Keeping your home cool or heating it makes up a considerable amount of most monthly budgets for families. However, air conditioners make our homes more comfortable and our offices more productive, so we tend to put up with the costs. You can cut down your energy fairly quickly by improving air conditioning efficiency in your home to help with this issue however.
We’ve put together some handy tips to save on heating and cooling costs.
Tip 1: Keep on top of maintenance
You want to ensure the aircon system is in perfect working order as when it needs to work harder to cool air, it uses more energy to do so. Some of the ways to ensure this include:
- Keeping the area around the outdoor condenser clean and clear. Get rid of any plants, leaves, or rubbish that may have accumulated during the colder or windy months. When the airflow pathway is clear, the HVAC system won’t have to work as hard.
- You can help keep vents unblocked by vacuuming indoor supply vents to remove dust and debris. This helps maintain a steady airflow from the system. Simple changes, like making sure beds or furniture aren’t blocking the vents, can also make a difference to energy use.
- Clean the air filters every few weeks, and replace them once a season. Window-style and standalone units are easy – you simply take out the filter and clean them before replacing them.
- Clear the drain line, which you will find near the indoor cooling coil. Flushing it is sufficient.
- Ensure ductwork is sealed, and there is no leaking. You can use a duct-sealing tape for leaks, but it’s best to get a professional to check it. It should be insulated using the correct thickness duct insulating material.
Tip 2: Increase the thermostat
Adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees (either way depending on if it’s winter or summer) will save energy. A programmable thermostat allows you the convenience of adjusting the temperature for different times of the day, or if you’re going to be away from the property.
The thermostat is sensitive and is there to gauge the temperature of the room. Having appliances that produce heat, such as lamps nearby the thermostat, can give it a false reading. It will cause it to try to cool the room more, leading to unnecessary use and wear. Avoiding using the oven or tumble dryer when you are running the aircon should also be considered. Similarly, keeping curtains and blinds closed during the hottest part of the day will keep the room naturally cooler and put less strain on the aircon.
Tip 3: Insulate your home
If you lose all the cold air your aircon is pumping out because of poor insulation, you are wasting energy every day. Hanging on to the cold air is one thing, but insulating will also cut down on the power your unit needs to operate. That’s because it won’t need to work as hard to maintain the temperature. Seal up areas that could be letting cold air out, and add insulation to your roof space.
Tip 4: Retrofit or replace
It is possible to upgrade parts on an old air conditioner, and this can be investigated if you want a more energy-efficient system but aren’t quite ready to replace it yet. Some of the options that you could discuss with the airconditioner technician include adding more ventilation. Also, look into adding more condenser fan controls or replacing the compressor. If your system isn’t too old and has been well maintained, this may work for you. By retrofitting the system, you get the energy efficiencies you want without investing in a total replacement.
However, upgrading to a more energy-efficient air conditioner should be explored too, as the cost savings on energy could eventually cover the cost of installing a new air conditioner. Instead of replacing your system with the kind of HVAC you had before (such as wall units), look at all the other options on the market. By getting a professional to look at your home and assess your lifestyle, they may help you cut down on your air conditioner power consumption quite a bit simply by installing a different type of equipment.
Discuss with the technician the option of a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system. Unlike most AC systems that run at full power when turned on, the VRF system will adjust to levels needed for the room’s current condition and temperature. This smart system has been designed to re-use residual heat from the cooling process and use it to provide warmth in other areas and can be set to control the temperature of different zones in the property.
Another reason to consider replacing the system is that older models may be costly to repair because new parts are expensive. If you weigh up the money you will have to pay out for repairs against the cost of a new unit, it evens out.
For more information regarding air conditioning installations, servicing and repairs visit penair.com.au