Electricity bills are known to sky rocket in summer, and knowing how to manage your energy to reduce costs can be extremely beneficial.
So, how can you use your air conditioning system in the most energy efficient way? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get from clients about air conditioning, especially as the warmer months approach.
According to a recent survey carried out by Canstar Blue– it was found that seven out of ten survey respondents suspected their air conditioning to be the largest contributor to their electricity bills and over half of these consumers said energy efficiency was their number one concern or deciding factor when choosing an air conditioner.
Monitoring your household’s energy consumption is important, however it may come as a surprise that your air conditioning may not cost as much as you think! When you take a moment to think about all the electrical appliances you have in your home such as: microwaves, washing machines, dryers, dish washers, vacuum cleaners, chargers, televisions, irons… The list goes on. Then think about how often these are all on at once, or how often you use them? It certainly adds up.
We have compiled a list of ways that can help you save on your overall energy costs, so hopefully when the electrical bill rolls around you won’t get such a shock.
1. Proper planning and design of the air conditioner
The savings in energy as well as maintenance bills start with proper planning especially with ducted ACs. The right ducted AC design and installation is very important to get the desired performance. For example, all single phased reverse cycle ducted AC have star ratings while the energy rating on 3-phased reverse cycle ducted AC is voluntary. Hence it is important to go through the technical sheet of the ducted AC to find the best efficient models.
Proper zoning plan, choosing the right size and quality of ducts, proper insulation on the ducts, installing adjustable outlets for controlling air flow, all plays a role in reducing your energy bills.
2. Regular maintenance and servicing of your air conditioner
Think of your air conditioner like your car, if you keep it maintained and regularly serviced- the less likely it is to have problems and cause you to fork out unexpected costs. Problems with your air conditioner such as a dirty filter can make your unit work harder which in turn means higher energy costs and a higher electricity bill. To avoid this, and keep your units working to maximum efficiency- service your unit when it’s due and stay on top of any issues you see arise.
At Anrac we understand life is busy and sometimes it’s easy to forget these things- which is why we have a system in place which reminds us when you are due for a service. Therefore, we can organise to contact you before it’s due to help you stay on top of it all.
3. Location of AC outdoor unit
If you are still in the planning stages of your air conditioning installation, it is important to consider a few factors when deciding on the location of your outdoor unit. Consider an area that is out of direct sun light, or that will be covered by shade. If your unit is constantly exposed to the sun this means your unit will have to work harder to cool down and maintain its desired temperature. Additionally, if your unit is in a safe area clear of debris and trees- this can help keep the unit cleaner for longer as less dirt or blockages can enter the filters. Similarly, Queensland is no stranger to storms come summer time so it’s important to:
- Clear away any debris, rubbish or plant overgrowth around your home and in particular near your outdoor air conditioning unit.
- Ensure any trees are trimmed down and cut back and move away and dead branches or leaves
- Maintain your roof and drains, and ensure your gutters are clear
- Check for loose tiles or cracks to avoid leaks
4. Thermostats and set points
A good way to save on your energy bills is to be mindful of your thermostat/ set point for your air conditioning- especially in summer. It’s best to set you thermostat as high as comfortably possible, as the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling will be.
For example in Queensland, average temperature set is 25 degrees for summer.
If you are going away or not at home, try to keep your house warmer than normal and only lower the thermostat when you are home. If you set your thermostat to a colder setting than normal, you will find that it will not cool your home any faster and in turn could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense!
5. Shutting out the heat and insulation
It’s a no brainer that shutting all the doors and windows to outside helps keep the cool air in and helps avoid your AC going in to overdrive. However, to really maintain the desired indoor temperatures and to avoid power spikes- it’s a great idea to get shady! And by get shady we mean- shut the blinds and curtains to help deflect the sun heat from pouring in, especially from the morning and afternoon sun. It’s a good idea to invest in some block out blinds or curtains and you will find the heat absorption will be drastically reduced. If you prefer the natural sun light in the day and don’t like having the blinds closed, consider thinking of other ways to reduce the heat like planting trees or shrubs outside the windows that produce the most heat. You can read more on passive designs to save on energy.
6. Turning off appliances
Did you know that even leaving your phone charger on when not in use is still using energy? It may not be significant but it can all add up. By turning off power points and appliances when not in use you can save on your power bills and energy consumption yearly. Think about all the times the TV is on in the background, or you left the lights and fans on when you went to work? By being proactive and making it a priority to be on top of these things- this can help with unwanted electrical costs. Did you also know your kitchen stove and oven can cause a spike in room temperatures and cause your air conditioner to work harder? With summer in Australia it’s the perfect time of year to be outsides so why not plan dinners outside on the BBQ? This way your kitchen stays cool and you can keep the lights off inside. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but in the long run all these costs can add up.
7. Energex’s Peak Smart Air Conditioning
When we install air conditioning units in homes, we offer the option of installing the Energex PeakSmart signal receiver at the same time. This is only a small cost to you and Energex will reward you with a cash bonus, the exact amount depends on the cooling capacity of your air conditioner.
In short, the PeakSmart is part of the Energex initiatives to help save energy in peak demand times- like summer in Queensland. PeakSmart air-conditioning helps reduce peak demand by dropping your air-conditioner into a lower performance mode when the network is under stress. In turn, this then assists Energex in ensuring no power outages occur during high demand periods.
For a more detailed explanation on how it works head to this website or give us a call to talk more.
Hope this article was helpful to give some ideas on how you can save on electricity bills.