Having an air conditioner running on a hot day can make your life much more pleasant and comfortable, but over a blistering summer it can push up your electricity bills more than you might like! Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help keep the cost of running your air conditioner as low as possible.
Simple tips for efficient operation
- Set the thermostat between 24-27°C. According to Energy Australia, every one degree higher on a home air conditioning unit can reduce running costs by as much as 10%. Turning the temperature down very low also makes a cooling system run less efficiently than it otherwise would.
- Open up windows overnight and close in the day. By opening up your place at night you can cool it naturally. This can be particularly effective if you can create a cross breeze by opening up both sides. During the day, closing up windows and blinds early can considerably reduce solar heat entry.
- Make use of ceiling and upright fans. Try periodically switching off your air conditioner and using fans instead, as they are very cheap to run while still bringing some relief.
- Keep your air conditioner in good condition for maximum efficiency. This includes regular filter cleaning and removing debris and dirt from your outside unit. Shading of external components from direct sun also helps to improve efficiency.
- Make use of your system’s features such as modes, timers and zoning to avoid unnecessary use.
- If a heatwave lasting several days has been forecast, switch on your cooling the night before it arrives to pre-cool your home.
- Seal up gaps and holes in your home to prevent loss of cooled air. This also reduces loss of warmed air in the winter time if you run reverse cycle air conditioning in your home.
More complex solutions
If these measures are not having the impact you would like, you might need to consider some more involved solutions. These may include replacing your ceiling insulation, installing a roof ventilation system to expel heat, painting your walls a lighter colour to deflect heat, installing double-glazed windows, or replacing your roof with a newer one if it is old or damaged.
External shading can also be very effective, reducing sun penetration by as much as 90%, according to the federal government’s Your Home website. In Melbourne, this is especially important on north and east-facing walls and windows. Some of the options include external awnings, shutters, louvres, pergolas, and deciduous trees.
If your air conditioning system is more than ten years’ old, you should also consider replacing it with a newer and more efficient model. Make sure when purchasing a new air conditioner that you opt for one with the highest number of energy stars you can afford, as this will also help reduce your running costs considerably over time.
Contact us at Staycool if you would like more information or a quote on air conditioner installation in Melbourne.