With Adelaide sweltering through our hottest December night since 1897, hitting a fourth day straight of heatwave conditions, many SA residents are understandably keen to learn how they can help reduce the costs of running their air conditioners. With the extreme conditions making the use of your air conditioner more of a necessity rather than a luxury, don’t become too disheartened about your impending energy bills. It is still possible to keep your house cool without it costing you the earth. Follow our simple energy saving cooling tips to take some of the stress out of receiving your next quarterly bill!
Use curtains, shades or blinds
Your window coverings may not be the most obvious place you would look to help reduce your cooling costs but using adequate coverings can make a significant difference to lessening the load of your air conditioner. Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house. Window blinds are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss. A drapery’s ability to reduce heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type (closed or open weave) and color. With such a wide variety of draperies available, it’s difficult to generalise about their energy performance. High-reflectivity window films are extremely cost effective and will help block summer heat gain. The silver, mirror-like films are typically more effective than the coloured, more transparent ones and using them on east- and west-facing windows, because of their greater potential for heat gain, will give you the best results.
Set the temperature controls
Cooling expenses can be reduced by up to 10 to 20 percent by setting the thermostat between 23°C and 26°C when in cooling mode.
Consider replacing an air conditioner that is more than 10 years old with a newer more efficient model. Older units can cost you a lot more to maintain and are likely to use a lot more electricity than newer models do.
Consider energy star rating
Whether you’re buying a ducted air conditioner system or an inverter room unit, the efficiency of your chosen unit really matters. Every extra star on the Energy Rating Label can save around 10 per cent on the running costs of an air conditioner.
Check, clean and change the air filters regularly
Whether you have a ducted air conditioning system, an inverter room unit or a window unit, a dirty filter will reduce your air conditioners efficiency, making it use more energy. Check your system’s air filter monthly and expect to change the filter every three months.
Turn off any heat generating equipment or appliances that are not in use
Lights, computers, televisions, ovens all generate heat. Too much heat can force your air conditioning unit to work even harder meaning that it is consuming further unnecessary energy to cool your house down on top of the additional energy the appliances are already using. It’s a simple way to save. Always make sure that your appliances are turned off when not in use.
Minimise air leaks around the house
For many people a large percentage of their cool air escapes through air leaks around doors, windows, electrical outlets, plumbing and light fixtures. It’s more than just air escaping through the cracks in this situation, it’s also your hard earned money slipping through the cracks at the same time. Identifying air leaks and sealing them off will help you save energy and money too. A few easy tips include:
- Slowly and carefully wave a lighted incense stick around doors, windows, outlets, and fixtures. Any place where the smoke blows horizontally indicates an air leak at that location.
- Seal and weather strip doors and windows where leaks occur. This can also be used near plumbing, ductwork, or wiring that penetrates through walls.
- Seal off leaking electrical outlets with foam gaskets that can be purchased cheaply at most hardware stores.
Keep the doors shut
It’s one of the challenges most people with children face, but if you can keep doors shut to the rooms that do not need cooling then the ones that do will reach a cooler temperature quicker, and maintain the cool better if cool air isn’t escaping into unused areas of the house.
Install and use ceiling fans
Fans can make you feel 3-8 degrees cooler, which will allow you to set your temperature of your air conditioner to a more efficient range between 23°C and 26°C when in cooling mode. Make sure that your ceiling fans are spinning the right way. You need to make sure that the fan is blowing the air down to send the cool air past your body. Check by standing under the fan when it’s on full-speed. If you can feel the wind hitting you hard, then it’s blowing down. To verify, stop the fan, change the direction switch, then turn the fan on full-blast again and compare the difference.
Seek professional advice and service
There are plenty of things that the average householder does not know about their air conditioning unit. This is why it is essential to call in professional technicians to perform routine air conditioner servicing. A service call from an expert will help ensure that your unit is functioning properly and at maximum efficiency. This is an opportunity for your technician to carry out all necessary repairs to lower your running costs in the long term. Regular services and repairs will also help to extend the life of your air conditioning unit. BigFan Air Conditioning’s
qualified contract assessors will help you make energy-saving improvements and reduce your carbon footprint by helping you to select an air conditioner with the right output capacity for the room/s you are cooling. They’ll also help you understand how you can carefully maintain and manage your heating and cooling systems for maximum energy performance and savings.
Contact us today.