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The Best of AHAM’s Air Conditioning Advice

Did you hear that noise? It was summer knocking at the door. After a winter that had most of the U.S. dealing with record-breaking cold spells, I am ready to welcome the summer warmth.
And, it’s not too early to think about pulling out the portable or room air conditioner to help cope with the summer heat when temperatures go from warm to hot.

Maximizing your air conditioner’s cooling potential is not just a matter of flipping a switch. Proper use and care matters for your AC just as it does for all of your appliances. How you use and maintain your air conditioner can affect your energy use and determine whether your AC is ready to go when you need it most.

Even something as simple as where you place your portable air conditioner can make a big difference. We have compiled the best of AHAM’s air conditioning tips to help you get the most out of your air conditioner this summer:

Buying an AC

Once you’ve chosen between a portable air conditioner and a room air conditioner, buying an air conditioner comes down to three major factors: size, capacity and features. Measure the room where the AC will be used. The packaging of many AC units will include a chart of appropriate room sizes, but you can also do the calculation yourself. More power is not necessarily better. You may end up using more energy than you need. That also goes for too small of a unit, as it will have to work harder to cool the space and may not be able to reach the desired temperature for the room. Use this calculator from ENERGY STAR® to find out how much power you need.

AC operating tips

Hot weather can make you cranky and lead you to make bad decisions. One of those is immediately turning your air conditioner to the highest level. This is tempting, but inefficient. Pick a comfortable temperature and set your air conditioner there. Save energy by setting it to a higher temperature if you won’t be in the room for a while. Pull your curtains or shades to block out the sun to make it easier for your portable air conditioner to cool off the room, and make sure your room air conditioner is not in direct sunlight. Consider turning the AC down at night when temperatures outside tend to drop.

If you are using a portable air conditioning unit, keep the exhaust hose as straight as possible. Any kinks can reduce the unit’s efficiency.

AC care tips

Your air conditioner’s use and care manual will include instructions for how often you should clean or replace the unit’s filter. The coils and vents of both window and portable units need to be cleaned periodically. A plastic scrub brush can be used to remove dirt from a room air conditioner. For portable air conditioners, the use and care manual may have specific suggestions, but they may include using a mixture of water and vinegar or other mildly acidic solution to clean a portable air conditioner coil. Finally, break out your vacuum brush attachment to pull out any dirt not picked up during the initial cleaning.

CES 2018 Preview: Six questions on home appliance innovations

CES always provides its share of flashy headlines and jaw-dropping media clips. Appliance manufacturers, including many AHAM members, will be displaying their appliance lines and looking to stand out with the latest innovations, features and designs.

So what will be the top appliance themes at CES 2018? There are too many innovations to list here, but it’s safe to say lifestyle, connectivity and convenience will be in the spotlight. And we expect to find many ways to answer these six questions:

Will voice control continue to grow? Voice control was indisputably the hot appliance feature at CES 2017, with appliances incorporating Amazon Alexa and other tools to allow users to adjust oven temperatures, washing cycles and access other features. We could get a better idea of the role voice control will play in appliances as the technology develops and consumers incorporate it into more aspects of their lives.

Will we see more connectivity in personal care appliances? In addition to simplifying tasks, connected and smart features can help consumers keep a closer eye on their health. Connected personal care products, like toothbrushes that monitor how well you’re cleaning, are one path for that. We’ll be on the lookout for more health-related features as we comb through the appliances on display at CES 2018.

What other roles will cooking appliances take on? Several newer appliance models are incorporating easy access to recipes into their features, with some even automatically adjusting their temperature based on a recipe or a scan of a frozen meal. Other features are sure to emerge as manufacturers look to take more of the time and labor out of cooking.

What’s next for connected refrigerators? As a regular “meeting place” inside the home for many families, refrigerators have become the host for many new connected features for both entertainment and household tasks like preparing grocery lists and recommending recipes based on what’s inside. It will be exciting to see how their role evolves as manufacturers incorporate more elements of connectivity.

