Your Air Conditioner May Be Lying To You

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Japan’s Consumer Agency has published information relating to 11 separate air conditioner manufacturing companies, regarding inappropriate energy usage rate displays. The eleven companies (which remain unnamed as of yet) conducted A/C capacity tests and calculated energy use to display to the consumer, who is generally unaware of how much air flows through the unit or how much energy is used.

These eleven companies conducted research regarding the energy consumption of the A/C units they themselves produced between Heisei Years 19 and 20 (2007 and 2008). Specifically, the tests revolved around preset temperature — if the user-input temperature was not reached after a certain amount of time, the A/C unit is programmed to increase air flow (a setting called “Wind MV”).  The companies measured how much power was used while the higher setting was enabled. The results of the tests were published in the product catalogues for Heisei Years 19 and 20.

However, if the A/C cooling capacity is constant (that is, it maintains a set temperature over time rather than lowering the temperature repeatedly over that same time), less power is used with a higher air flow rate. The energy conservation tests were performed at a constant indoor air temperature in accordance with JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards), but these test parameters reduce the actual power consumption of the units. The actual energy conservation amount index for year-round energy efficiency (APF) was shown to be rather higher. (Translator’s note – in other words, keep the A/C on, guys.  Turning it on and off wastes power!)

For example, the A/C is set at a capacity of 2.2kW. When using its cooling function (translator’s note – Japanese window units double as both heating and cooling units), the power consumption should be approximately 430W at the standard air flow setting. Without engaging air flow management (kicking into the higher setting), the power consumption should remain at 430W. The year-round energy efficiency (APF) found that if air-flow management was engaged, that number went to 6.0.  In contrast, even if not engaged, the number could be as high as 5.9.

The Consumer Agency is attempting publication of its information regarding the frequency of air flow management engagement and power use of the relevant products, including model numbers, on its homepage.  All companies contacted have indicated only that they will respond to the allegations.

The Consumer Agency attempts to provide adequate information for the consumers through surveys and other research, and publishes information regarding inappropriate situations.

Translated from Kankyo  Business

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