We all want to be cool in summer and warm in winter and we don’t want to have to compromise on that. So when the temperature outside starts rising, we expect more from our air conditioners and turn them up just that little bit more until we are comfortable. However, energy prices are rising and we need to understand how to be more energy efficient when it comes to using our air conditioners.
Correct Capacity Size
Increasing our energy efficiency starts when we are selecting our air conditioning unit. It is crucial that having a unit that is the correct size for the space that it is cooling/heating will increase its efficiency and reduce costs. The sizing for air conditioners works in kilowatts (kW) capacity output and is dependent on a number of different elements. Getting the capacity size correct is an important step, as the unit can lose a lot efficiency if it is not correctly sized. The correct way of knowing the capacity needed is by having a qualified technician come out and size up your space.
Having a unit that is the correct size for the space is extremely important for more than one reason. If the air conditioner is too small there is the chance that it will be working to its maximum capacity yet you still may not experience the desired cooling effect. If it does manage to keep you cool enough, it will have to work to that maximum capacity continuously, resulting in a shorter life span and higher running costs. However, it is just as important to ensure that the unit installed is not too large for the space as it will work on short cycles. As the air conditioner is too powerful for the space, it will reach the desired cooling temperature faster and the thermostat will switch it off. When the room warms up again, it will switch back on, and so forth. This constantly increase and decrease will severely reduce the lifespan of the air conditioner as it is more prone to wear and tear and will take a toll on your bills!
Better Star Ratings
Once you aware aware of the correct capacity size for the room/house, the next best thing to do is to compare star ratings (energy ratings) on units of a similar capacity.
‘The Energy Rating Label shows the energy performance of particular appliances and equipment. It allows consumers to understand how much a particular model will cost to run, and also how energy efficient it might be in comparison to similar models’ – The Energy Rating
The above label provides customers with enough information to be able to see which units are more energy efficient than others. It shows customers how much energy in kilowatt-hours per year that appliance uses based on an assumed average use, as well as the star ratings. The more stars that an appliance has, the more energy efficient it is, and therefore the less that it will cost you to run.
Insulation and Ducting
The insulation and ducting is another way to rely less on your unit. The better the insulation in your walls and ceiling and the better the ducting in your air conditioner, the cooler your house stays in summer. Poorly insulated rooms result in loss of cool air and in return, your air conditioner has to work harder to cool the room down. Ductair has developed the R1.5 Energy Smart Ducting, tried and tested by the University of South Australia to increase system efficiency by up to 9% and effectively reduce peak load hours by 30%. Better insulation and ducting results in greater thermal resistance and reduced energy consumption, so speak to a qualified professional about how to better insulate your house.
Small Changes Around the Home
There are ways to conserve energy once your unit has been installed, to save on running costs and ensure that your system has a longer life span.
One small tip that can dramatically reduce your energy usage, is by setting your air conditioner to a consistent temperature of between 24-25 degrees Celsius in Summer and between 18-20 in Winter. It has been estimated that increasing the temperature on your air conditioner by just one degree can reduce your cooling costs by a large ten percent.
The most practical ways to reduce your energy consumption through your air conditioner is to not use it is you don’t have to. On warmer days, close your blinds and windows to keep the heat out and keep the inside of your house cooler. Close off rooms that aren’t in use, and only use the air conditioner in rooms that are. If you know that it is going to be a hot day, beat the heat and close windows and blinds early to avoid having the temperature inside increase too much. Alternatively, on extreme weather days, turning your system on early to 26-27 degrees Celsius will allow your air conditioning unit to gently maintain a cool temperature inside, rather than waiting until the middle of the afternoon when your home is hot. Your system will then have to work incredibly hard to cool the conditioned spaces back down to the desired temperature which will increase energy usage.
Many people have their air conditioners running at night to ensure that they have a comfortable sleep on hot nights. But the truth is that you really only need your air conditioner running to help you fall asleep. In the early hours of the morning when you are asleep, you are not as aware of the temperature and therefore do not need the room as cool. Try setting your air conditioner so it switches off at a time when everybody is asleep, or so it turns the temperature up a few degrees. This will save you a large amount of money throughout summer and will ensure that your air conditioner is running much more efficiently.
While there are much more significant tips to ensure that your air conditioner is running as efficiently as it can be, such as choosing the right size unit and choosing one with a better energy rating, there are simple changes that you can make around your home that won’t change your day-to-day life. Put all of these tips into practice and your air conditioner will last longer, save money on your energy bills and keep you much more comfortable through the warmer Australian days.
If you are thinking about having an air conditioner installed, or want to know more about how to reduce energy wastage, call Green Efficient Living today on (08) 8297 3422