You can keep a room cool and use less energy when you use a room air conditioner if you do the following:
- Select the warmest thermostat setting that delivers an acceptable level of comfort. A setting of at least 25°C is recommended.
- Don't let heat build up all day and then, in an effort to cool quickly, switch your air conditioner to its maximum setting. It's far more effective to start the unit earlier in the day, letting the room cool gradually. A timer or programmable thermostat enables your air conditioner to cool and dehumidify slowly and efficiently.
- If the space is going to be unoccupied for more than four hours, the thermostat should be turned up to achieve a temperature of about 28°C. If it will be unoccupied for more that 24 hours, it should be shut off.
- Set the fan to operate continuously when you need air movement to maintain comfortable conditions.
- If available, use the "fan-only" mode in the evening and early morning to draw cooler outside air into the house.
- To keep cool air in, close all doors leading to your air-conditioned space as much as possible. Draw curtains and blinds to limit heat gain through windows.
- Shut closet doors to avoid cooling unused space. Close off fireplaces to prevent cool air from escaping up the chimney.
- Turn off lights and appliances when they aren't needed because they generate heat. In areas where lights are left on for long periods, replace incandescent bulbs with cooler-operating compact fluorescents.
- Use natural or fan-assisted ventilation to cool your house whenever outdoor temperatures and humidity levels drop.
- Keep the house closed up tight during hot days and use natural or forced ventilation at night, when the air is cooler. Use the "ventilate" or "outside air" control on the room air conditioner sparingly.
- Do not block the air conditioner vents with drapes, furniture or interior plants and don't expose the unit to direct sunlight. Keep in mind that an ideal location allows for adequate circulation of air around the unit, both indoors and out.
- Cover windows
- Plant trees for shade
- Read the owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for installation, operation, cleaning and maintenance.
- Clean or change air filters regularly for optimal performance. A dirty air filter reduces airflow and operating efficiency and, in some cases, can damage a room air conditioner.
- Inspect the unit from inside and outside your home. From indoors, check vents to ensure airflow isn't blocked and that there is no frost build up on the unit – both can damage the unit. From outdoors, ensure all vents are clean and free of debris, such as leaves. Consult your owner's manual for more detailed instructions.
- Before winter, remove, clean and store your air conditioner. Cover and seal the window opening for the unit to prevent air leaks. If it isn't possible to remove the unit, surround it with insulation from the inside, cover the insulation with polyethylene sheeting and seal it with duct tape.