Inflated power bills can make it hard to keep your cool during the Summer months. Many people unfortunately sacrifice their health and comfort due to cost. Eco friendly and energy efficient air conditioning systems are a top priority for today’s leading manufacturers. Learn what you can do to reduce power usage, while still enjoying the benefits of your air conditioning this Summer.
Benefits of air conditioning
Aside from keeping us comfortable on a stinking hot day, air conditioning is multi-beneficial.
- Protect your home and furniture by keeping heat and humidity levels at a minimum. Mold breeds rapidly in damp environments, and can quickly cause rot, and ruin leathers and fabrics.
- Provided you maintain your systems properly, when you’re using your aircons efficiently, you’re promoting better air quality. Your aircons filter, and circulate air to remove mold and pollutants. In the hot months this is very important for asthma sufferers, and people with allergies.
- In “Exploring 167 years of vulnerability: An examination of extreme heat events in Australia 1844 – 2010,” scientists found heatwaves killed at least 5332 people in Australia. The heat was responsible for more deaths than all other natural hazards combined. Many of these deaths could have been prevented.
Why are your power bills so expensive?
Knowing about the different types of air conditioners and how they affect your usage is important; but the hike in our power bills during the warmer months may not be solely due to your aircon.
Culprit #1 – Your retailer
When deregulation of southeast retail prices came into effect in 2016, it boosted competition; but increased wholesale prices have had a flow on effect down to the consumer. Check whether your plan and any benefits or discounts it came with has expired, and shop around for a new plan to suit your needs. There are currently nine energy retailers operating under the Energex network, all with different plans and offers.
Culprit #2 – Your life
Often over the ‘silly season’ our homes are full to the brim with friends and family. The more people we have visiting, the more power we’re going to use. Hot water usage accounts for approx 21% of an average Australian household’s energy usage, while appliances account for 23%.
Where can you save power? The top 5 ways of being energy efficient
1. Choose your air conditioners and appliances wisely
Out with the old. If you’re running old appliances, you’re likely burning considerable energy. It’s well worth the outlay to invest in new appliances with a high energy rating. The Australian Government now require Energy Rating Labels on new appliances, allowing consumers to compare running costs. Before deciding on a new appliance, run it through an energy rating calculator, you may be quite shocked at the difference between high and low rated products.
Seeing as heating and cooling accounts for 40% of our power usage, choosing the most efficient air conditioning system is a must. Ergon says that for each star your air conditioner has, you’ll save approximately 15% in running costs. Beware of portable air conditioners that typically love power.
2. Minimise hot water usage
Summer is a great time to reduce your hot water consumption. By simply investing in an efficient 3-star rated showerhead, you could save approximately $328 per year according to Origin Energy. Combine this with reduced time spent in the shower, and you’ll see significant savings.
Wash your clothes in cold water, and rinse your dishes in cold water before putting them in the dishwasher. Turn your dishwasher off prior to the drying cycle to let them air dry.
3. Reduce energy waste from your appliances
- You can save almost $100 per year simply by turning your TV, Computer, modem and printer, and washing machine off at the wall when not in use.
- Switch to a gas stove if you can; but if you’re stuck with an electric unit, keeping a lid on simmering pots can reduce your energy use by up to 70%.
- Check the seals on your oven, fridge and freezer are in good condition to prevent hot and cool air escaping.
- Save $130 per year off your bill by ditching the dryer and line-drying your clothes.
4. Switch to LED
With a saving of up to 80% of energy per light bulb, switching to LED is a no-brainer. Get into the habit of turning off the lights as you exit a room, and invest in motion sensors for your outside lighting, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to switch them off.
5. Support your aircons and use them efficiently
- When it’s time to switch on the AC (to 24 degrees), put your ceiling fans on low also. They use little power while boosting the effectiveness of your airconditioners by helping to circulate the cool air.
- Close your curtains during the day in rooms that aren’t in use to help deflect heat and keep doors and windows closed when your AC is running. If you have any breezy windows or doors, consider installing weather strips to keep the cool air in.
- Install a smart thermostat. Increase your control with a programmable thermostat, so you can manage your AC’s from afar. Have you ever gone out and forgotten to turn off the aircon? With a smart thermostat you can turn it off from your mobile phone.
- Maintain and service your AC’s. By having a professional technician service your air conditioners prior to the onset of summer, you’re guaranteeing optimal performance, and cleaner air for your family. The pro’s will also identify and rectify any possible faults, or problems that may result in a high power usage.
The good news is, your electricity bill is not completely out of your control. You have the power to keep it down by choosing appliances wisely, and being mindful of your overall electrical usage during the summer months. While some good power habits will take some time getting used to, it’s well worth the effort so you don’t have to sacrifice your health during the heat.
Air-rite specialises in the installation and maintenance of commercial, industrial, residential and domestic air conditioning. Air-rite is also committed to servicing mechanical ventilation and refrigeration equipment.