8 Tantalising Tips to Reduce Your Air conditioning Bill this Summer
It’s not easy surviving the scorching Australian summer without air conditioning. When temperatures push 40 degrees, a reliable air conditioner is one of the best appliances for achieving comfort and scoring a decent sleep. However, heavy air conditioner usage can have a significant impact on energy bills.
Canstar Blue estimates that split system air conditioners can accrue running costs of up to $100 a month during periods of heavy use, and ducted air conditioning can cost three times as much. That’s a lot of money just to keep the home feeling comfortable.
And that’s why we’ve compiled a collection of 8 sensible yet surprising tips to help reduce your air conditioning bill. You can remain cool and collected without breaking the budget.
1. Clean The Air Conditioner Filters
One of the easiest things you can do to reduce air conditioning bills and maintain airflow quality is to clean dirty filters.
Air conditioner filters quickly become blocked with dust, dirt and possibly mould. These substances reduce the performance of an air conditioner, meaning you need to run a system for longer and at higher speeds to achieve the desired climate control.
Cleaning air conditioner filters can improve performance and reduce energy consumption by 5 – 15 per cent, saving you money on electricity bills.
Cleaning the filters is easy. Take them outside and brush off the dust over a bin or run the vacuum over them instead. Then, rinse out the filters and soak in soapy water if really dirty. Let the filters dry before fitting back in the air conditioner.
Consult the instruction manual for advice on how to remove the filters from the air conditioner in use.
2. Slightly Increase the Temperature
It’s only natural that you will be tempted to drop the thermostat as low as possible on a hot day. The issue, however, is that lower temperatures require additional energy, which increases your power bills.
If energy costs are your primary concern, then the optimal temperature is 24 degrees. Origin Energy reports that every degree below 24 will increase energy consumption by an additional 5 per cent. For example, if you set the air conditioner to a chilly 18 degrees, it could consume 30 per cent more emery than at 24 degrees. Some sources claim every degree uses up to 10 per cent more!
Either way, you’re better off keeping the thermostat at a comfortable 24 degrees.
3. Reduce Usage by Just 1 Hour
Reduce your daily air conditioner usage by just one hour, and you can save anywhere between $31 and $93 per year. Of course, this depends on the type of system in use, as split systems and ducted air conditioners vary in energy efficiency.
But, there’s bound to be 60 minutes during the day when you can live without climate control. And if you combine this tip with the others, then you’re bound to save money.
4. Get Your Air Conditioners Serviced Regularlgy
The experts at Jim’s Air Conditioning recommend that air conditioners be serviced by a licensed HVAC technician once per year. That’s someone qualified in heating, ventilation and air conditioning giving your system a tune-up.
A technician will test the performance of an air conditioner, provide a thorough clean, top-up fluid and more to ensure your system is operating exactly like it’s supposed to. An air conditioner that works effectively and efficiently can achieve desired temperatures faster and without blasting maximum settings. This can only help reduce energy consumption.
5. Use Your Ceiling Fans in Tandem
Ceiling fans are useful for circulating air around a room and directing it downwards towards occupants. Using these affordable appliances in tandem with an air conditioning system can improve the effectiveness of your climate control. Ceiling fans cost around 2 cents per hour to run, so don’t be put off by the notion of using two appliances at once.
Another way to save money involves running the air conditioner quickly, switching it off, and using a fan to circulate the cold air. This reduces the need for air conditioning and so naturally reduces your electricity bill.
6. Reduce Air Draughts
Gaps in the floorboards, under doorways and around windows can hinder the performance of your air conditioning unit. While your system is pumping our cool airflow, unpleasant hot air can seep in making your climate control less effective. And so, additional air-con usage is required.
There are simple, affordable fixes to many of these problems and therefore reduce your air conditioning bill. For example, caulking gaps can help seal the home. So can fitting sealing strips to the bottom of doors.
A raised timber floor can require a little more work. Grouting between the boards is a good start, and if you have access under the house, foam batt insulation can trap indoor temperatures and stop unwanted heat absorption from entering.
7. Turn off Electical Appliances
TVs, laptops, tablets, lamps, and other appliances generate heat and disrupt the desired temperature, so switch them off if possible. Not only will air conditioners need to work longer and harder, but the appliances also contribute to energy bills, so switch off unessential’s to reduce cooling costs and save money. The same goes for unused areas of the home.
But what about the kitchen? Ovens, cooktops, kettles etc. These heat emitting culprits can lead to a reliance on air conditioning units to cool air.
The good news is that we have a delicious solution, and it begins with three letters: BBQ. Cook up a storm outside, and the heat dissipates away from the home. It’s often naturally cooler in the evening, making outdoors an appealing prospect. If this is the case, open windows to help make the house cooler.
8. Get a Better Energy Price
Consumer and comparison groups are always suggesting we shop around or negotiate a better price. This is sound advice.
Negotiating a better price for your energy makes sense, and it will only cost you a phone call. If your attempt is unsuccessful, shop around and find someone with a better price or a discount for new customers. Then, sign up and each year, reevaluate the price on your energy bill and go through the motions again. This way, you can keep electricity costs to a minimum year on year.
There are always savings to be had for those who take the initiative. Plus, there are plenty more ways to reduce your air conditioning bill this summer. Consider tinted windows, planting trees for shade and having awnings drawn.
You can also upgrade the old ac unit to a modern, energy-efficient air conditioner which naturally carries lower running costs.