Air conditioners are arguably one of the greatest inventions ever. Life would be so much more difficult without them. Not only do they enable you to cope with the heat of summer, but they can also improve your health.
What about winter? Well, solar-powered air conditioners are designed to provide you with some healthy relief in the colder months. So, if you’re wondering whether solar air conditioning products will deliver on their promise, read on for answers.
First Up: How Do They Work?
A solar-powered air conditioner is split into three parts: The cooling element, the water tank, and the pump. The sun heats the central metal part of the unit and its contents.
Water is then pumped through this central tube so it can absorb all that radiant energy. Once heated, the water flows into your home, where it transfers its newfound solar warmth into your rooms during the colder months.
Is It Energy-Efficient?
When it comes to energy efficiency, solar-powered air conditioners are second to none. This is because they require no electricity whatsoever. Of course, this makes these systems very frugal when it comes to your long-term bills. But how does this work in the real world?
If you have a 1000 square foot home heated by solar power, you would need about 5000 BTU of cooling capacity for every hour of operation during the summer months (a typical window unit provides about 5500 BTUs).
You can use up to 4 tons of AC equipment which needs between 25 and 35 amps on an average household circuit breaker panel. So, if you have a 4-ton system (which is relatively small), you’ll need an 80 amp breaker to run it.
You can see how big of a power drain this would be on your home’s electricity. So, if you think about the money you’re spending to cool your entire house with utilities, it starts to make solar-powered air conditioners more appealing right away.
Will It Be Useful In Summer?
Solar-powered air conditioners don’t just keep you warm in winter; they can keep you cool during the summer months as well. For example, even when the outside temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is 70%.
If you had your windows closed and shades are drawn, your indoor temperature would feel like 95 degrees. Having a window unit air conditioner installed will bring your home’s temperature down to about 80 degrees. But what if you had solar air conditioning? How much cooler would it be inside?
It can bring down the temperature considerably; the reason is that no electricity is being used, so there isn’t any excess heat generated by the AC system itself (which means less cooling capacity required).
So with that same 90-degree outdoor temperature and 70% humidity, your indoor temperature could feel like 77 degrees (saving almost 10 degrees in comfort over traditional AC methods).
A solar-powered air conditioner can keep you cool all summer for around $75 per month (the average cost of energy in California). That’s compared to the $250 you might be spending while using your existing utility. You can find more statistics on solar-powered air conditioning by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Are Solar-Powered AC Systems Effective?
The simple answer is yes! If you live in sunny California, don’t even think about getting that window unit because you definitely won’t need it.
And if you live somewhere else, these units are still much cheaper to run than traditional units (especially with California’s high energy prices). But what are you waiting for?
Get a solar-powered air conditioner today and save money for years to come. You will generate considerable utility bill savings. Additionally, experts assert that while solace AC units are more expensive to repair, they hardly ever need repairs.
How Much Savings Can You Generate with a Solar AC System?
The average electricity bill for a family in California is around $100 per month. If you install a solar-powered air conditioner, that can easily be reduced to as little as $75 (see above). Thus the savings potential with these systems is enormous. However, it is vital to contact a reputed HVAC company for air conditioner maintenance and repairs.
Does It Work in Any Weather?
Yes, absolutely. Solar-powered AC systems work best when half your home is well shaded, and nothing is blocking them from getting direct sunlight (such as trees and hills). On the other hand, if your roof gets less than 5 hours of direct sunlight per day, then don’t expect much out of any AC system – this type or another.
Solar energy is most prevalent during the summer months (which means that your solar-powered air conditioner will work best then). However, even if you live somewhere where it gets cold during winter, these systems still provide savings over traditional units by reducing your heating costs.
What is the Size Required for What You Want to Cool?
You’ll want to get an air conditioner that’s designed for the square footage of your home. In most cases, these units are split into 4-ton capacity (meaning they can cool a home up to 4000 square feet).
However, if you do some research online, then you’ll notice there are 12,000 BTU and 16,000 BTU models available as well. Your local HVAC experts can advise you on the best models to invest in.
Is There Anything Else You Need to Know?
Solar AC units do require some maintenance, just like any regular AC system. For example, they need to be cleaned every year, and the filters must be kept clean, or performance will suffer.
Also, most units don’t come with installation manuals, so you may have to do your research if you’re not very handy around the house.
But at least you don’t need to install an expensive central AC system with lots of ductwork.
Plus, solar-powered AC systems are great for adding to existing homes (or building new ones). So even if homeowners already have an existing AC system, it’s possible to hook up a solar air conditioner as well. Hopefully, now you know a significant bit about these alternative cooling systems.