Air Conditioners in past used to be quite simple with just on/off switch and high, medium and low cool options. With improvements in technology, modern day air-conditioners have lot more electronics in it and thus they provide multiple modes of operation. Most of these modes are explained in the user manuals that come along with the air conditioners, but it is very important to understand the impact of each mode on electricity savings.
In this article we will try to explain various modes available in various air conditioners and will analyze their electricity saving potential:
Cool mode is the regular or default mode in which the air conditioner runs as per the temperature setting and fans speed at which it is kept. Electricity saving potential in this mode depends on the temperature set in the air conditioner. Ideal temperature for thermal comfort and electricity saving is 25 degree centigrade (more details in our article: Ideal Air Conditioner temperature for electricity savings).
In Fan mode the fan runs continuously and the compressor is off. This obviously has good energy saving impact because the compressor is switched off. Compressor is the most electricity-consuming component of an air conditioner. But the downside is that no cooling happens when compressor is off. It is better to use a ceiling fan in this case.
There are days in a year when the comfort is low just because of the humidity. This happens more so in case you are located in a city that is closer to the sea. It also happens during monsoons. During those days just removing the humidity of the room provides a lot of comfort. Running the air conditioner in dry mode helps as it removes the extra humidity in the air. The fan runs at low speed and compressor is on for short duration in large cycles just to remove extra humidity. This surely is an electricity saving option during high humidity days as even the fan motor is running at a slow speed and even the compressor is on for smaller duration. The air conditioner does not blow a lot of cool air in this mode, as the intent is just to dry the air and not to cool the room.
Please note that it does not work as a dehumidifier (which has potential to make the air very dry) but is just good enough to make the room comfortable.
Energy or Power Saver Mode
In cool mode the compressor shuts off when the temperature reaches the level set in the thermostat but the fan keeps running. The compressor starts again when the room temperature increases. In the energy saver or power saver mode, even the fan switches off when the temperature reaches the level set in the thermostat. So how does it help save electricity?
- Firstly it obviously saves electricity spent in running the fan continuously.
- The use of fan in cool mode is not just to throw cool air in the room but it also helps in taking the indoor air for thermostat to check the temperature. In Power saver mode, the fan gets switched off for a few minutes and the thus the compressor does not start till the fan switches on again to notice that the temperature has increased. This increases the time between compressor cycles thereby making it run less and thus saving electricity.
Does it decrease comfort level? If the room is well insulated, then it may not. The temperature may increase slightly (not a lot) and if that does not disturb you then it is the right mode for you to save electricity. Also because the fan switches off and on, it makes sound every time it does so. If sound disturbs you in your sleep, then this may not be the right mode for you.
Quick Cool Mode
This certainly is not an electricity saving mode. In fact it consumes more electricity. Ideal temperature for air conditioning is 25 degree centigrade, but this option starts the AC at 16 or 18 degree centigrade. If the room temperature is 35 degrees then the time it will take to reach to 25 degrees will be the same in both Cool Mode and Quick Cool Mode (with high fan speed). In fact extra electricity is spent to get it down to 16 or 18 which is not required if you like to keep temperature at 25.
The Sleep mode increases the thermostat temperature by 1 degree after every hour till it increases temperature by 2 degrees. This will help save electricity if you like to sleep at low temperatures as you save electricity with every degree of increase in temperature. If thermal comfort is your only priority it is better to use cool mode or energy saver mode at 25 degrees.
6th Sense mode (for whirlpool ACs)
The whirlpool technology adjusts the fan speed (to high, medium or low) based on the temperature of the room. It surely has a benefit over the Cool Mode as it saves electricity on running the fan motor.
Is it good to have automatic filter cleaning feature in the air conditioner?
It surely is good to have such a feature in the air conditioner. A clean filter ensures smooth flow of cold air and room air, in and out of the air conditioner. This makes sure that the thermostat is able to sense properly and thus ensuring right operation of the air conditioner thereby saving electricity.
Operating Air Conditioner in the right mode can always help you save electricity, so please make sure that you choose the right one. We will keep updating this article as we research more on the modes and options available in air conditioners with different brands.
Here is a short video for tips to reduce power consumption of air conditioner in India
About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. More from this author.