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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Air-conditioning sense and cents

Use air-conditioning economically and sensibly
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - March 21, 2011
By: Adele Ong
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Air-conditioning sense and cents

Air-conditioners can be a real life-saver in hot and humid Singapore. Without good air-conditioning, it would be very hard for most of us to work in offices, shop in stores, or even sleep on the very hottest of nights.

However, it is a fact that air-conditioners use up much more energy than fans and evaporative coolers do, and employ chemical refrigerants to cool the warm air they extract. So to save costs and save the environment, it is best to switch on the air-conditioner at home only when fans alone can no longer relieve the discomfort of unbearably hot temperatures and stuffy air.

Even so, there is no need to set the temperatures too low. That will only leave you chilled, and send your air-con bills soaring. A temperature setting of 25 degrees Celsius is in fact enough for most homes, because air-conditioners not only cool the place but also dehumidify it, leaving you more comfortable – without having to plunge to an 18 degree Celsius setting, for example!

To encourage you to use more economical settings, know that increasing the temperature on the settings by just one degree can save up to 15 per cent of energy used by the air-conditioner.

If you can use your air-conditioning system sparingly and sensibly, then this is a very useful appliance indeed. Unlike a convection fan, an air-conditioner really does lower the temperature of the air in the room it is used in. And unlike evaporative coolers, which spray fine mists into the air and are not always appropriate for indoor use, an air-conditioner extracts moisture and can even filter dust from the air, keeping you more comfortable.

Some people who have dry skin and sensitive respiratory systems, however, may find air-conditioning too drying for them. If they still require an air-conditioned environment to beat the heat, however, they may have to pair the use of the air-con with a humidifier to increase their comfort.

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