Our Philippine House Project – Air Conditioning

What we learned about air conditioning in the Philippines when we built our own Philippine house.  As readers know, we’ve tried to do everything we can to design and build our house to minimize the need for air conditioning in our new Philippine house.  Much of Panay Island’s power comes from coal burning power plants.  Electric power rates are high, about $.27(US) per kilowatt hour now (2013) and rising.  So, there are at least two reasons to feel uncomfortable about unnecessarily using electric power.

Few foreigners who live in the Philippines live in such a quiet rural place as we do.  A major attraction of air conditioning, besides keeping cool, is that it is just about the only way to reduce or escape noise and pollution. A good night’s sleep may be only a dream in the face of roosters, loud music, karaoke and roaring  jeepneys.  Even if it’s not so hot, as every hotel guest knows, the impulse to close the windows to the noise and be lulled asleep by the white noise of the air conditioner can be irresistible.

So, while we have roof insulation, big windows and a breezy location, there are often times when air conditioning is wanted, especially when music from local fiestas booms and during the hot summer season when daytime temperatures reach 37C (97F), humidity is high and nighttime temperatures don’t fall that much.  No matter how well designed, any house can be uncomfortable and a relief from the heat is a relief worth paying for, especially older and less healthy retirees. For us, air conditioning is also a courtesy to guests not accustomed to the tropical heat.  We have a dear friend who suffers from emphysema. Our guest room air con is specially for him.

In our first Iloilo apartment we had a regular window-type air conditioner in each bedroom.  In our next (and last) apartment we had modern Panasonic split type air conditioning throughout.  That convinced us that we wanted the split type units.  Split air con units have the compressor outside in a separate unit.  This is connected to the unobtrusive interior unit which contains the evaporator, fan and controls.

Split air con outdoor unit

Split air con outdoor unit

Basic split units cost about one-third more than basic window units.  For example,a basic Panasonic one HP window unit costs P14,899.  A basic Panasonic one HP split unit costs P22,999.  According to Panasonic, they are of about equal efficiency.  A more efficient one HP inverter unit (more on that later) costs P29,999 or just twice as much as a window unit.  The split units are much quieter, more civilized than the window units. Also they may be a bit more secure as the split units only require a small hole in the wall whereas window units installed through the wall require a substantial opening.  If your unit has to go in for repair, you can be left with a new entrance to your residence!

An advantage to conventional window or through-the-wall units is that they may be  removed for a thorough inspection, cleaning, power washing and maintenance. Split units generally must be cleaned in place. That can be messy.  Think of your unit being power washed inside your bedroom!  The pan catches most of the spray which is routed outside by means of a hose.  We have had good luck with the crews sent by Samsung to maintain our split units.  They have been careful.  Still, easy repair and maintenance is a plus for through the wall units.

Cleaning split unit inside our bedroom with a power washer!  The pan suspended below catches most of the spray.

When you buy a split air con unit you’ll have to decide between the more expensive,  more efficient inverter units and the regular units.   Regular units have a compressor which turns on and off as needed to cool the room. Inverter units have a compressor which runs more continuously, but can vary its speed and power consumption to maintain room temperature.  Under ideal circumstances, the inverter units are more efficient.  If you buy an inverter unit, make sure it has adequate or excess capacity for the space.  The inverter unit can silently and efficiently reduce its speed and continue the dehumidification function.  For example the Panasonic CS-PS12KKQ specifications claim that the unit can adjust its output from 14,400 kJ/hr to 3,060 kJ/hr and its electrical consumption from 175 to 1180 watts.  The nominal rating is 820 watts.

Inverter pioneer Daikin has a good description of the advantages of inverter units Japanese Daikin are considered the Cadillac of air conditioners.

If you buy a standard unit, it’s better for it to be somewhat undersized so that the compressor can run more or less continuously.   Motors use two or three times as much power starting up as they do running. Standard units are more efficient that way (possibly more efficient than an inverter unit) and they keep dehumidifying.  The worst thing is a too big standard unit which cools the room off but does not run enough to dehumidify the air.  You end up with cold, clammy air.  Don’t let air con salespersons talk you into a too big conventional unit.  Do your own calculations and take into account just how cool you want your room to be.  Conversely, don’t buy a too small inverter unit.  Running continuously at peak output,  they may be less efficient than a cheaper conventional unit.

Air conditioner efficiency is roughly rated through  EER – the energy efficiency rating.  EER is calculated  by dividing the cooling capacity in kJ /hr by the power used in watts. Keep in mind that the lower power consumption of the inverter units can be accompanied by lower absolute cooling power.  For example, a conventional 1.5 HP Panasonic has a cooling power of  12,740 kJ/hr whereas an inverter unit has quite a bit less capacity at 11,020 kJ/hr.  This means that not only are the inverter units more expensive, but you may have to buy the next bigger inverter unit to get the same cooling capacity as the smaller but more powerful conventional unit.  No wonder the manufacturers spend so much time touting their inverter units.

We decided to buy a inverter unit for our “master’s” bedroom and a conventional unit for our guest room.  No air conditioning is be installed for the rest of the house, at least for now.  We used an online calculator to determine the size of the unit we needed.  Here’s a good general discussion of sizing air conditioning units:  http://www.homeenergy.org/archive/hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/95/950509.html

and here’s the excellent online calculator we used.  It’s an Australian site.  We selected tropical Darwin, Australia as our location.

http://fairair.com.au/Calculator.Size.aspx

If understanding the difference between kWh, HP, kJh, and Btu is confusing, check out the following site.  After you calculate your cooling needs using the FairAir calculator above, fire-up this Power Converter site and plug in your cooling need and then you’ll get  it automatically converted to all of these measurements and dozens more.

Split air con inside unit over window, at ceiling

Split air con inside unit over window, at ceiling

This calculator concluded we needed a 3.5KW unit for our 25 square meter bedroom.  Since 1KW equals 3,412 BTU, we needed a 11,942 BTU unit.  Since Philippine air con units are rated in kilo Joules per hour and since 1 BTU = 1.055 kilo Joules, we needed a 12,600 kJ/hr unit.

