How to Save Money with an Air Conditioner
We love Australian summers but things can get a little too hot sometimes. That’s when air conditioning is invaluable to keep you and your family cool and comfortable. However, it can be expensive to run if you’re not careful so here are a few tips to save you money without having to be too careful about when you do and don’t have it running.
1. Set the Right Temperature
Setting the thermostat one degree warmer can cut electricity costs for air conditioning by 10% so having the correct temperature can be crucial in saving you money.
You clearly want to be comfortable but that doesn’t mean having the temperature so cool you have to wear warm clothes to compensate.
One recommendation is to set the thermostat 8⁰C less than the outside temperature so the system isn’t overworked or to aim for a comfortable 22-24⁰C.
2. Only When Needed
There is a temptation to have the air conditioning on permanently and use the thermostat to determine how it runs. That can be a costly method and it’s estimated that 2.3 million Australians leave the system running when they’re out, costing $222 million annually.
Turn it off when you’re not at home and at night when you go to bed. You don’t need the same temperature when you’re asleep and the nights are cooler; so open some windows instead to take advantage of any breeze.
3. Cool the Property in other Ways
Although air conditioning may be indispensable when the weather’s really hot, there are cheaper ways to keep the temperature down. One of these is to use the natural shade provided by trees, which can keep the worst of the heat out of your living areas if planted correctly. If you have no trees around your property, awnings can do a comparable job.
Curtains and blinds will have a similar effect because they prevent the interior of rooms heating up too much if they’re closed to prevent the sun entering. Even better are external shutters since the sun is kept from heating the windows.
A fan will also help to cool the property at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. Although not as effective, a fan is more concentrated on a particular person or area.
4. Keep the Cool Air In
The natural reaction when the weather is hot is to open doors and windows to get air flowing through. If the air conditioning’s on, however, that’s the last thing you should do because the cooled air will escape and be replaced by hot air from outside.
Instead, keep doors and windows firmly closed so the cool air you’ve created will circulate within the property. Good insulation, such as draught-proofed doors and double-glazed windows will also help.
5. Power Off Heat Emitting Devices
We’ve all got gadgets these days and the tendency is to leave most running when not needed. They will continue to use power and to emit heat so it’s good practice to switch off anything you’re not using. This includes televisions, lights, computers and anything that’s not needed.
The biggest culprit is the oven so limit its use. Eat more salads in summer and barbecue outside so you generate less heat inside.
6. Regular Maintenance for Efficient Operation
Like any equipment, your air conditioning will work less well if it’s not properly maintained. At the very least, clean your filters every few weeks because, if they’re clogged with dirt, the system will have to work harder to achieve the right temperature and will use more electricity. Eventually, the system will stop working altogether and the cost of repairs will be much more than if you undertake regular maintenance.
7. Get the Right System
Although we left this point until last, this is probably the most important point of all. While getting a good system from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, it also needs to be the correct size. Too small and it won’t be able to cool the area and will work too hard trying, too big and you’re paying for capacity you don’t need.
At Project HVAC, we’ll ensure you get the perfect system and can maintain it regularly. That way, it will always operate at peak efficiency and keep your costs as low as possible.