Are you tired of spending way too much money on running your air conditioning? But maybe you just can’t see yourself giving up the A/C completely? Here are some tips for running your air con efficiently AND saving money on those monthly bills.
Want to know how much your A/C costs to run? You can calculate your annual appliance running costs on the Government of South Australia website.
You don’t need to be freezing, you just need to be comfortable!
We know it’s hot, but that doesn’t mean you need to set your thermostat to 15 degrees! Set the temperature to the highest you can stand. The best temperatures to go by are about 25ºC in summer and 19ºC in winter. Even a small adjustment to your usual temperature can make a big difference to your monthly bills. According to Ergon, every one degree cooler in summer adds around 10% to the amount of electricity the aircon uses, and this can add up really quickly!
Maintain your A/C unit
Making sure that your air conditioning unit is properly maintained can not only make your air conditioner more efficient, it can also reduce your electricity bill. What can you do? At the very least, make sure that the filter is regularly cleaned or replaced (you should be cleaning it about once a month) and dust the vents and any exterior components often. If you don’t have the time (or the inclination) to keep your air conditioner well-maintained, have a professional carry out a service.
Close your windows and curtains
Close your windows and curtains and blinds when using your aircon, as a window that lets in sunshine will heat up the thermostat and force your aircon to work harder than necessary to cool your room. Closing the curtains/blinds also insulates the space and stops the cold air from escaping.
Location is key
The location of your air conditioner has a big impact on its energy efficiency. If you rent a property you don’t have much control over your A/C positioning, you can skip this tip!
While it may seem convenient to place your unit in a position that won’t tarnish the exterior of your home, your unit should be in a shady spot that is away from direct sunlight, and it should not be obstructed by any plants/shrubs or other objects. Although A/C units aren’t the prettiest accompaniments to your home, making sure the outdoor unit is free to breathe will improve its ventilation and make sure it runs efficiently. Also, make sure the thermostat is positioned away from any other appliances that create heat – if the thermostat gets hot, it won’t control the temperature properly.
Put it on ‘dry’ mode
Not all air conditioning units have a dry feature, but if yours does, you will see a small water drop symbol as well as the common snowflake. Dry mode lowers warm temperatures by reducing the humidity in the air, and is particularly helpful in tropical climates where the humidity is awful but the temperature isn’t actually too bad.
Dry mode uses much less energy than cool mode because the compressor runs at a slower pace. How does dry mode work? Well, the aircon doesn’t actually blow out any cold air. Instead, it works like a dehumidifier – the air in the room passes through the A/C unit and the water vapour condenses on the evaporator. Dry air then exits the unit and flows back into the room. Using dry mode is a really effective way to keep your home temperature comfortable.
A few more air conditioning tips…
- Don’t run the aircon unless it’s really necessary
- Turn the A/C off (or up the temperature) overnight
- Try to only cool the room to 8 degrees lower than the outside temperature
- If possible, don’t do things that will increase the room’s humidity (i.e. avoid taking a hot shower, using a dryer or cooking a roast!)
- Use ceiling fans! Fans use much less energy than air conditioning units. When used in tandem with your A/C, fans also circulate the cool air and make the room feel much cooler (even when your aircon is blowing at a reasonable 25ºC).