TIP Air conditioner sales persons are notorious for selling higher capacity units than the customer really needs.  They get to sell a bigger unit but more importantly, they’ll never have a customer come back and complaining about not being cool enough.

Initially, we intended to buy Panasonic units, however when we checked the specification for a Panasonic 1.5HP inverter unit we saw that it was rated at 11,630 kJ/hr.  Shopping around we saw that the 1.5 HP Samsung inverter unit was rated at 13,650 kJ/hr, substantially more than the Panasonic unit.  In addition, the Samsung was about P3,000 cheaper.  Since we have had very good luck with our Samsung washer, we decided to go with the Samsung. We bought two units for a package deal, the 1.5 HP inverter for our bedroom and a standard 1 HP split unit for the guest bedroom.

The purchase price included free installation by the Iloilo Samsung service center (033-508-3810 mobile: 0917-323-4818) and free cleaning and maintenance for the first year or more.

Installation crew foreman Dante F. Montalban arrived with his crew. I am very fussy about work on our house so I watched them like a hawk.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how careful and competent they were.  They arrived in a truck with the tools and materials they needed.  It took the better part of a day for the three man crew to install the two units.  The 1 1/2HP inverter unit was made in Thailand, which seems to be an Asian hub for the manufacture of refrigeration equipment.  The 1 HP conventional unit was made in China.  The Chinese-made unit seemed very well designed and built.  The outdoor compressor/fan cabinet is made of plastic, nicely done.  This can be an advantage because steel cabinets rust, especially if you’re anywhere near the ocean.  I asked about repair experiences and he said he had had to replace circuit boards on the inverter units because lizards make nests and short-out the circuits. He said this is not a problem with conventional units.  Generally there is more complexity and more to go wrong with inverter units.  Unfortunatley, he was correct about the lizard problem.  See below.

Installing bracket to hold inside unit

Installing bracket to hold inside unit

The outdoor part of the split air con can rest on a concrete pad on the ground or can be bolted to a bracket bolted to the outside of the house. We had our welders make the brackets while they were building our house, using scrap angle bar.  The brackets are attached to the wall using lead expansion anchors and lag screws.

I installed the electrical circuits and wiring.  Each unit has its own 15 amp circuit and breaker.  Wiring is 12AWG (3.5mm).  I am sure the installers would have done the wiring but I wanted to do it myself.

More below….

Inside unit mounted

Inside unit mounted

Bolting the bracket to the house

Bolting the bracket to the house

Installing the outdoor unit

Installing the outdoor unit

Above you can see the connections between the indoor and outdoor units; two insulated copper refrigerant lines, a drain line and power line.

Each of these rooms also has a Hunter ceiling fan.  Ceiling fans are much cheaper to run than air conditioners and even when the air con is on, keep the ceiling fans running.  That way you’ll be comfortable using less air conditioning.

Cost of air conditioning. With no air conditioning, we consistently used about 300 KWH per month which costs us about P3,600 ($85) per month.  When we used the split air con units at our apartment, we were surprised at how little they cost to run.  That because we generally set the desired temperature at  27C.  Supposedly each degree of additional cooling adds about 15% to the power consumed so setting the thermostat at 24C would cost 60% more than a 28C setting.  When you size your unit, keep your cooling preferences in mind.  During the hottest weather when we use our master bedroom split air conditioner every night (and the second uit occasionally)  our total electric bill will rise to about 400 KWH or about P4,800 ($112).  This suggests that it costs us about $1.00 per night to air condition our large bedroom.  We attribute this low cost to the efficiency of our inverter unit and the fact that we set the thermostat to make the room comfortable rather than cool or cold.

Recall that we bought the Samsung aircon unit rather than Panasonic because the Samsung specifications said that they were more powerful than the Panasonic units.  We were unhappy to find that the Samsung inverter unit which was actually installed for us was NOT rated at the 13,650 kJ/hr capacity  Our unit’s label gives a rating of 11,630 kJ/hr.  AFTER we bought our unit the Samsung website was revised to show the cooling capacity of the 1.5 HP ASV12ESLN as 11,630 kJ/hr rather than 13,650 kJ/hr that was listed when we bought our unit.

Samsung ASV12ESLN Specs

Samsung ASV12ESLN Specs

Label on our Samsung ASV12ES

Label on our Samsung ASV12ES

We are fairly happy with the small Samsung conventional unit but less so with the Samsung inverter unit we bought. Samsung advertises that the units are compact but that seems to mean that the fins on the inner evaporator and outer condenser units are packed close together.  To us it seems that the fins are more easily damaged and clogged with debris and may require more maintenance.  Our one-HP Samsung unit seems better in the regard.  The fins have a blue coating which seems to be resisting corrosion better than the tightly packed fins on our Samsung converter unit.

Tightly packed and corroded fins on condenser

Tightly packed and corroded fins on condenser

Also, after three years, the Samsung inverter is showing signs of less than stellar material quality.  The case screw and bolt heads are rusty, the case itself is also starting to rust.  The Chinese made non-inverter unit seems better made.

Cleaning and maintenance.   Initially we were happy with the periodic maintenance provided by Samsung.  Then one day we bought a shop vac and we decided to use the vacuum on Samsung unit in our bedroom.  Closer examination revealed that the long squirrel cage fan which expels the cooled air was almost totally clogged with caked on dirt. Obviously it had never been cleaned by the pressure washer the Samsung maintenance crew used.  We had to partially disassemble the indoor unit to be able to clean the clogged vanes of the fan. The same was true of the exterior units.  The casing had never been removed during the cleanings done by Samsung.  We decided to remove the cases and found that while the electronics seemed to be in good shape the unit was quite dirty with lizard droppings and wasp nests.  While the Samsung cleaning service is a reasonable is P800, we have decided to buy a pressure washer and doing our own cleaning.

cleaning_aircon

Samsung case removed. We do our own cleaning.

P9,000 lizard

P9,000 lizard

As predicted, a lizard crawled into our Samsung inverter unit and shorted out the main circuit board.  Inverter units have more complex electronics.  Our repairman said that this is a very common problem with Samsung inverter units.  Why don’t they improve the design?  We have to wonder whether the money saved through lower power consumption of an inverter unit ends up being spent on more repairs for these finicky units.

Comments (61) Write a comment

  1. I rented a flat for my girlfriend (ground floor corner) roughly 8 ft x 20 ft length in total with attached kitchen appr. 8ft x 5 ft at the back. The shower room is about 4 ft by 5 ft. in the middle. Ceiling is 12ft high.

    The flat has got 3 windows in the front sleeping area, a front door to come in and a back door at the kitchen behind.

    I want to fix a split type aircond for the 8 ft to10 ft sleeping area. I want to fix a long curtain from ceiling to floor at the kitchen to stop the warm from coming into the sleep area. Fixing both ourdoor and indoor units are not a problem as there are lots of spaces. Presently, she has a 18″ stand fan blowing full blast day and night.

    The flat is very warm considering my lady wants all the windows shut while sleeping at night. The warm also come from the fridge and the kitchen if she cooks. I am sure the aircond will be used for long hours.

    I am thinking of a 1.5hp inverter. I am not well verses buying appliances in ph. and need advice.

    And also considering electricity tariff is high compare with where i stays now in Malaysia, I need to optimize cost of running. Had I make a right choice and what cost will I have to pay with comparison.

    ps. the photos showing the fixing of the aircond, the positions of the room is quite similar to my rented flat except your house is bigger.. :)

    Reply

    • Alan,

      The choice of a 1.5hp inverter seems reasonable to me. The big advantage of inverter type units is that they can easily and economically adjust to varying cooling loads, so even if the 1.5hp unit is technically too large, it can spin down to accommodate smaller cooling loads. We agree with your lady in liking windows closed at night for security and noise control considerations.

      Bob

      Reply

      • Bob,
        My experience over here in buying aircond or any other bulky appliances are to look for a local dealer near to where you stay even if the price is a little expensive or maybe cheaper depending on how your negotiation skill. Online purchase is not advisable. In time to come if the set become faulty or when time for servicing, you need not go to the manufacturer (faulty) for warranty, you just approach the dealer.

        Alan

        Reply

  2. it will be good to exchange ideas….if a room is 12 feet from floor up to the ceiling…what is the ideal height to fix the blower? maybe 8 or 9 feet? anything higher then that will result in the aircond having to work longer to cool the room cos cool air sink while warm retained at the top? If blower is fixed at 9 feet…the aircond will only cool the room up to 9 feet…right? when the sensor inside the blower detected that the room is cool enough it will reduce power. anything above the blower of 9 feet will not be as cool as below the 9 feet and after all its not necessary to cool any space above it.

    as long as the windows and curtains preferably the heat reflection type in the room are closed to stop warm air coming in..and cold air escaping…you will save energy? At night, when aircond is on and room is cold enough, the aircond can be switched off after few hours…..the cool surroundings still maintained and you can sleep comfortably until the morning.

    Reply

    • Alan,

      This is a subject I have really not looked into. Our ceilings are 10′ high. We have big windows on both exterior walls of our bedrooms, so the only attractive location for the indoor units was the 24″ between the top of the windows and the ceiling. This does place the sensor less than a foot below the ceiling. This has not created any problems, at least ones that we are aware of.

      If the night is a hot one, the aircon will stay on all night. Unless it is quite cool outside, the bedroom temperature will rise very soon after the air con unit is off. I have not seem an lingering cooling effect. On the other hand, if the night is cool (such as this time of year) we will use the timer to shut the aircon off after 2 to 5 hours of operation. By that time the room will not reheat so much.

      Keep in mind that we set our aircon thermostat to a desired cooling level of 27C. During the summer, the aircon unit might sense the room temp at 30C when we turn the unit on at 8 or 9PM. (During the day that might be 34C so the room naturally cools off by bedtime). During the cooler months, the starting temperatures are lower, perhaps 28C. So, the unit is really not having to do much cooling. This is perfect for an inverter unit which can spin down and run using little power, even if it is left on all night. That probably explains why air conditioning our fairly large bedroom only costs P1,000 to P1,500.

      Bob

      Reply

  3. Bob

    It has been a long time, since I read any of your forums. Still here in the Philippines growing white hair all over my face ans still living in my 2,,5 old house. I hope you could redirect me, to any new postings.

    David

    Reply

    • David, on the right side of the home page for myphilippinelife.com there should be a box at the top right which allows you to subscribe to new posts and or comments. As part of the comment box at the bottom of each post there are checkboxes to allow you to subscribe to new posts or comments. Give it a try and see if it works for you. If not, let us know.

      Reply

    • Yes, the aircon units at the Japanese-funded Iloilo airport are Japanese-made Daikin!

      Reply

      • Hi Bob,

        Sorry my message was a little bit vague. What I meant was that you can purchase Daikin in the Phils for your own use. You cannot find it in the appliance stores, but you can contact them via the web for them to refer you to an authorized dealer.

        Reply

  4. Hi, thank you so much for the thorough info on your proj. It has help me on deciding on my next purchase. My main problem is my electricity. I live by myself with a maid here in mindanao at my parents house. My bill avgs up 8 to 10k a mo. Not much appliances except my ac unit in my room. I run it on an avg of 6 hrs a night. My room same as yours 25msq. With a bit of high ceiling. Higher than avg about 12ft. I have a12yr old 2HP national window AC. When its on, my meter just spins freely it seems. I had my meter calibrated many times and they said its at98%. So i have decided to replace it. A friend suggested to me to buy two 1HP units for the room and he said to keep one on timer when it reaches my pref. Temp, one will keep it cool. He said its less energy to run 1HP compressor to keep the room cool thus keeping my consumtion cost low. So ive considered it since i have d wall already i wanted to buy one window type and one split inverter. Please let me know your thoughts on this. Since reading your blog.. i think i want to just op for another 2hp widow type. Less work and sure is cheaper on the purchase price for the unit. My question is. Do they make inverter models for window type? And if so. Would you recommend the inverter on my case vs the conventional. Im also a big fan of samsung but i own a koppel 1.5 hp split type in my tv room which i rarely used. Theyre priced really good. Since ive read your blog i check the specs and its 13700 kjw at 1300w. I think its too big for my 12sqm room. But im totally happy with it and my meter doesnt go buzzerk when its on. Anyhow just wanted to know also your thoughts on koppel AC. Again thank your very much for sharing your project and your thoughts on my case would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time. God bless..

    Noel

    Reply

    • Noel,

      It somewhat depends on how you use your AC and what you expect of it. Our 1.5HP works very well and very economically in our 25SM bedroom because we use it almost exclusively at night. When we go to bed it might be 30C in the room and we cool it to 27C. The unit has no problem with that. If we used it during the day, say when it was 37C and wanted to cool the room to 25C, it would be difficult. A 2HP inverter unit would be better. The inverters have the ability to wind down to accommodate themselves to varying loads. I really don’t know a thing about Koppel units except that I see them around the city.

      Bob

      Reply

    • Hello Noel, Remember older electrical appliances consume more electricity than newer units do – because the manufacturers keep on improving the energy efficiency level of the products that they produce.

      Window type aircon available in the Phils as of June 2013. Hitachi and Carrier.
      A 1HP unit will cost Php45,000-Php50,000. No special installation required, but you might want to check out the dimensions of the unit as it might not fit into the “hole” that your current AC uses. Cleaning is just like a regular window type.

      Add cost of installation to the cost of the split type unit (whether inverter or non-inverter) and you get the actual cost of your split type AC. If you are going to use your AC nightly, please ensure that your split type AC is cleaned at least twice a year by a professional (not unless you know how to do it thoroughly yourself) because feedback that I got from a lot of split type AC owners is that the indoor unit drips (maybe they are not that fastidious about cleaning because the cost of cleaning of split type by professionals is higher than that of window type).

      Site below shows how to choose the right sized AC for you

      http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=roomac.pr_properly_sized

      Site below lets your convert BTU/hr to KJ/hr
      http://www.convertunits.com/from/Btu+per+hour/to/watt

      which will help you choose the right model of AC – because as Bob says, it is not in the horsepower of the unit, but the BTU/hr or the KJ/hr which is the cooling capacity.

      Reply

      • Peter, thanks for your comment. Cleaning aircon units, split or window, is best left to professionals. Aircon units are a mix of mechanical parts, some of which get dirty and electronics which can be damaged by cleaning. Typically a power washer is used. The electronics have to be protected. Professionals have a special pan which fits under and around the inside part of the split unit, allowing it to be pressure washed inside the house.

        With our Samsung units, installation was free, except for the bracket holding up the exterior part. The first cleanings were also free. The fee for further cleanings is P1,600.

        We live out in the provinces where you’d think the units would stay cleaner than in the city, but all sort of dust and such from the surrounding rice fields and pastures does build up, so cleaning every six months is essential.

        45 to 50 K for a one hp unit. That seems so high. A 1.5hp split inverter should be P25K to P30K.

        Reply

      • Hi Peter

        I am living in the Philippines since a long time and read the block of Bob and your comments about AC with great interest.
        As I have similar problems with sizing air-cons for my big living room I like to ask you some questions.
        My Living-Dining is 50m2. According to different calculation I always come to a load of around 12600 Btu/h. converted in HP is about 5.0Hp.
        My favorite Model would be a Panasonic Inverter type, which is covering 19100 Btu/h but according to the sheet is it only a 2.5HP unit. Is this unit to small ?
        How is this possible? is it a mistake or do I simply not consider something ?
        You answer would be very much appreciated.

        Kind regards to you and Bob
        Rolf

        Reply

        • Rolf,

          There are so many variables that it’s hard to give meaningful advice. Our rather weak 1.5HP Samsung barely cools our 25 SM bedroom so I would think you’d want something bigger than 2.5HP for a kitchen-living room. You will be using it during the day when it’s hotter and there is cooking to consider. I’d say 3 to 4HP, but this is only an uneducated guess. Good luck.

          Bob

          Reply

  5. Hi, thanks for the info of your proyect, I find very interesting.
    I am planning a house (probably prefab) in Mindanao and I have some questions:
    Did you study the posibility of a vegetable roof, canadian well, that cool the house? I dont know if the canadian well works in a tropical country, What about the insulation of the house in the tropics?
    What about Airwell insted of aricon?

    Reply

    • Miguel,

      I am not sure how well a soil roof would work here — maybe. It could absorb a lot of heat during the day and re-radiate it during the night? I think insulation is better. I have heard that underground heat exchangers don’t work here because, unlike places with cooler climates, there are no cooler subsurface temperatures to tap.

      Bob

      Reply

  6. We live in a tropical / humid area also and bought the Panasonic split units with the gekko gard/salt water prevention outdoor units. They have a blue or green coating on the radiator part and the elecronic boards are coated in epoxy or RTV, and placed in closed metal cases. All the screws are stainless so all I did to improve the situation was to pain the inside with zinc paint and the inside bottom and top with poly rubber paint like they use to seal concrete swimming pools. I had some left over paint from doing my concrete roof, that is why I used it; it cost $100/16 liters so is quite expensive. Took 20 16liter cans to do my roof…. OUCH. The model # for the inside unit is CS-X711C2, the outdoor unit is CU-X711C2. Seems like each major applience chain/company and country use a unique part number squence… made it difficult to ensure I ordered the right one. On the Panasonic web site, the google translation for this type is “long-life outdoor unit”. Cost in Japan was about $2300US for a 23 Jo or Tsubo unit. It has a auto cleaning function as well as a people sensor to direct the cool air up to 13 meters.

    Reply

    • Very interesting! Sounds like a great unit for the Philippines. Often the items offered in the Philippines are the most basic in order to keep the price down. I’m a big fan of Panasonic. We used a mix of Panasonic and cheaper electrical outlets. The Panasonics are five times better for twice the price. I’ve noticed that Panasonic switches and outlets are almost always used in commercial buildings in the Philippines. Our latest purchase was a timer switch to control our outdoor lighting. The first cheap one we bought for about $15 lasted a few months and died. We bought a Panasonic commercial-duty timer to replace it. It cost about $70. It will probably last forever!

      Reply

      • Hi Bob,

        you’re website is quite informative. I’m from toronto area and planning to return to the philippines permanently, specially panay island. My only concern if I can stand the constant hot weather. To save on ac cost, did you ever consider installing thermal windows and doors to minimize escape of cool air generated by ac? thanks

        Reply

        • Vince,

          When we designed our house, our aim was to use as much natural cooling as possible and to minimize the use of air conditioning, therefore we did not really design the house for air conditioning. There is no insulation, except in the roof/attic. Our windows are very large and are not insulated glass. Our actual use of air conditioning is as follows. The only areas that have air con are two of our four bedrooms. The other two bedrooms plus the kitchen and living room have no air conditioning. Occasionally I will run one of the bedroom aircon units when I want to take a daytime nap. We use air conditioning in our 25 SM master bedroom practically every night, even if it’s not especially hot. We do this because we sleep better with the windows closed. It’s quieter and somewhat more secure. Perhaps because we have an efficient inverter split air con unit, and because we don’t try to keep the bedroom very cold, the cost is surprisingly modest. Our electric bills are less than $100 (US) per month for everything. We we tried to air condition the whole house, the cost would be quite high. Say it costs us $50 to air condition 25 SM 12 hours per day. Keep in mind that we are using it at night only. It’s not especially hot at night so the energy use is modest. If we were cooling 100 SM 24/7, the cost could be many hundreds of dollars per month.

          I always lived in the north, not far from Montreal, and liked winter. As far as adjusting to the heat, for me being a bit hot is normal and I usually don’t notice it any longer. I find the mornings of 75 or 80 to be delightfully cool. I’m sure you’ll adjust. Over dependence on air con can just make it harder. Good luck! Bob and Carol

          Reply

  7. I just remind you all I bought 2 units of 1.5 Panasonic inverter Split Type. I have 72 SM shop and it doesnt quite cool. I saw a label which gave the cooling capacity as 11,630kJ/hr. I gong to buy samsung 2.5 HP and i dont it will solve my problem.

    Reply

  8. thanks for the good writeup. i’m an expat living in the philippines. i built my house last year and got 2 samsung inverter 2.5hp for both of my bedrooms.

    sad to say but neither unit will get below 24, most of the time they stay on 25 (at night) 27 during the day. the room is ‘cool’ – but never cold, and i’ll often break a sweat just working at the computer on warm days.

    i paid a lot of money for these units, and got scammed by the install guys who patently refuse to honor the ‘free install’ in the part of the country i’m at.

    for a year i’ve been living in a ‘cool’ room and i must say i’ll never buy another samsung aircon. i had my space sized twice by aircon guys, one said 2hp one said 2.5 – we went with 2.5 to be safe.

    prior to this i had a Chigo brand 3hp (for a MUCH larger bedroom) and man that thing was ICE COLD – i could put my room at 16 if i wanted to huddle under the down comforters… because of the expense involved in these units i will go back to chigo just because i know they work.

    Reply

    • Thanks for your report. You must have a huge bedroom to need a 2.5HP aircon. Our bedroom is 25m2 and our 1.5HP works OK. But then, we only want to cool it to 27C or so. Anything below that and Bob starts to feel chilly. Thanks also for the mention of Chigo aircon units. I have never seen them but am happy to hear of your good experiences with them.

      Reply

  9. Hey Bob, I have a question with your A/C and windows? Did you install insulated glass windows or single pane in your house? If single pane, do they sweat when you run the A/C? Thanks.

    Reply

  10. Additional question:

    I will use it during night time. Around 7 hours per night. Is an Inverter type with 2.0HP better in a 36 square meter room?

    Reply

  11. Hey guys! Hope you can help me determine how much HP (aircon) I need for my bedroom.
    Its 36 square meters and has two big windows (west and north). Based on the calculations I’ve made, a 2.0HP is needed. But the airconditioner surveyor said I need 2.5HP.

    Reply

    • It really depends so much on how you’ll use your unit. We have a 1.5hp unit in a 25 square meter bedroom with north and east windows. If we wanted to cool the room to say 25 or 25 on a hot day it would not do it. We’d need a 2hp unit. In reality, we mostly use it at night and cool only to 26C so it works fine for that. If I were in your shoes, I’d get the 2.5 inverter. It can spool down if the capacity is not needed, but a 2hp will not have much if any excess capacity, especially with that big west window.

      Reply

  12. I think the specs of the samsung inverters are correct. You see there are 2 types of inverters. The Maldives and Crystal series. Whereas a 1.5HP Maldive is rated at 13,633KJ/h while the same 1.5HP Crystal is at 11,630KJ/h. Their power rating is at 1030Watts and 850watts respectively.

    I hope this clear things up a little bit

    Reply

      • GOIloilo,

        The 1.5 model for a Maldives inverter series is ASV13PSLN. Here are some tech specs:

        * Cooling capacity 13,536 Kj/hr
        * Energy Efficiency Ratio 13.4 Kj/h.W
        * Power Input 1010 Watts
        * Power Supply 1/220 V / 60Hz
        * Noise Level Indoor High 37dB/Low 21dB
        * Outdoor, Max 46dB
        * BLDC Type Compressor
        * Indoor Unit Dimension W=820mm,H=285mm,D=205mm
        * Indoor unit Net Weight 8.4kg
        * Outdoor unit Dimension W=720mm,H=548mm,D=265mm
        * Outdoor unit Net Weight 29.5kg

        They cost less than the Crystal series but offer higher cooling output.

