By law, all air conditioners in South Africa must have energy efficiency labels. These provide air conditioner efficiency ratings.
It’s a good idea to check and make sense of these ratings when you’re choosing an air conditioner. The more efficient an air conditioner, the less you’ll pay to run it – and the more environmentally friendly it will be.
Understanding an air conditioner’s energy efficiency class
In South Africa, an air conditioner is assigned an energy efficiency class, ranging from A++ (being the most efficient) to E (the least efficient).
Although there are seven classes – A++, A+, A, B, C, D and E – only those that achieve a rating of B or better may be sold.
A particular model’s class is indicated by a black arrow alongside the relevant colour band on the label, below the model’s name.
Comparing air conditioner efficiency ratings, however, isn’t helpful on its own. There are several other factors to take into consideration when deciding on the most energy efficient model.
How to determine an air conditioner’s efficiency
Another element on the South African label is the energy efficiency ratio (EER).
This is a ratio that shows the amount of cooling output, in kilowatts, that’s produced per unit of energy that the air conditioner consumes. (The cooling output is also specified on the label).
In other words, the EER tells you how well an air con cools per unit of electricity it uses.
A higher EER is good. It means an air conditioner uses less energy and will cost less to run.
Additional energy efficiency label information
Once you’ve checked the air conditioner efficiency ratings and EER, you should have a fairly good idea of a unit’s efficiency at cooling.
Additional information on the label is useful for comparing air conditioners’ performance in terms of heating and noise.
Air conditioner heating performance
Do you plan to use an air conditioner for heating as well as cooling? Heating performance gets its own A to G class rating. Keep an eye out – this probably won’t be the same as the appliance’s energy efficiency class.
Air conditioner noise level
This is an optional, nice-to-know extra that indicates how noisy an air conditioner is likely to be.
What’s the most efficient type of air conditioner?
Newer inverter models are the most energy efficient air conditioners on the market. On average, inverter systems use between 30 and 50 percent less energy than non-inverter air conditioners.
An inverter air conditioner’s compressor starts at full throttle to cool a room quickly. Once the room has reached the desired temperature, the compressor continually makes small adjustments, maintaining a constant temperature.
This is in contrast to non-inverter models, which run at full power to cool a room, switch off and then switch on again at full power once the ambient temperature has changed. Inverter models do tend to be pricier, however.
Whichever type of system you’re considering, it’s worth checking its air conditioner energy efficiency rating. At RF Refrigeration & Airconditioning , we offer a wide range of both inverter and non-inverter air conditioners, at affordable prices. We also offer a professional installation and maintenance service.