The Southern Hemisphere is moving into summer amidst both an energy crisis and a cost-of-living crisis. This makes an uncomfortable situation even more uncomfortable. With air conditioning a major cause of high electricity usage, it’s worth Aussies looking into ways to reduce Australian AC bills.
1: Use fans where possible
It will sound obvious to some, but the ‘where possible’ part shouldn’t be overlooked. In some instances a simple, breeze is really all you need and this can potentially be provided by a ceiling fan (if you’ve already got one installed) or a relatively cheap desk or floor fan.
You needn’t spend big money on an expensive Dyson, either. Compared to a regular desk fan, they will unlikely make their cost-price back in savings. They might use less power than a desk fan but regular fans don’t use much electricity in the first place. Leaving one on for an entire month – non-stop - will likely cost between $8 and $10.
Meanwhile, although Dysons use around half this amount of electricity, buying one starts at around $300. You can buy a decent, standard desk fan for $15. Dyson’s are more like functional furniture that may act as a form of interior design accessory and should be regarded as such.
Meanwhile, the electricity used by Australian AC can cost anything between $180 per month for a small, efficient unit to $1,200 per month. So, if you can use a fan, do so.
However, all Australians will know that there reaches a point where a fan stops working and simply starts to blow hot, humid air back at you. In these instances, you need to make more of your existing Australian AC with something like a smart air conditioner controller or install a new, efficient model.
2: Clean the filter and service your Australian AC
It’s strange that few people rely on white and brown goods without ever considering whether they need maintenance. TVs, fridges and washing machines might be to blame as you don’t need to do anything with those beyond plugging them in and leaving them be.
However, many people mentally bundle all white and brown goods into the same bracket – especially Australian AC and tumble dryers – and this can both be hugely inefficient and potentially, extremely dangerous. The latter is no exaggeration, if you’ve got a tumble dryer, when did you last empty the lint filter? Did you even know there was a lint filter? Why should you care? Because it’s a major cause of house fires: the lint is formed by the accumulation of super-dry morsels of fabric fluff that bunch together and, over time, form a fluffy blanket of highly-flammable material. If you don’t regularly empty it, it backs up into the system and can get too close to a heating element. If you’ve never checked yours, check it now and be shocked how much is in there.
While a lack of Australian AC maintenance isn’t nearly so high risk (note: it’s not entirely without risk), a lack of maintenance will severely detract from both its performance and efficiency. It will have to work much harder to achieve its targets and that can significantly affect your electricity bills. There are several things all Aussies should do when preparing their aircon unit for summer, but the following ones are key to saving electricity.
Cleaning and servicing Australian AC can be performed to various degrees ranging from pointing a vacuum at it, through removing and cleaning the filters to calling in a professional.
Cleaning the filters is the simplest option. Lift the front flap of the device (be sure you’re on a stable surface if it’s high up in a room) and vacuum out the dust or remove/un-clip the filters and do that separately. It will be self-evident if they need cleaning or not. Behind the filters, most Australian AC units will have the cooling coil. This will catch the dust and spores that made it through the filters. