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The Impact of Residential Air Conditioner Charging and Sizing on Peak Electrical Demand
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Electric utilities have had a number of air conditioner rebate and maintenance programs for many years. The purpose of these programs was to improve the efficiency of the stock of air conditioning equipment and provide better demand-side management. This paper examines the effect of refrigerant charging (proper servicing of the equipment), system sizing, and efficiency on the steady-state, coincident peak utility demand of a residential central air conditioning system. The study is based on the results of laboratory tests of a three-ton, capillary tube expansion, split-system air conditioner, system capacity and efficiency data available from manufacturer's literature, and assumptions about relative sizing of the equipment to cooling load on a residence. A qualitative discussion is provided concerning the possible impacts of transient operation and total energy use on utility program decisions. The analysis indicates that proper sizing of the unit is the largest factor affecting energy demand of the three factors (sizing, charging, and efficiency) studied in this paper. For typical oversizing of units to cooling loads in houses, both overcharging and undercharging showed significant negative impact on peak demand. The impacts of SEER changes in utility peak demand were found to be virtually independent of oversizing. For properly sized units, there was a small peak benefit to higher efficiency air conditioners.
SubjectCentral Air Conditioning System
Neal, L.; O'Neal, D. L. (1992). The Impact of Residential Air Conditioner Charging and Sizing on Peak Electrical Demand. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.eslwin.tamu.edu). Available electronically from