Space Cooling Tips: 5 ways to keep cool on the budget this summer

Space Cooling Tips: 5 ways to keep cool on the budget this summer

Officially declared or not, summer is just around since it’s definitely getting warmer already.  Next, school’s over and the kids will be around the house all-day and probably be up all-night extending household appliances and devices to the max.  And since the big chunk of electricity use is on space cooling appliances like aircons and electric fans (combined, they give more or less around 50% contribution to your electric bill), we’ll start off with these 2 appliances.

But first things first, there’s an impression that you have to spend in order to be energy efficient, like buying a new inverter aircon to replace the existing 5-year old unit. Right or wrong? Buzz, buzz… Wrong.  There are ways we can still be energy efficient at zero cost. How? By simply embracing ‘best practices.’

Here are some efficiency tips on the use of these top 2 popular (or unpopular, because of the dent it gives to the budget) appliances this time of the year.  We’ll start off with the best practices.

Settings Matter

(Cost impact to implement: Zero; Impact to electric bill: Significant)

Set aircons to ‘Mid’ and electric fans to ‘Mid’ or “Low.

Simple, fast, no cost, and definitely effective.  Just set your aircon’s thermostat to ‘Mid” (for manual aircons) or 25°C (for digital, remote-controlled units).


Here’s why.  Based on Power Lab tests, you save 5% – 7% for every one-degree adjustment in your thermostat setting.

Based on Meralco Power Lab Tests on a 1.0hp window-type aircon

At 8 hours per day use, savings realized by adjusting from setting 10 (high) to setting 5 (mid) or a 5-degree adjustment, is P22 per day, and this is P670 per month!  Just for 8 hours.  Imagine how much you can save for longer hours, without sacrificing comfort.

Ok, you may say that 25°C is still too hot.  Well, the idea here is to set it at the right cool and comfortable temperature level for you.  Say 23°C or 24°C, but definitely not 18°C or 19°C. It’s hilarious how some people set their aircons at the coolest and end up all wrapped-up in a jacket or freezing cold under a blanket.  Remember, you can save for every degree adjustment.

Same is true for electric fans. 3, 2, 1 – high, mid, low fan speed settings:

Based on Meralco Power Lab tests on a 16” stand fan

Looks small, but hey, for an 8-hour use a day, that’s P29 savings per month per fan (high to low settings).  Again, we could be using them this summer longer and that’s just for one fan!

Use a timer

(Cost impact to implement: Zero; Impact to electric bill: Significant)

If your aircon unit has it, use it.  Reduce the time, reduce the costs.  You can also switch to electric fan after a certain no. of hours of aircon use and still get significant savings.  Take a look at this:

Based on Meralco Power Lab tests on a 1.0hp window-type aircon and a 16” stand fan

More convenient if your aircon unit has a built-in timer or an aircon-to-fan timer. If none, there is still a way. You’ll still be able to make the adjustment by manually setting an alarm to wake you up and do it or when you wake up in the wee-hours of the night to pee.  A bit of a hassle, but doable. 🙂

Regularly clean your aircon and electric fan units

(Cost impact to implement: Zero to minimal; Impact to electric bill:  Significant)

There’s a prescribed maintenance schedule for your aircon units and do not forget this.  This may have minimal cost impact but this will keep your units running efficiently.

This one we can do by ourselves – cleaning of air filters.  Check it every so often and see if it already needs a rub.  It’s very easy to remove, clean and place back.  You can really feel the difference in performance of your unit if it’s clean versus a poorly maintained one with so much dust accumulation.   Remember, a dirty filter blocks normal airflow and significantly reduces the unit’s efficiency.

Here’s my 0.75hp window-type aircon.  Didn’t take too much of my time to clean this

Potential savings: 5% to 15%[1].

With fans, watch out also for dust buildup in the fan blades and motor housing.  Have it dusted.  In a quick experiment we made, we found out that there’s a 2 centavo per hour difference between a clean and a dirty fan.  Looks small, but it’s still around P5 savings per month per fan (at 8-hours per day use).  If you have 5 fans – that’s P22.23, enough for half a kilo of well-milled rice!

Home improvements

(Cost impact to implement: Zero to High; Impact to electric bill: Significant)

Keep all doors and windows closed especially when using your aircon.  If you have budget to spare, use solar screens, tints, curtains or blinds to prevent solar heat from entering.  Foam insulators on roofs is also a good investment.  And instead of jalousie-type windows, use glass panels (swing or sliding window-types).

These measures can have potential savings of 10% – 50% on aircon electricity costs[2].  Remember that the more heat in your place or in a particular room, the more effort your aircon will need to keep it cool.

Consider Inverter-type aircons

(Cost impact to implement: High; Impact to electric bill: Significant)

Newer technologies with advance technical designs offer lower energy consumption while delivering the same or better level of performance and comfort.  We can have a separate discussion on how inverter works but for now, based on multiple tests we have conducted on different horsepower (hp) capacities, inverter aircons are 20% to 64% cheaper versus their predecessors.

Here’s one test we conducted:

Based on Meralco Power Lab tests on a 1.0hp split-type aircon, setting: 25C

At 8 hours use per day, this translates to savings of P449 per month versus a conventional unit!  Much lower power and cost consumption and as observed, an even better performance as it keeps the room temperature constant, making it more comfortable.

Convinced? See it for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much savings you can get if you would apply these tips.  Now you can be cool and efficient!

All tests results shown are based on the 2014-15 average effective rate for all Meralco residential customers at P10.29 per kWh.



About The Author

Alfred Iporac

If Apple has an iPad, Meralco has an iPorx. An electrical engineer and a proud product of the royal black gold black white (read: UST) - Alfred or iPorx is the wonder kid (with his boyish looks?!) behind the Meralco Power Lab. With the aid of his hi-tech instruments, he can unlock anything and everything electrical that matters to the common man. Dedicated to serve and passionate about everything that he does, his ultimate goal is to fuel everyone’s drive to become smart energy consumers. But more than the voltage, watts and kilowatt-hours which are almost synonymous with his name, Alfred is (100%) a super family man.

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