is needed. Air conditioners are rated according to
energy output, measured
in BTUs. Simply put, the
larger the room, the more
energy output required.
One more important
point: Modern equipment is more energy efficient than older models.
New Energy Star–rated
models use 10 percent less
energy than conventional
models. These new-gener-ation air conditioners
often have timers to turn
down the power when it’s
Hot tips for not needed.
Smart usage tips
Once you have the
keeping cool right air conditioner in
place, AHAM suggests
following these tips to
• Turn off the unit and open doors and
windows during cooler periods.
• Use the unit fan and portable fans to draw
in cooler outside air and increase circulation.
• Use a dehumidifier in the basement to
prevent excess moisture seepage through
• Use a higher (warmer) thermostat setting during peak periods or when the area is
unoccupied. A 75- to 80-degree setting will
cut power consumption by 15 percent.
• Don’t let heat build up all day and then
try to cool areas quickly. Start units earlier in
the day and cool areas slowly before they are
• Avoid activities that generate high heat
and humidity (such as cooking, bathing and
laundering) during high-heat hours.
• Draw shades or window blinds to reduce
solar and outdoor heat. Reflecting and dou-ble-pane glass, awnings, overhangs, louvered
sunscreens, plantings, fences or an adjoining
building also help—but don’t block the back
of the air-conditioning unit.
• Regularly change or clean filters and
check airflow for blockage or frost on the
• Have the air conditioner checked and
cleaned at the start of the season. During the
off-season, make certain it is cleaned and properly covered and disconnected.—Tim Talevich
KEEPING COOL in your home or business
in the summer months can roast your energy
bill. But taking energy-smart steps can help
keep air-conditioning costs as low as possible.
The two keys are buying the proper air
conditioner and running it properly. Here’s
Buying the right air conditioner
It’s easy to understand how an undersized
air conditioner won’t properly cool a room.
Units that are too small simply aren’t strong
enough to cover a large room. However, an
equally common mistake is having an air
conditioner that is too large.
Air conditioners remove both heat and
humidity from the air, explains Energy Star, a
federal government organization that promotes energy-efficient products and practices. “If the unit is too large, it will cool the
room quickly, but only remove some of the
humidity. This leaves the room with a damp,
clammy feeling. A properly sized unit will
remove humidity effectively as it cools.”
Determining the right size of an air conditioner involves calculating room size and
other factors. Energy Star offers a basic chart
to calculate these figures on its Web site at
properly_sized. But a more detailed calculator
is offered by the Association of Home
Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) at its site,
www.cooloff.org. This program asks for information on which region you live in, whether
the room has windows (and which direction
they face), what’s above the room and so on.
Either way, once you establish room size,
you can determine what size air conditioner
• EnergyStar certified for high energy efficiency
• Electronic controls (including remote control)
• High power cooling and low noise operation
• Washable air purifying filter (anti-bacteria filter)
• Effective dehumidifying operation
• Indoor temperature sensing thermostat
• Energy saving switch
• 24-hour On/Off timer
• Window kit for easy installation
The Costco Connection
Costco offers a variety of air conditioners
from leading manufacturers in the warehouses and at costco.com.