        I have mine installed recently which is a 1 HP maldive, 10,600 kj/hr at 730 watts over a 15 sqm room. I use it for 10 hours a day.

        My wattage readings are:

        Temp: set at 23 degrees
        initial wattage: 715-725 Watts for the first 30 mins
        running wattage: 280-330 watts

        I used Kill-a-watt digital wattage meter which is a very accurate tool to show the actual wattage of anything plugged in it. And looking at the figures above, I can say the unit’s consumption is at Php 1,071/month @ 10 hours per day.

        Reply

        • by the way, the Maldives are no longer listed on the site but are still available on the Philippine Market, got mine at Saver’s Appliance depot, still available through Abensons and SM appliance centers 3 days ago.

          Reply

  13. Hello, can you please tell me how much is your bill consumption per month and for how many hours oare you guys using ac every night?

    I am planning on installing 5 Samsung ac split type unit on my house in Cebu. I was wondering if the inverter/compressor can accommodate two split type unit?

    Our rooms are small so.. But most of the walls in the house are not insulated so heat usually goes inside the house.

    So the plan is two install 1hp on all of my bedrooms as my rooms are smaller and a 2 hp on the living room.

    Can you please help me to decide. I’d like the Samsung as all my home theater and LCD tvare on these brands and I wanted one brand only. But not quite sure on how the Samsung performs on the ac arena.

    Hoping for your advices.. Should I go with Panasonic?

    Thanks,
    John

    Reply

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  15. hi! your post is very helpful. Im currenty researching too which airconditioner to get.

    i was currently canvassing the samsung crystal s inverter and the guy who surveyed our room recommended the 2horsepower. then i read your post then did some calculating on my own, with the help of other websites on how to calculate cooling needs, BTU, KW.

    i hope you can help me out with a few questions…
    using the australian website you linked above, it calculated i needed 2.6kw.
    using the website of http://www.ehow.com/how_4899871_calculate-air-conditioning-needs.html i calculated i needed 14285 BTU.
    now, whats the difference between the two? i already downloaded and printed the specs of the different crystal s inverters. where to i find these numbers? is it the “cooling kj/hr” or “cooling, kW” if these are the ones i will look at…it shows that two different models have the specs i need?

    so thats where i am confused. hope you can help me out! thanks!
    and also, im rethinking samsung if some people say it really cant cool the room? our room is just 17.5 sq.meters and have widows facing east and southeast, but we only use it as night. :)

    would really appreciate your feedback. thanks again!

    Reply

    • OK here’s what I get using the wonderful converter at http://www.translatorscafe.com/cafe/units-converter/power/v/

      14,285 BTU = 4.186 kWh = 15,071.47 kJh

      Regarding our Samsung unit, we are quite happy with it. I was just unhappy with the inaccurate information on their website which caused me to buy a 1.5 HP unit when I perhaps should have gotten a 2 HP.

      The bedroom we are cooling is 25 square meter bedroom (no insulation, big windows and high ceilings) with a 11,630 kJh unit. Your room is 17.5 SM, quite a bit smaller. I don’t know where your air con unit is to go or how cold you like it, but 2 HP sounds way too big to me. The 1.5 HP should do the job. Our 1.5 HP unit will cool our 25 SM quite cold except during a very hot (37 or 38C) day when it goes full blast to maintain 27 or 28C. A ceiling fan really helps the air con effect providing better mixing than the aircon fan.

      Hope this helps!

      Bob

      Reply

  16. Thanks for ALL the great info. I am a hopeful soon to be expat who still resides between jax-orlando florida. We are sending boxes at this point and have yard sales planned to liqidate items in the next 3 months. These notes will help us decide on a nice unit for our bedroom & sala(living room) there. We dont plan to run the bedroom ac except to sleep and the sala more often (nap time & hot times of the day-year). I hope to keep reading more helpful hints later on as the year go by, and will pass along anything I can as well. I am in the process of trying to find a box big enough to send over a generator to save on buying one there.. Kenneth

    Reply

    • Kenneth, glad the post was helpful. I’m not sure you should ship a generator here. Because of all the power outages here, generators are sold and serviced everywhere. Many of the generators you buy in the US are from the same Chinese factories as those you buy here. Local availability of parts and service for the particular generator model is essential. The place I bought mine said they had sold 550 of the same brand, mostly just a couple of models. They have parts on hand and know the ins and outs of these units. If you buy a Honda generator in the U.S. are the parts such as the AVR the same? Anyway, just a thought.

      We too have considered an air con for our kitchen, living area. We’ll have to save up as it will probably be 3HP. It will be a Panasonic, not Samsung.

      Reply

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  19. John,

    Thanks for the information on the scroll compressors. In the specs they are described as rotary compressors. Is that the same thing? When our Samsung inverter is in “Turbo” mode, the compressor really does sing.

    I have another question about Samsung’s math. The label (photo in our post) says that unit is 230v, 60 cycle, uses 4 amps and is 840 watts. Unless I’m missing something 4 amps times 230v = 920 watts. If it’s 920 watts then the EER is 12.64 not 13.84. That’s less impressive.

    I just can’t follow Samsung’s calculations.

    I tried to look at Samsung’s other international web sites but it was of little help as model numbers, efficiency ratings, and specifications vary so much from country to country.

    Samsung has been quite responsive and has promised to review and update its website.

    Bob

    Reply

    • Response from John:

      Hi Bob.

      Yea its confusing, but let me try to sort it out. Any type of electric consumers that has a coil in it, such as a motor, also has a delay between the voltage, and the current consumption, called Cos Fi. So If you calculate Volt x Amp, you get VA. If you calculate Volt x Amp x Cos Fi, you get Watt watt is always lower than VoltAmpere, and therefor its misleading when a motor driven unit is measured in Watt, or KiloWatt, as its only the pure Ohm consumption.

      So the CosFi in your case is quit low as the difference is that big. This can be corrected with a capacitor to deliver the reactive effect which give the difference here. In most places there is rules for how small CosFi must be, and therefor manufactures install capacitors to correct to national rules. Typical CosFi = 0,85 is accepted.

