Do you want to live off-grid, reduce your energy costs in retirement, or work toward building a net-zero home? If so, the first place to look is at your climate control, which accounts for an average of 43% of a home’s utility bills, and often more for emissions!
Fortunately, technology has come a long way in recent years, offering more options than ever to save on heating and cooling. Today, we’re going to talk about one popular product; the HotSpot Energy ACDC12C solar air conditioner!
What Is the HotSpot Energy ACDC12C?
While the ACDC12C is considered a solar-powered air conditioner, it is technically a heat pump. If you aren’t familiar with heat pumps, they are not just for heating, but also for cooling. They do this by finding the heat inside your home, pumping it outside, and blowing cool air back into your home.
See, because they are heat pumps, they can also be used to heat your home by using the opposite process. Even in cold temperatures, heat pump condensers can find heat within the air, isolate it, and pump it into your home.
Also, while they are called solar air conditioners, they are actually hybrids. The ACDC12C can run using the grid or with solar energy, and we suggest hooking it up to both for the best performance.
Heating and Cooling Capacity
With one 12,000BTU solar AC unit, you can heat or cool up to 750 sq ft with one unit. When you consider that this takes away from your on-grid heating bill and operating costs for your air conditioning, this can save a lot of money on utilities throughout the year.
While heat pumps are often criticized for not working sufficiently in severe weather conditions or cloudy days, the HotSpot Energy ACDC12C will cool sufficiently from 20F to 125F (6.66C to 51.6C) and heat sufficiently from 5F to 86F (-15C to 30C) for up to 750 sq ft.
What Is Included?
The system comes in two major pieces. The outdoor condenser and the HotSpot Energy mini split, which is the cooling unit. On top of that, you’ll also find the:
3-meter copper refrigerant line set
Pre-wired cable to interconnect the indoor and outdoor units
Liner kit and sealant for the wall penetration
Wireless remote control
The outdoor condenser and the mini-split are the two largest components, making up for the majority of the weight. The rest is for installation and ease of use.
The indoor unit is only 34” x 8” x 12” (86 x 20 x 30.5 cm), meaning that it will fit on almost any wall. The system only weighs 22 pounds (10 kg), making it easy for self-installation, as long as you can find a wall stud for sturdy mounting. More on that later.
Conversely, the outdoor unit is a little larger, at 34” x 13” x 22” (86 x 33 x 55.8 cm) and 71 pounds (32.2 kg). The specs and number of solar panels will depend on the systems you purchase separately from the unit.
HotSpot Energy Solar Panel Review
The original system is usually run with 3 solar panels between 290W and 375W, and the system can use up to 6 at a time. These are directly connected (with DC power) to your ACDC12C outdoor unit, which can also accept AC charging from your home’s energy grid. That energy is then converted and used to power the mini-split inside your home.
HotSpot has multiple panels to choose from that are compatible with this solar system. Let’s talk about how effective they are and see if they’re worth the price!
Can the ACDC12C Run on Solar Exclusively?
The HotSpot Energy ACDC12C needs around 600 continuous watts for heating and 544W for cooling. With the solar panels that come with the kit, you should have no problem using the air conditioning on a sunny day, even without a wall outlet.
Of course, you can always plug the system in as a backup, but with up to 975W of continuous power, the AC should have no trouble drawing enough energy, even on a cloudy day.
While 600W is the average consumption for heating, let’s assume you live in an extreme environment.
Buying cutting-edge technology like this is never cheap upfront. However, solar energy is free once you own the panels, allowing you to dramatically lower your climate control costs and carbon footprint over time.
Cooling alone accounted for 16% of energy consumption, and with rising temperatures, that is expected to get worse. Believe it or not, heating accounts for as much as 50% of global energy consumption, so reducing these costs can go a long way for your budget and the planet!
For a realistic example, if you currently spend $1,000 or more to heat your home every year and another $500 to cool your home, then reducing these costs by 80% could mean the system pays for itself after only two years. Every year after that, you’ll continue to save money.
What About Nighttime?
Worried about solar energy wearing off at night and still having to cool a hot home? Preventing heat buildup during the day will dramatically reduce the need for cooling at night, and the hybrid system still allows you to use AC power as needed.
If you intend to rely on the HotSpot Energy system for heat, then you may need a solar battery to offset your energy needs. Otherwise, you will have to rely on the grid at night.
HotSpot Energy ACDC12C Installation & Maintenance
The HotSpot Energy ACDC12C is a ductless heating/cooling system that’s relatively easy to install and maintain. The ductless system also allows for reduced heat and cooling loss, making it far more efficient and even easier to install. Here’s what you need to know about installing your solar air conditioner!