What design elements will stand out? While CES is all about technology, many manufacturers also take the opportunity to show off their newest designs, like black stainless and smudge-free finishes. Will any new design or colors take the stage at CES 2018?

What’s the future of floor care? While robotic vacuums have been around for a number of years, manufacturers continue to innovate with features like mapping, voice control, fall prevention and advanced navigation. We’ll see what other floor care innovations, robotic and otherwise, are underfoot at CES 2018.

AHAM will be at CES 2018 to report on the latest innovations in major, portable and floor care appliances. Follow us on Twitter @AHAM_voice for live updates.

AHAM Verifide, Energy Star, Energy Guide: What they mean

AHAM Verifide®. Energy Star. Energy Guide. What do those appliance labels mean?

They aren’t just labels. If you take a closer look, you’ll get valuable information on how much energy the appliance uses, and how much you might be saving.

AHAM Verifide: This signifies that the appliance meets certain attributes of the AHAM Verifide program, including volume, energy, and for some products, performance. All products that carry the AHAM Verifide mark have been randomly selected and independently tested against rigorous federal energy test procedures. You’ll find the mark on clothes washers and dryers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers, room air conditioners and room air cleaners. AHAM Verifide is a voluntary program, meaning appliance manufacturers decide whether or not to participate.

Energy Star: You’ll find the blue ENERGY STAR label on certain major appliances like clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers and refrigerator-freezers, as well as lighting, residential heating and cooling systems. The label, launched by the Department of Energy in 1992, means that the products have been independently tested in labs to ensure they meet certain energy-efficiency criteria. AHAM has been approved by the Department of Energy as a verification body for ENERGY STAR products. This means AHAM can administer testing to ensure that products seeking the ENERGY STAR designation meet the program’s criteria. Like AHAM Verifide, participation in ENERGY STAR is voluntary for manufacturers.

Energy Guide: The yellow Energy Guide label provides a snapshot of how much energy the appliance uses. You’ll get an estimated yearly operating cost compared to other models and an estimate of how many kilowatts the appliance uses each year. The manufacturer, model number and capacity are listed. Energy Guide labels may also contain the ENERGY STAR label if the product meets those criteria. The Federal Trade Commission requires Energy Guide labels to be put on clothes washers, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, dishwashers, room air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps and pool heaters. Manufacturers are required to test their products using Department of Energy procedures and report the results to the FTC.

Buying energy efficient products is just one step you can take to reduce your energy costs. Need more ideas? Take a look at AHAM’s energy saving tips.

Save Money and Help the Environment with these Energy Saving Tips

Sustainability iStock_Small

Everyone would like to use less energy and reduce their monthly electricity bill. AHAM has assembled some quick and easy tips to help you reduce the amount of energy your appliances use. Every bit adds up.

  • If you are replacing your refrigerator, do not use the old refrigerator as a second refrigerator because it won’t yield energy savings. Properly recycle the appliance. The store where you purchased the new refrigerator likely will pick up and dispose of your old one for no charge.  You can also visit the ENERGY STAR website for information about their Responsible Appliance Disposal program.
  • Allow hot foods to cool before placing them in the refrigerator, and always cover foods that may release moisture in the refrigerator.
  • Limit opening the refrigerator and freezer doors.  Label foods or use clear food storage bags to easily identify foods.
  • Scrape, but do not pre-rinse, dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  Dishwashers do a great job of cleaning soiled dishes.
  • Take advantage of your dishwasher’s “eco?? option that reduces water use, or use the no-heat air dry feature.
  • Use the proper load size setting for each load of laundry or use the automatic setting if your clothes washer has it to ensure you’re not using more water than necessary. Also, use cold water settings whenever possible.
  • Always clean the lint filter on the clothes dryer after each use.  A clogged filter will reduce dryer performance.

How do you save energy at home?  If you have energy saving tips, share them with us!