      Lets take your sample. 230 X 4 X 0,85 = 782 Watt, but 920 VA

      That is all about the Ohm law, and the extended ohm law. Its mainly Pythagoras when its alternating current, and not pure Ohm consumers.

      Confusing ?? :) not really but it does change daily known math rules a little.

      Take care.

      John

      Reply

      • Hi Bob.
        More good air con info from John Thede, especially about EER. This is in reference to Panasonic specifications that one unit has an EER of 12.3 minimum to a stratospheric 17.6 maximun EER see http://panasonic.com.ph/web/pid/10170/Spec Edited by Bob.

        Its complicated to express such technical data so that its understandable, without being too difficult. If you read the EER here, from MAX to MIN, there is still a very difficult part hidden in that.

        Because, the less the pressure difference is over the compressor, the higher is its efficiency too.

        When you need the aírconditioner, it is when it’s hottest outside, it means the Temperature / Pressure difference is highest, so the EER will be lowest. For example if it’s 28C outside and you want to cool to 26C, the unit will have a high EER

        For professionals there would be a temp/press – EER diagram, showing under which circumstances the unit works best. The conversation between Temperature, and the internal Pressure in the circuit is based on pure math, as long as there isn’t air in the refrigerant circuit, and correct dimension on the suction pipe.

        So when the Outdoor temperature is +37 DGC, and you wish indoor 24 DGC, the span alone give the working condition of the unit. Plus, dirt on evaporator or condenser fins as long as its a dry condenser. (Bob: when it’s hot outside is when the unit has the lowest EER)

        A wet condenser is more efficient as long as its able to evaporate water, but when climate get too humid, its also creating problems.

        Wet condensers is mainly used in industrial cooling as they are much more efficient, and can be use large scale to.

        I tried to calculate the energy loss from your 25 m2 room. Assuming it 5 x 5 meter, 2,8 meter high walls, and no insulation from the room to the loft. 37 DGC outside, 24 DGC inside, and 50 DGC in the loft.

        Continuous loss is 3631 Watt. Then that is only so if the room is kept low at 24 DGC all time. (3631 x 3,6= 13072 Joule) Watt is an effect, Watt is measured pr second, but converting it to energy you need to multiply by time, so the factor is 3,6, and not 4,19 as i faulty wrote earlier.) :( 1 Watt = 3,6 J/s. 1Wh = 3600 j)

        So loss i the room is VERY theoretically this.:
        Walls 202 Watt Vindows 247 Watt Floor 2012 Watt Ceiling 1170 Watt.

        If you use the room fan and aircon, the temperarture in the room will be more equal at the ceiling as the floor, and by that maximizing the loss through the ceiling. Delta T will be larger (50 DGC to 24 DGC)

        When you need to cool from hot condition, the energy needed to cool down furniture, and building construction is a lot higher, and can explain why you lack capacity in the unit you have now.

        Hmm lots of INFO, :D

        Take care

        John

        Reply

  20. Hmmm.

    I did the EER calculation on the largest inverter unit as well, and end up with EER = 17,0. But a simple calculation from Cal/h to Kj/h gives a reslut of 21616 Kj/d and NOT 28150 as stated by Samsung, such as the same calculation on the unit you buy gives 11630 Kj/h. A control calculation on the 2Hp unit fits.
    Using the Cal/h to Kj/h, and EER, all units end around EER 13, which is the correct result.
    Strange what SAMSUNG did with these calculations. !!!.

    Have a nice day Carol and Bob.

    Greating from John Thede

    Reply

    • That is interesting John. I did not do the calculations on the other units — just the ASV12 we bought. It’s strange that Samsung does not list the EER of its units. The error would have been immediately obvious if they did, unless they have made a astounding engineering breakthrough! When ever I see vendor errors I am always interested to see if they benefit the seller or the buyer. The label on our unit says it uses 840 watts (not 850) to produce 11,630 kJ/hr. That’s a very respectable EER.

      Reply

      • (from John)

        Hi Bob.

        As far as i know the conversion between the “old” and new energy measuring system is 4,19. So 1 Cal = 4,19 Joule. So a simple multiplication from the Cal/h is obviously not easy for Samsung. :
        The Rotating compressor, or the SCROLL also called, Do have an effiency around 4 times the consumed effect. We measure the consumed and delivered effect in Watt, or Watt/h. That off cause depends on the pressure difference between suction and evaporation, but as long as its in the range, and the cooling refrigerant is suitable for the climatic, its the same all over. The SCROLL compressor dont have pistons, and thereby no loss of compression, valves, and working against the condensing pressure. Thereby the high EER, or effiency values.

        Only the precision with the manufactoring of the scroll parts give the performance, and im sure Samsung cant make it any better as Emerson who is the origin of the SCROLL compressor.

        I think its simply mistakes in the figures of Samsung, althoug i find it hardf to believe, taking in consideration how serious Japanees engineers is with their jobs, its almost reason for harakiri if something is wrong.

        I sold and delivered huge (up to 4 Mwatt high voltage motors) chillers for Mitsubishi, and they are really hard and strong to work with. Proud of their job and knowledge.

        In the end, EER around 13 is the right figure for all units, thereby degrading them to more correct cooling capacity.

        The inverter can use smaller scroll units, but instead run them over frequency, so in theory, run them up to 100 Hz, and as the scroll work even more efficient with higher speed, (Oil seal), that gives a better performance as well as saving energy, as it can scale down to the small unit when its needed.

        In the end, Samsung will just end up with their back against the wall when clients complains, so its not a good idea to produce better performance on the paper.

        Take care there.

        Greating from John.

        Ps.

        Ever thought about a chiller unit instead. Small cooling circuit. Chilled water float. Capacity used better for more rooms. Install a storage tank to take peak loads.

        Reply

  21. Wow. I learned some things here. Among other things, make them uncase the unit and read the manufacturer’s actual data plate before buying.

