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Room Air Conditioners

Replacing a 10-year-old room air conditioner with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model saves an average of $14 a year on your electric bill. 

Earning the ENERGY STAR means a product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy.

  • ENERGY STAR qualified room air conditioners use at least 10% less energy than conventional models.

Remember, saving energy prevents pollution. By choosing ENERGY STAR, you are helping prevent global warming and promoting cleaner air without sacrificing the product quality and performance you expect.

You may also be interested to know that many people buy an air conditioner that is too large. ENERGY STAR suggests making sure your unit is properly sized.

Properly Sized Room Air Conditioners

Many people buy an air conditioner that is too large, thinking it will provider better cooling. However, an oversized air conditioner is actually less effective – and wastes energy at the same time. Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove some of the humidity. This leaves the room with a damp, clammy feeling. A properly sized unit will remove humidity effectively as it cools.

Finding which size unit is best for your cooling needs

1. Determine the square footage of the area to be cooled using the following formulas:

  • For square and rectangular rooms, multiply the length of the area by its width
  • For a triangular area, multiply the length of the area by the width and divide by 2

Most rooms can be further divided into these basic shapes to determine the square footage.

If the shape of your room is other than square or rectangular, ask your sales associate to help you determine the square footage.

2. Using the square footage and the chart below, determine the correct cooling capacity. Cooling capacity is measured in British thermal units (BTUs) per hour.

Area To Be Cooled (square feet) Capacity Needed (BTUs per hour) 
100 to 1505,000
150 to 2506,000
250 to 3007,000
300 to 3508,000
350 to 4009,000
400 to 45010,000
450 to 55012,000
550 to 70014,000
700 to 1,00018,000
1,000 to 1,20021,000
1,200 to 1,40023,000
1,400 to 1,50024,000
1,500 to 2,00030,000
2,000 to 2,50034,000

3. Make any adjustments for the following circumstances:

  • If the room is heavily shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the room is very sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.
  • If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 BTUs.
  • Consider where you install the unit. If you are mounting an air conditioner near the corner of a room, look for a unit that can send the airflow in the right direction.

Room Air Conditioners Information Resources

Information Source: List of ENERGY STAR labeled room air conditioners. 

Printed information is also available from the toll-free ENERGY STAR Hotline: 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937). 

Scope: Database includes qualified models from most appliance manufacturers. 

Search criteria include: 

  1. Brand 
  2. Model Number
  3. Cooling Capacity (BTU/hour)
  4. Louvered Sides (i.e., Does the product have louvered sides?)
  5. Casement (i.e., Is the product a casement model?)

Resulting list provides the following information that can be sorted:

  1. Brand 
  2. Model Number
  3. Cooling Capacity (BTU/hour)
  4. Louvered Sides (i.e., Does the product have louvered sides?)
  5. Casement (i.e., Is the product a casement model?)
  6. Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
  7. Applicable federal standard (EER)
  8. Percent more efficient than the federal standard

Cooling capacities from 5,000 — 28,000 BTU/hour. 

Original Data Source: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) obtains data from the Federal Trade Commission or from manufacturers. 

Update Frequency: Updated as manufacturers report new information. 

Information Source: California Energy Commission database

How to Access: Downloadable via an on-line bulletin board service by dialing (916) 654-4069. 

A “Read Me” file describes all of the information available and gives instructions for downloading and use of the database files, including file decompression procedures. The fields in each database are described in a separate text file. Three-letter codes for Manufacturer names and Brand names, for all product types together, are listed in alphabetical order in two separate text files containing approximately 1,500 names and codes. 

To make a special request for a printed list, contact:
Appliance Certification Program
California Energy Commission
(916) 654-5106
(916) 654-4304 (fax)
Email: [email protected] 

Scope: On-line listing shows over 300 models that have an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of 9.2 or better (approximately 40 percent models of this type in the database). 

  • 115 and 230 volt models 
  • Cooling capacities from 5,000 – 27,600 Btuh 
  • Includes some models with heat pump and electric resistance heating capability 
  • 230 and 208 volt, single-phase systems 

Downloadable file contains over 800 models that meet minimum federal and California standards (available in DBF, comma-delimited, or ASCII format). 

  • Includes room air conditioners, packaged terminal air conditioners, and packaged terminal heat pumps in one file 
  • 115 and 230 volt models 
  • Cooling capacities from 4,400 – 34,000 Btuh 
  • Includes some models with heat pump and electric resistance heating capability 
  • 230 and 208 volt, single-phase systems 

Scope: List includes 81 models from among 18 brands that have Energy Efficiency Ratios (EER) ranging from 10.0 to 11.8 (5 models w/cooling capacities > 18,000 Btuh have EERs = 9.5). 

Cooling capacities from 5,000 — 28,000 BTU/hour. 

Models are grouped by size (cooling capacity), and listed in order of descending EER. 

Original Data Source: Derived from Directory of Certified Room Air Conditioners, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, Chicago, IL, October 1997 

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