Keeping cool this summer
How to stay cool and keep your power bill down this summer
We’re in the midst of a hot and dry summer with many of us relying on fans and air conditioners more than usual.
Here are some tips to help you stay cool and keep your power bill down.
Types of cooling
Other than natural ventilation like opening your doors and windows there are three main ways you can cool your home.
Block the direct rays of the sun with fixed or adjustable building elements such as eaves, awnings, fences, external blinds and trellises, or by natural elements such as trees and shrubs. Well-designed shading in Sydney will let sun into your home in winter and shade it in summer.
Fans range from portable models such as pedestal or tower fans to fixed ceiling fans. No matter the type, fans are the most affordable way to cool your home, as they only cost $5 to $10 to run per year. Though they don’t reduce the room’s temperature, a fan makes you feel cooler by evaporating perspiration. Fans can also be used in conjunction with air conditioners to enhance their impact.
The running cost of your air conditioner will vary depending on your electricity tariff, how often and when you use it, the temperature the air conditioner is set, and how well you maintain it. When choosing an air conditioner unit think about the running costs. You can check the energy ratings and estimated yearly running costs for a wide range of air conditioners at the Australian Government Energy Calculator.
Air conditioners can range from split systems to ducted units that cool your whole home. Of the two choices, split system air conditioners are more affordable to run. Portable air conditioners are noisy and not as effective or energy efficient as installed units and have a zero-star energy rating.
Newer model air conditioners can have up to a seven star rating
How can I reduce the running costs of an air conditioner?
Here are some tips to use your air conditioner energy efficiently:
- If your air conditioner comes with an ‘eco-mode’ – use it!
- Use a fan with your air conditioner. This will help circulate the cool air and allow you to set the thermostat to a higher temperature in summer.
- Set your thermostat to cool to 23-26 degrees in summer and in winter to heat to 18-20 degrees. Every 1 degree lower or higher can increase running costs by up to 10%.
- Keep the outdoor component of your air conditioning unit out of the direct sunlight.
- Make sure to maintain the air conditioner according to the operating manual.
- Only cool the room you are using. Make sure to close all doors and windows and if you have an open plan home, consider using a door curtain in hallways to keep the cool or warm air in.
- You can also keep your home cooler during the day by closing all the windows, doors and curtains/blinds to keep the heat out. You can then open them up again when evening comes and the temperature drops.
What if I need to upgrade to a new air conditioner?
Older model air conditioners can make your energy bills much higher
Consider replacing your air old conditioner with a newer, more efficient model if it’s excessively noisy, costly to repair, costly to run or more than seven years old. Consumer group Choice has some more excellent tips on how to select the right air conditioner in this buying guide.
the NSW Government Household energy saving upgrades program provides support to reduce your household energy use and cut your power bills. This includes rebates for upgrading air-conditioning units.