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Solar air conditioner: an overview of options

Block the heat with a solar air conditioner. Here's your guide to different options.

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Are you ready for a solar air conditioner? Photo by Junior Henry. on Flickr.If you're researching for a solar air conditioner, you're probably interested in finding out exactly how solar energy works and how it can help you use alternative power when you set up a home cooling system.

Solar air-cooling systems can be a great choice if you're looking for ways to practice green air conditioning. 

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About 5 percent of all of the energy produced in the United States each year is used by air conditioners. This usage creates 140 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Fossil fuel is the most commonly used energy source, supplying up to 85 percent of the fuel that's expended. Fossil fuel accounts for roughly 80 percent of the greenhouse gas emitted.

Temperatures have only been getting hotter over the years, so it stands to reason that there will be an increased demand for air conditioning. Many people are on the hunt for renewable sources of energy. This is where a solar air conditioner comes in. It uses the sun's energy to power a cooling system without the negative effects of traditional sources of fuel. 

Hybrid solar air conditioner

A hybrid solar air conditioner system is one that combines photovoltaic technology with a direct current. If you install this type of solar AC system in your home, you'll be using a system that switches back and forth between battery power and solar power.

If you put it into hybrid mode, its batteries will charge when the sun is bright. When sunlight is limited, the unit will use backup battery power and use an alternating current to charge up the battery.

Evaporative cooler

An evaporative cooler works by alternately cooling and heating water via the condensation and evaporation process. Also called solar-powered absorption chillers, these units cool the air in your home by blowing it over material that's been saturated with water. The sun powers the unit's fan and motor.

The great thing about this type of solar air conditioner is that, thanks to its chiller option, it's able to continue cooling your home for hours after a power failure. This makes it ideal if a power outage occurs during a heat wave.

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If you decide to install air conditioner units in your home and you're considering a solar-powered unit, ask an HVAC contractor for a solar air conditioner estimate that includes installation. Air conditioner prices may seem high when it comes to up-front costs, but solar units can easily pay for themselves over time. Choose a unit that has a great warranty so that you have backup in case something goes wrong with the unit.

Check out Reply! for more information about solar air conditioners and other HVAC resources. It could help you save money and save the planet.

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Photo credit: Junior Henry. via Compfight CC.