    I never would have given a thought to a company of the stature of Samsung misrepresenting capacities in their official catalog … but I will now. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think Samsung was trying to deceive. I think it’s just a mistake, but a serious mistake. There are other errors on the Samsung Philippines website, so I think there was some sloppiness. I never even thought of having to check the actual unit we were buying against the advertised specs. I was too trusting. It’s interesting that I did not see an EER rating on the Samsung website. If I had done the calculation, then it would have obvious that the unit’s EER was impossibly high and that the cooling capacity was way out of line with its competitors.

      I did complain to Samsung’s Philippine help center. They seemed surprised and concerned but as of now I have had no further follow up. At least I’d like to see the website corrected. If I don’t get satisfaction, I’ll write to Samsung in Korea. I have had very good luck writing directly to CEOs

      Reply

  22. Bob

    I got another suggestion, this one could sound a bit silly.

    This is how, I did check my rooms for wind draft.

    Pretty much your house and mines are using encasement windows, which is fine. What I’m trying to bring to the light is check the house for wind draft leaks.

    I did tested my house using a mosquito coil incense, close all the windows and doors and you will see for yourself the direction the wind-draft is moving. You have to do it in a windy day. Turn on the Ac’s and do the same test again.

    I’ll guarantee, you will said: “Dammit”!

    The solution is to seal the entering wind draft, they are responsible for most of your cooling factors. Our local Ace Hardware store are selling different kind of window and door seals.

    The other option is to tint the windows or setup window curtains, that helps in reducing heat and UV glare.

    Ceiling Fans do help re=circulate the air, my wife keeps telling to turn off the ceiling fan cause she is cold already! My room temperature is only 25c.

    I hope Samsung will change them for a bigger one, you will probably will have to shoulder the cost, maybe they will waiver the re-installation FEE!

    Take in consideration, that some AC units the installation varies on the size and cage of the copper tubing, such as: If I would choose a 1.5 instead of a 2.00 then the copper tubing is different.

    Each manufacture is different, but the installation stays the same, except for the copper tubing of each AC split unit.

    God Speed!

    Reply

    • David,

      There’s nothing silly in your suggestions! Thank you for them. I have actually been thinking along the same lines. Rather than getting a bigger unit, improve the room — window seals, door sweeps and using some leftover fiberglass insulation (leftover from insulating the roof) to insulate the ceiling and so forth. It will save money to make this 850 watt unit work rather than get a bigger unit — both long term (850 watts v. 1200 watts) and short term (extra cost of 2 HP unit.

      Bob

      Reply

  23. I beginning to like this Inventer split unit. Even @ 4200/mos Electric bill, I still save $300/mos. I need to convince my wife to down size and have a yard sale.
    David, that a good catch- extend condensate drain line to the ground, even a plastic tubing would do the job.

    Reply

  24. Robert

    Looking at those pictures, I do recommend you, that you extend the drainage line of your AC all the way to the floor away from the house walls. Mold will stain your wall paint living a nasty dry line.

    Reply

  25. I’m happy that you decided to buy a split unit with invertor technology.

    Honestly I own 3 units, all made by Panasonic, each cost me around 55 thousand pesos each with extended warranties, I’m talking about the 2.00 HP high end models, believe it or not, my Meralco bill is around 3000 or 3500 per month. I got the bills to prove it.

    Me and my wife only use only AC, during our night sleep. We use the setting of the most economic endurance at 24 degrees, cool enough to use a blanket. Panasonic uses a patent for those settings, they name it Eco patrol 1 or 2. They do save 60% and do have a real ER RATING of 16.
    I do use the timer to regulated the usage.

    To reduced the UV glare and some of the outside heat from entering through the glass, all the windows are tinted with 3MM film. In deciding in tinting our windows did made a difference during those so “hot” called winter days.

    Another thing that I did was to insulated all the doors and windows from wind draft all around the house.

    Knowing this remenber, remenber all my walls around our house are plasma walls with 1/4 insulation, that does keep the heat radiance from entering the pour concrete walls. No hollow blocks in my property.

    I do own 6 ceiling fans, that helps keeping the house cooler during the day. Were we lived is real windy all the time, when we open the windows the air circulates as a wind tunnel.

    Reply

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your report. We wish we had bought Panasonic units. We did as much online research as possible before making our purchase. The Panasonic 1.5HP inverters had a cooling capacity of 11,020kJ/hr. The Samsung web site indicated (and still does) that the Samsung 1.5HP inverter had a cooling capacity of 13,649.1kJ/hr. Since our master bedroom is fairly large, we thought the extra cooling capacity would be important.

      After Samsung the units were installed and I was painting the mounting bracket I saw a label which gave the cooling capacity as 11,630kJ/hr. The slightly smaller capacity Panasonic uses 820 watts whereas the Samsung uses 840 watts. If we had known that the cooling capacity was so close, we would have paid the P3,000 or so more for the Panasonic.

      The Samsung units seem to work well but I am annoyed by the “bait and switch”. Time will tell.

      Reply

  26. @ first, I thought you guys were talking $dollars, whew!
    I have a 4 bedroom, 2200sq. ft house in Jacksonville, Fl. My water & electric bills average $400. If I settle for smaller house in The Philippines, I probably consume a lot less KWH.

    Reply

  27. Some good detailed info on air con units, Bob. I broke down and got one last April for our home in Guimaras, a 1/2 Carrier unit for about P14,000. We just have it in our bedroom, and I can finally get a good night’s sleep. Our electric bill ran at P1500 last month, but we didn’t need the air con much, and have a much smaller home than yours. The electric has been as high as 3,500 during the hotter months of April and June, however.

    Reply

    • Hi Dave,

      Yes, those hot months are just around the corner and we’ll get to see what it costs to use the air con as we know our base amount is about 300KWH and P3,000 with no air con. We only set the air con to 27 or 28C so the units are really not doing that much work. My favorite use for air con is for my afternoon nap! What a luxury.

      Bob

      Reply

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