Reduce your air conditioning costs this summer
As the weather heats up, homes all over Queensland will turn on air conditioning for the first time in a few months to cool down. Some of you may be worried about a large energy bill with the increased consumption caused by the air conditioner.
Keeping home cooling costs low doesn’t have to be difficult. Adopting a few good home air conditioning habits can help you run your air conditioner more efficiently and save money.
Here’s a few tips to help you stay cool while saving money and carbon.
Turn off your aircon when you’re out
Let’s face it, if you’re out, you’re probably in a cooled office or school. This means there’s no point in using electricity to reduce the temperature in an empty home.
If you love to come home to a chilled house or apartment after your evening commute, then set the aircon to start an hour or so before you arrive. Another way to keeping your home cool during the day is to prevent it from gaining heat by closing curtains and blinds. In this way, there’s not so much work for your aircon to do when it does start.
If you’re working or learning from home, you can still reduce your cooling costs
If you’re at home all day, then you can still reduce your cooling costs by closing curtains, blinds and doors so that you only need to cool the rooms you’re using. Once the sun goes down, you can open the windows and doors to let some cool evening air in and give your aircon a bit of a rest.
Avoid using your aircon at peak times
There’s a spike in demand for aircon between 5.00pm and 6.00pm as people return home and this spike is powered primarily by grid power. Not only is this peak demand expensive in dollars, it’s also expensive in terms of carbon.
A good way around this is to use your cooling for an hour or so between 2.30pm and 4.30pm and then turn it off until 7.00pm. By 7.00pm the sun is down and, if you’ve closed doors and windows, you can usually make it through until then.
If you have solar panels powering your aircon during the early-to-mid afternoon, you’ll be using the power directly from them – this means you’re avoiding paying for grid power and reducing your carbon. This is especially effective if you’re in a time-of-use area or contract as you’re not using grid electricity when it’s at its most expensive.
Using your air conditioner effectively
With these helpful hints, you can get the most out of your air conditioning system for the least amount of money.
Maintain a temperature of 24°C or 18°C
Maintaining the temperature setting at around 24°C in the summer and around 18°C in the winter ensures that your system is operating at peak efficiency. Any change in these settings can add significantly to your energy bills over time.
Unused rooms should be turned off
Close off unused areas of the home – for example, if bedrooms are rarely used during the day, close the doors to keep cooling/heating to areas that are in use. When living areas are empty at night, the opposite is true.
Use ducted air conditioning zones
If you have a ducted air conditioning system, use the zoning system by turning off zones that are not in use and closing doors to these areas.
Performing routine air conditioner maintenance
Regular servicing and maintenance are required to keep your air conditioner’s operating costs low. Clean filters and properly functioning components allow the air conditioner to run at peak efficiency. We recommend that cool-only models be serviced once a year, and reverse cycle air conditioners be serviced twice a year.
Change the unit to Economy Mode
Many air conditioners have a ‘Economy Mode’ setting that limits the unit’s power consumption, lowering operating costs.
Use ceiling fans to increase the efficiency of your air conditioner. The ceiling fan can assist in redistributing already cooled or warmed air throughout the room, relieving pressure on the AC system.
Use the Sleep Mode
Use your air conditioner’s ‘Sleep Mode’ or timers to cool and heat your home at night. This feature ensures a restful night’s sleep by providing economical heating/cooling control.
When we are sleeping, our bodies require less cooling. The ‘Sleep Mode’ on your air conditioner will automatically regulate the air around you throughout the night and raise the temperature by 0.5 to 1 degree per hour, up to a maximum of +3 degrees (depending on your air conditioning model). This way, the unit does not have to work as hard or be completely turned off for you to have a restful night’s sleep.
Purchasing a high-efficiency air conditioner
You can help ensure that your air conditioning system is efficient throughout its life by paying attention to a few key points when shopping for a new unit.
- Choose a unit with a human sensor – This feature detects when there is no one in the room for a predetermined amount of time (usually 20 minutes) and switches the air conditioner to Energy Saving Mode, lowering your home climate control costs.
- Choose an inverter system – Rather than the unit turning on and off continuously, the inverter gently increases or decreases the output of the air conditioner to maintain a comfortable temperature in the room (which uses more power).
- Seek professional assistance – Sorting through the plethora of air conditioning options can be perplexing to say the least. An experienced air conditioning technician can give you specific advice on which unit will work best in your home or business, is the right size, and will keep your operating costs to a minimum.
- Make sure the unit is the correct size for the space you want to cool/heat. A unit that is too small will have to work very hard to maintain a consistent temperature in the room, consuming more power. Alternatively, an oversized system for the room will consume more energy than is necessary.
- Select an air conditioner with a high energy efficiency rating. More information about air conditioning energy ratings and how to compare them can be found at energyrating.gov.au.
Combat air conditioning consumption with solar energy
Don’t be afraid to turn on your air conditioner this summer – stay cool while lowering your energy bills and carbon footprint. Solar energy is the best way to keep your energy bills low during the hot summer months.
Book a free energy assessment today!