Summertime, and the living is easy. The living is also hot, sweaty and can get a little uncomfortable in the land down under at this time. Australia has beautiful long summers with temperatures that can easily soar to the mid 30s (degrees Celsius) so retreating to a gloriously cool air conditioned home after being in the oppressive heat of the day is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Thank goodness for a comfortable air conditioned oasis. It’s an Aussie family’s relief from those endless summer days when the air can sometimes feel like a hot blanket.
Of course, the downside is that your air conditioning unit at home will be asked to work super hard in this peak season. This means your air conditioning bill could climb without you realising. Energy consumption can soar just like the temperature at midday. However, there are some very simple and effective tips to reduce your air conditioning bill over the summer period and keep a comfortable indoor environment. Applying these tips will help you keep cool when the bills come rolling in.
1. Turn off at night, and save while you sleep
This money-saving tip is as clear as night and day! Keep your air conditioning on during the day, and off at night. The reasoning is simple. Firstly, the evening air is naturally cooler, so you can take advantage of that by turning off the air conditioning and opening a window. You may even get a gentle breeze to cool things down.
If you do find a welcome breeze, open windows or doors on both sides of your house to allow it to flow through.
Secondly, for comfortable sleeping, your body simply doesn’t need your air conditioner to run at the same temperature as it does during the day. So, with your air conditioner off, you can enjoy some nocturnal energy savings and sweet dreams.
2. Thermostats and timers – set and save
When it comes to energy consumption and reducing your air conditioning bill over summer, every degree matters!
So one of the most energy-efficient things you can do is set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature that won’t make your unit work too hard, but will still make you feel like you’re sitting pretty. As a guide, somewhere between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius is where you should set the thermostat. Be aware, that for every single degree of cooling you can do without, you’re saving on your energy bill. So avoid setting it too cold in summertime. Even setting your air conditioning unit one degree warmer than you normally world can cut costs by up to 10%. As a rule, try not to set the thermostat less than 8 degrees below the outdoor temperature (so if it’s 30 outside, aim for 22 or 23 degrees Celsius inside).
To really help reduce your energy bill, consider a thermostat with a built-in timer, so you’re not only setting the temperature, but setting the hours of operation for maximum energy efficiency. It makes sense to have a system that does it for you automatically, so you can set, and forget. And save of course.
3. Get shady and shut out the sun
Shade, shade, shade. However you can get it, grab it, and it will help your home stay cooler. Therefore, your air conditioning unit won’t have to work so hard, and your energy bill will be reduced. It’s simple. During a hot Aussie summer, you can’t turn down the sun, but you can add some shade to turn down the heat.
The first way to get shady is to keep blinds, curtains, drapes and awnings drawn and closed. Whether it’s Venetian blinds, roller blinds, plantation shutters or lined curtains, keep that beautiful sunshine outside where it belongs. For sun-facing windows, light-coloured backings for blinds and curtains will help deflect sun heat too.
By closing windows, blinds, shutters or drapes, you’ll be keeping the hot air and the sun’s rays out, so your air conditioning doesn’t have to run all the time to maintain the optimal temperature. Heat absorption can be drastically reduced if your windows have a strong line of defense. Even tinted windows can stop some of the sun’s heat coming into your air conditioned sanctuary, and your unit won’t have to work so hard.
Want some more ways to throw shade and reduce air conditioning bills? Consider Mother Nature’s original shade maker – trees. Plant trees, vines or shrubs that can add a defensive line of shade to the house – consider the walls and roof as well as the windows.
4. Turn off those heat-emitting culprits
The television, the computer, the printer, the lamp in the corner, the kitchen oven… all of these household essentials generate bucketloads of heat and will be forcing your air conditioner to work harder to keep the temperature under control. Turn them off and you’ll save money on your air conditioning energy consumption straight away!
What can you turn off? Can you turn off lights in unused areas of your home?
Are you game to unplug? Can you turn off the television or any other appliances? Those tablets, computers and printers emit a lot of heat that can make your air conditioner work harder. Who knows, it might even help bring back the art of conversation (or perhaps cause a family mutiny!)
Why not try cooking the dinner on the BBQ outside, or enjoy a lovely salad that requires no cooking at all? Your indoor stove can really heat up your living space and add to your air conditioning bill.
So if you want to keep your energy consumption and air conditioning bill down, think about al fresco food preparation. Who doesn’t love a snag or a steak cooked on the BBQ in Summertime? And if it keeps your house cooler, all the better.
5. Keeping it clean to keep costs down
Here’s one more awesome tip to reduce your air conditioning bill over summer. Ensure your air conditioning unit is regularly maintained and that the filter is either replaced or cleaned to maintain optimum efficiency. A dirty filter makes any air conditioning unit work harder, meaning more electricity and higher energy costs!