Running an air conditioner needn’t be excessively expensive!
The basic concept of an air conditioner is that it pumps heat. The heat
is pumped from inside your home to out in the summer, and with a reverse-cycle
system (as the name implies) from the outside to in in the winter.
Anything you do to assist this process will save you money operating the air
conditioning. Here are some of the things you can do to improve the
efficiency of running your machine.
Raise the temperature
Although it is tempting to set the thermostat as low as possible, this is
false economy. 24°C is probably the most efficient setting while still giving
good cooling benefit. Perhaps you can also get away with 22° or 23°.
However, every degree below 22° will increase the running cost of a ducted
system by around 4-5%.
Replace your old machine
Today's conditioners use 30-50% less electricity than 10-15-year-old models.
The technology now is far better than even recent history. When buying a
new machine, pay special attention to the Energy Star rating that must, by law,
be displayed on all new machines offered for sale.
Make sure your air conditioner is the correct size
Machines that are too big simply use more power than they need to.
Machines too small will be struggling to do their duty and thus be operating
at maximum load most of the time. No machine is efficient operating at
maximum capacity: think of driving your car. It will use far more fuel operated
at high speed than at a more reasonable one.
Optimum Air will be more than pleased to calculate the heat load of your
premises and recommend the correct size and type of system.
Make sure your doors and windows are closed and well sealed
You’ll pay a lot more to cool your home when the cold air easily escapes.
You can install weather-stripping under doors and around windows. It goes
without saying to keep doors and windows closed, otherwise you are simply air
conditioning the outdoors!
Use curtains or blinds to block sunlight
Keep direct sunlight out. Direct sunlight can raise the temperature of a room
by more than 10°. The less heat gets into your home, the less you have to
pay to remove it.
Put solar screens and/or reflective tinting on the windows
This is again reducing the amount of heat getting in your home and thus
reducing the cost of removing it.
Clean the filter regularly
Clean or replace your filter every month or so. A dirty filter makes your
conditioner work harder, which uses more electricity. You can do it
yourself – it usually involves brushing or washing the filter. Optimum Air
is also more than happy to do regular maintenance calls on your machine which
certainly include cleaning (or replacing if necessary) your filters
Insulate your home
This means that all the work the air conditioner is doing is not wasted by
having the sun heat up your roof space again.
Use the timer on your wall controller
Set the timer to turn off about the time you leave for the day, and to turn
back on about half hour before you get home.
Don’t use zones in unused rooms
Most ducted systems split operation into several zones. It simply doesn’t
make sense to have zones on in rooms that are not in use. If you are not
using the whole house, then don’t cool the whole house!
Keep the outdoor unit cool, clear and in the shade
The outdoor unit of a split system (ducted or wall-hung) needs to lose heat
that it has taken out of your house. It’s easier for it to achieve this if
the air around it is cool and out of direct sunlight.
Reduce heat from lighting
Lights create a lot of heat which your AC system has to remove. Replace
your old incandescent light globes with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, which
use 75% less energy and create 70-90% less heat at the same time.
Incandescent lights give off 10% light and 90% heat, while CFLs give off 90%
light and 10% heat.
Optimum Air are always happy to advise you personally on the best steps you
can take to reduce your running costs. Feel free to give us a call.
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