Something I noticed here in Athens is that many buildings, dorms, and houses do not have central air conditioning. Many residents here make the decision to buy a window air conditioning unit to keep their rooms cool during the summer. I know I certainly did and so did all 4 of my other roommates when we realized that our apartment was not going to have central air conditioning. That was going to be a total of 5 individual window ac units running in the house so like every college student on a budget, I was concerned for our electricity bill and the gross amount of electricity that would be wasted running 5 window ac units. How in the world were we going to save money and electricity running that many ac units? I found a few small ways that help cut down on the amount of electricity wasted while continuing to keep our house cool.
The first thing I did was buy an Energy Star window air conditioning unit that had a digital temp reader such as this one.
The digital temp reader allowed me to keep a close eye on just how cold the room was and helped me make sure that it never got too cold in the room and essentially wasted electricity. The nice thing about these models is that they typically come with a sensor that makes the unit shut off once the room has reached a certain temperature. These models waste far less energy due to the fact that they shut off once they have done their job. The other models continuously run until you come home to find your room feeling similar to the Arctic and turn it off only for it to become boiling hot again which makes most people want to blast the AC unit on full power until it gets too cold again.
If you do not have an ac unit with a sensor, get a plug in timer and keep the unit plugged into it. This is a great option for these type of models. You can set it to turn off when you are not home and to turn back on right before you return so that you never have to deal with the room having to cool back down while you were trying to save electricity when you weren’t home.
That brings me to my second point with these AC units, especially those that don’t have sensors to turn off: Never set them to high in order to cool the room faster. This makes it work even harder to get the room cold and sucks a lot of electricity in the process. Set it to medium or lower, this will allow the room to get cold gradually and not drain electricity. Yes, doing this may mean that your room gets colder maybe 10 minutes slower than if you set it on high, but it’s worth the energy you save.
Keep you AC unit centrally located within the room if you can. This allows for better circulation of air within the room and will allow the room to cool faster meaning you won’t need the AC unit to work as hard wasting more electricity in the process. If possible, keep the window unit in the shade. Window units run more efficiently when kept in cooler shaded areas. Also, seal the ac unit after you have installed it. Buy some type of rope caulk or sealant that can be removed easily and apply it to the areas between the window and ac unit in order to prevent cool air loss. So much cool air can be lost from the room if you do not do this. That will only mean your air conditioning unit will have to compensate for the losses and so will your wallet by all the wasted electricity.
Make sure it is well sealed within the window like this one above.
Lastly, remove the air conditioning unit when the summer season is over. Leaving it out can damage the unit meaning you might have to buy a whole new one next summer or the unit, if it still works, will not work as efficiently.
These are some small ways that you can help reduce energy consumption in your home. Reduced energy consumption means a happier environment for us to live in. Mother nature will thank you for all that you did!