The Chill Factor

Cool facts about gadgets that help you beat the heat without denting your utility bill

Issue: Apr 2013

There are other ways to stay cool without resorting to the air-conditioner which can be an energy guzzler
There are other ways to stay cool without resorting to the air-conditioner which can be an energy guzzler

Fact: the air-conditioner is one of the most energy-heavy home appliances you will ever own. Fact: every time you set your air-conditioner one degree lower, you are increasing your electricity bill by 10 per cent. So, increasing the air-conditioning temperature by just five degrees (25 degrees Celsius versus 20 degrees) will almost half your bill.

Despite being one of modern living’s better inventions, the air-conditioner is neither friendly to the pocket nor the planet. We check out some other gadgets that can help you stay cool and give you the pros and cons.

The Dyson Air Multiplier Bladeless Fans work like jet engines, sucking air in before blowing it out
The Dyson Air Multiplier Bladeless Fans work like jet engines, sucking air in before blowing it out
Photo credit: www.dyson.com

Stay Cool

Besides the air-conditioner, the next best thing that can help beat the heat is the fan. Since the first fan made its appearance in the late 19th century, fan technology has improved tremendously. One of the more interesting creations of late is the bladeless fan. Traditional fans rely on rotating blades to generate wind. A bladeless fan works like a jet engine, sucking air into a cyclone accelerator that amplifies the air 15 to 18 times before blowing it out over an airfoil-shaped ramp.

Because there are no blades, the air stream is smooth; cleaning the fan is a cinch; and there is no fear of damage or injury caused by spinning blades. On the flip side, bladeless fans cost upwards of S$500 while conventional ones can go for as low as under S$50.

Another type of fan that is catching on is the mist fan. These fans have special high pressure pumps that generate water pressure. Combined with nozzles, they reduce the water to tiny droplets. When the droplets come into contact with air and sunlight, they become a fine mist. As the mist evaporates, it cools the air that is blown out.

(Left) Mist Fans like these Sansui ones use evaporating mist to cool the air; (Right) The Delonghi EV 100 Evaporative Cooler is an energy-saving alternative to the air-conditioner
(Left) Mist Fans like these Sansui ones use evaporating mist to cool the air; (Right) The Delonghi EV 100 Evaporative Cooler is an energy-saving alternative to the air-conditioner

Courts and Gain City carry a selection of mist fans from brands like Mistral, Iona, Sansui and Sona. When shopping for a mist fan, make sure you listen hard. Some powerful fans are also very noisy and what may seem acceptable at a crowded store may become intolerable in a quiet home. While they are more expensive than conventional fans, you can easily get one for under S$200.

Although not as popular, an alternative to the fan and the air-conditioner is the evaporative cooler. Like the mist fan, it cools the air through the evaporation of water. Harvey Norman has the Delonghi EV 100 Evaporative Cooler which comes with a timer and a remote control. Evaporative coolers need a constant water source to work though. So they may not be as convenient to use.

Eat Cool

Refrigerators like the LG GR-P267FSN that dispense cold water and ice helps to save energy by reducing the need to open the refrigerator door
Refrigerators like the LG GR-P267FSN that dispense cold water and ice helps to save energy by reducing the need to open the refrigerator door

If staying cool from without is not enough, try staying cool from within. Brands like LG and Panasonic which can be found at Best Denki are among those which have refrigerators that dispense cold water and ice. The advantage of such refrigerators is that you do not have to open the refrigerator every time you need a cold drink. This reduces energy wastage because every time the refrigerator is opened as much of seven per cent of energy is used up. According to some estimates, leaving the refrigerator door opened while you pour a drink can use up to 50kWh of energy a year or enough energy to run a washing machines 50 times.

If you are inclined to be more creative in the kitchen, there are a slew of appliances that can help you make cool treats. The most popular is the ice-cream maker. There are a few brands that can be found at Best Denki and Courts like Kenwood and Philips. Harvey Norman stocks up on Lenoxx ice-cream makers which come in either Ben 10 or Dora the Explorer designs.

Whatever the make, there are some things to consider when you want to buy an ice-cream maker. The first is the capacity of the ice-cream maker. Not all ice-cream makers are the same size. The amount of ice-cream you can make also depends on the extras you add into your ice-cream. So a 1.5 litre ice-cream maker may not give you exactly 1.5 litres of ice-cream if you choose to add nuts, chocolates and other goodies into your creation.

