How To Save Money While Running An Air Conditioner
A recent Canstar blue survey found that Australians estimate that a quarter of their monthly energy expenses are caused solely by their air conditioning system. During the peak summer months, air conditioning takes up 40% of your average household’s energy consumption. A ducted air conditioning system can cost up to $2 an hour to run during the year. To give you a comparison, it costs less than a $.025 an hour to power a plasma screen television. Water heaters cost less than $.075 an hour to run. Those numbers are absolutely insane, but they are also understandable. Could you imagine living through a scorching summer without any form of air conditioning? But, just because you have to have air conditioning, does not mean you cannot save a little money off your monthly energy bill. Here are some strategies that will help you save some money on your energy bills without sacrificing your air conditioner.
Get basic maintenance performed
Air conditioners, especially models with parts located outside (so most models aside from portable ones), are extremely vulnerable to dirt and debris. One key area of concern are the filters. Air conditioner filters get very dirty, very quickly. You may be saying “filters get dirty, how exactly does this relate to saving money?” Well, when filters get very dirty, they get less effective at catching dirt. Dirt and debris that get past the filters risk getting attached to the evaporating coils and the condenser coil. If dirt and debris get attached to these coils, then it will negatively impact the effectiveness of your air conditioner (and if left for too long, could permanently damage the air conditioner). Cleaning your filters regularly could improve the efficiency of your air conditioner by close to 25%. Cleaning your filters means you have to run your air conditioner less, which means less money out of your pocket.
Also, keep your eyes on the evaporating and condenser coils, if those are covered in dust or debris, then your air conditioner will begin to perform less efficiently. You will either need to run it more often to compensate, or buy a brand new model, both of which will take a large amount of money out of your pocket. So, call up a specialist and get your air conditioner looked at ASAP.
Stop the cool air from escaping; stop the hot air from coming in
Unless your home was just recently built, chances are the seals on the doorways, window sills, and ducts are not as sound as they once were. This is a problem for those looking to save a bit of money, as it is very likely that the cold air produced by your air conditioner is escaping from your house. Are you unsure about whether this is happening to you? Well, there are a few ways to check. You can get your energy provider to send someone to check whether your home is effectively sealing in the cool air (these are usually called “energy audits”), you can also easily find a local contractor. If you do not feel like doing that, you can simply run your hand across window sills and doorways to see if you feel any cold air; it will not be as accurate, but it should give you a general idea of how much cold air is escaping your house.
Getting your house properly insulated is a must, otherwise cold air can easily escape during the summer, and warm air can escape during the winter months. Also, make sure vents (all over the house ideally, but especially in the basement) are closed shut. Cool air naturally drifts downwards because it is denser than hot air, so cold air will sink into crevices like vents, where it is no use to anyone. Your basement is likely cold enough already, so closing off the basement vents should not impact most people.
But you cannot just be concerned with keeping cold air in, you also have to think about keeping warm air out. One of the biggest culprits when it comes to brining heart into your house are windows without drapes. Not having your windows covered can increase the amount of heat in your house by over 30%. Another key culprit is your rooftop. Heat seeping in through your rooftop can raise the heat levels in your house by around 25%. So, make sure your windows are properly covered by blinds or drapes, and make sure you have properly insulated your house to prevent heat seeping in from the roof.
Know when to run your AC
Your house does not need to be an icebox 24/7. When you are at work, or going to bed, your AC does not need to be at the same temperature as it is when you are just sitting around the house. So, invest in either a thermostat, or get an air conditioner installed that automatically lowers the temperatures at certain times. You can easily shave over 10% off your monthly energy bill just by turning down your air conditioner when you are not in the house or going to bed. If you feel that your house is too hot by doing this, consider setting up a few cheap fans around the house to help make your house cooler.
Keep the temperature steady
Contrary to what you might think, turning down the AC does not translate to a decreased energy bill. The opposite in fact, constantly fiddling with the temperature on your AC can actually lead to a larger energy bill. The best thing you can do is keep your house at a relatively consistent temperature. The most efficient temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius while you are in the house, and around 29 degrees Celsius if you are planning on leaving the house for a long period of time. The reasoning is that air conditioners are most efficient when they run at a single speed for long periods of time; by constantly changing the speed, the air conditioner cannot reach peak efficiency.
Talk to our team about installing or servicing an air conditioner for your home.