Installing the Mini Split
Installing the mini-split on your wall is not too difficult. Find a space on the wall that:
Will not be exposed to heat or steam
Is at least 3 feet from any electronic devices
Is not near a doorway
Allows the drainage tube access to a convenient drain route
Is away from direct sunlight
Avoids other obstructions
From there, you will simply need to level the wall mounts using a long enough level or other marker (tape measure and pencil, chalk line, etc.), drill them in, and install your mounts using the “type A” screws in your package. If you have any concerns, refer to the instruction manual that comes with the system!
Installing the Outdoor Unit
Find a spot outside that is close to your home where you can reach the mini-split with the designated cables. Open up your instruction manual for reference and look at the section for the outdoor unit. This part is pretty straightforward, but you will need to carry the system there, which may be a two-person job.
The space you use will need to be ideal for noise and away from any flammable gas. For tools, you’ll need a drill, the right bits, and an adjustable wrench.
From there, all you will have to do is connect these to both an AC outlet and your solar panel system, using an MC4 cable that should come with your solar panel kit.
Whether you’re at home in an off-grid cabin, your roof is the ideal place for your solar panels. Panels on your roof are less likely to face obstructions, get in the way of your family or guests, or take up valuable space on your property. They can even help protect your roof from wear and tear over time!
However, we understand if you don’t prefer to put them on your roof. The only concern is finding a space that receives enough sunlight, is within reach, and won’t cause any obstructions.
Also, assuming you live in the northern hemisphere, you want your solar panels to point slightly southwest. There were claims that solar panels facing west produce more energy than facing south, but that is only during the average peak energy time. For more energy throughout the day, your panels will need to face true south!
Maintain Your System
As we said, these are very low-maintenance air conditioners. However, like any mini-split, heat pump, or AC, you will need to change the filter periodically for the best results. We recommend changing them once a month or once every other month while in use for the best results and to monitor its performance throughout the summer and winter!
HotSpot Energy ACDC12C Review
So, we’ve heard a lot of numbers about the most popular HotSpot Energy AC, but how does it really perform over time? Well, here’s our honest review!
As we mentioned, HotSpot Energy uses a ductless system that limits energy waste. The ACDC12C unit has an official SEER 22 rating, which is the maximum efficiency rating for air conditioners. The vast majority of modern ACs run between 13 and 21 SEER.
Even without solar panels, you're still bound to save money on your electricity bills. The HotSpot Energy ACDC12C runs at around 540W on average, and 819W for the ACDC18C. Many window AC units require 1400W or more, which is enough power to run two solar air conditioning units without panels.
Not only are old window units unsightly, but they’re also noisy. The HotSpot Energy ACDC12C creates a low and consistent humming noise, and it’s barely noticeable on your wall.
If you want to get technical, the decibels for each setting are 41 for high, 38 for medium, and 32 for low. Compare that to the average window unit, which runs at 54 decibels.
Now, if that doesn’t sound like a big difference and you don’t know how decibels work, 60 decibels is twice as much as 50, 50 is twice as much as 40, and so on. The good news is that means that you'll cut the noise by factors of 2 or 3.
Solar Panel Review
The HotSpot Energy solar panels are fantastic. However, you don’t have to purchase them if you want to use solar panels you already own or if you want to purchase them separately.
We strongly recommend using at least 3 panels with 72 cells or more. If you use 60-cell panels, use a minimum of 4 at a time. If you’re using enough of them and they are set up properly, then you shouldn’t have any issues!
These systems have built-in SeaSpray Anti-Corrosion technology that’s built for a long life even in coastal areas with salty mist, saline fog, or other common components of corrosion, which is the greatest threat to ACs and heat pumps. You can expect these systems to last for a long time.
As we discussed, the price pays for itself in no time. Is a heat pump mini split that works for full-year climate control going to cost more than an old wall AC? Of course.
However, you get what you pay for. The ACDC12C is a long-term investment that can last a lifetime with proper care, dramatically reducing your energy bills, and saving you plenty of money in the long run.
Also, you may receive a federal tax credit for using clean energy in your home. Adding residential solar power systems to your home will make you less dependent on the electricity grid, and possibly save you money on taxes. Energy savings and tax savings; it's a win-win!
Buy a HotSpot Energy ACDC12C Today!
Now that you know all about the HotSpot Energy ACDC12, you can see why it’s the best-selling solar air conditioner on the market. Whether you live off the grid or you want to reduce your energy consumption, this is a great year-round tool for home climate control.
Stay up to date with our latest product reviews and tips, and feel free to buy a solar air conditioner today with a price match guarantee and free shipping in the United States and Canada!