Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog warned Tuesday that some of the window air-conditioners on the market do not measure up to advertised claims in terms of cooling capacity and energy efficiency.
The Consumer Council said tests on 15 air-conditioner models (1-horsepower window-type) conducted recently revealed a disparity in six cases with regard to the manufacturers’ claims, as laid out in the product labeling, and the actual performance when it came to cooling efficiency.
All the 15 models carried the Grade 1 efficiency label, the highest on a scale of 1 to 5 under the government’s Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme, but only nine actually measured up to the standard, it said.
Five models were found to be Grade 2 instead of Grade 1 they claimed to be, according to a press release from the watchdog.
Meanwhile, one product, Hitachi RA-10MDF, which was the most expensive model among the tested models with a price tag of HK$5,280, could justify for only Grade 3, with its CSPF standing at only 2.62, the Council said.
To be qualified for the Grade 1 label, an air conditioning product must have a cooling seasonal performance factor (CSPF) higher than 3.
CSPF is a ratio of the annual total heat removal to total energy consumption; the higher the value the better the energy efficiency.
The tests also found all but one sample falling short of the claimed cooling capacity by 1.7 percent to 7.1 percent.
Although the discrepancy was within the acceptable limit (10 percent) of the Code of Practice on Energy Labelling of Products and international practices, the watchdog stressed that manufacturers are obligated to give consumers accurate information.
In terms of overall performance, eight models were given 4 points in terms of their overall performance, with 5 being the full mark. Six models were given 3.5 points.
As the priciest sample mentioned above was rated most poorly with only 3 points while the lowest priced sample, Frostar FR-S9 (HK$2,880), was among one of the top performers, it shows that price is not necessarily indicative of quality, the watchdog said.
Both energy efficiency and cooling capacity are important because they have a direct impact on electricity bill charges, it noted.
The Council’s calculation showed that if a family runs the air conditioner for 180 days a year, 12 hours a day, the annual electricity costs of the samples, based on a unit cost of HK$1.2, vary from HK$917 to HK$1,106, a difference of up to HK$189.
The test results have been forwarded to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department for follow-up action.
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