressing issues:
1. Air seal your apartment like crazy. Open every outlet, air seal every cabinet penetration, air seal every pipe and HVAC/mechanical penetration, etc.
2. If you are in a hot humid climate and your apartment is large, consider a high efficiency dehumidifier. These are not the ones you buy at the big box. They are typically ducted. Bringing down the humidity will do wonders to increase comfort.
3. Consider replacing your standard split system with a mini-split. Ducted mini in an apartment can work great, or if small apartment, a unducted wall head mini. The mini split heats and cools. It works similar to a heat pump, but has an inverter, so it ramps up and down incrementally instead of just at 1, 2 or 3 speeds.
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