Lenoxx has ice-cream makers that come in either Dora the Explorer or Ben 10 designs that will surely thrill the children
Lenoxx has ice-cream makers that come in either Dora the Explorer or Ben 10 designs that will surely thrill the children

Most ice-cream makers give you regular ice-cream but Cuisinart Mix It In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker churns out soft serve ice-cream. Because the machine uses a freezer bowl to freeze the product, the bowl has to be frozen solid to get the results you want. The 1.5 litre bowl makes about six to eight regular-sized servings. So if you are catering to a larger crowd, you need to re-freeze the bowl for a good half an hour before you can continue. In addition, with soft serves, the ice-cream has to be eaten once it is made. Freezing the leftovers will affect the texture of the ice-cream.

(Left) Cuisinart Mix It In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker comes with three separate compartment that dispense toppings; (Right) The Yonana Frozen Ice-cream Maker turns your frozen banana into a soft serve dessert that is as creamy as ice-cream
(Left) Cuisinart Mix It In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker comes with three separate compartment that dispense toppings; (Right) The Yonana Frozen Ice-cream Maker turns your frozen banana into a soft serve dessert that is as creamy as ice-cream

For the health conscious, there is the Yonana Frozen Ice-cream Maker. Simply feed a frozen peeled banana into the machine and it will churn the fruit into a dessert resembling a soft serve ice-cream. For variety, you can add in other ingredients like fruits, nuts and even chocolate. The creamy concoction that comes out really resembles ice-cream minus the sugar, cream and calories. But you must be a banana-lover to like this appliance because only bananas can be used as the base ingredient.

It takes just a little more effort and imagination to beat the heat without the trusty air-conditioner. But there is no shortage of gadgets to help you. So, here’s wishing you a cool time chilling out!

Shop with us...

Best Denki
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8
#03-02
Singapore 579837
Tel: (65) 6258 8488
www.bestdenki.com.sg
Best Denki
2 Jurong East Street 21
IMM Building
#02-01/07
Singapore 609601
Tel: (65) 6564 4022
www.bestdenki.com.sg

Best Denki
68 Orchard Road
Plaza Singapura
#04-12B
Singapore 238839
Tel: (65) 6336 8218
www.bestdenki.com.sg
Harvey Norman
252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre
#03-22/23
Singapore 179103
Tel: (65) 339 6777
www.harveynorman.com.sg

Harvey Norman
109 North Bridge Road
Funan Digitalife Mall
#B1-01
Singapore 179097
Tel: (65) 6334 5432
www.harveynorman.com.sg
Courts
109 North Bridge Road
Funan Digitalife Mall
#03-10/12/13
Singapore 179097
Tel: 1800-222 6868
www.courts.com.sg

Courts
1 Vista Exchange Green
The Star Vista
#01-14/15/16
Singapore 138617
Tel: 1800-222 6868
www.courts.com.sg
Courts
21 Chua Chu Kang Ave 4
Lot One
#03-01
Singapore 689812
Tel: 1800-222 6868
www.courts.com.sg

Courts
3 Tampines Central 5
Tampines Mall
#03-25
Singapore 529510
Tel: 1800-222 6868
www.courts.com.sg
Gain City
2 Jurong East Street 21
IMM Building
#03-14
Singapore 609601
Tel: (65) 6569 1212
www.gaincity.com

Comments
User Donald
188.143.234.X | 2016-02-14 20:06:49
daughter has the idea that reading the neepaspwr or a book is not relaxing for me. I must watch television, but it must be a show of her choosing. I was just out weeding the raspberry patch (weeds higher than my head. In Seattle if you turn around for 5 minutes giant weeds sprout up out of every surface and threaten to engulf the house) and my daughter and her girlfriend called me in for a special treat. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that every surface of the kitchen was covered with supplies; the floor had what looked like bloody (hopefully raspberry juice) footprints on it; sink was full of dishes. They sat me at the table, and using her best announcer voice (combo of Inspector Clouseau and Inspector Who) served me a raw kale salad dressed with olive juice, plain water colored dark blue with cherries (unpitted) in it, and a freezer-burned yogurt pop and room temperature chocolate-strawberry-raspberry milkshake (I'm dairy intolerant). As I plowed through the special treat, they serenaded and danced. And then they left me with the dishes. Because that's very relaxing. And special.
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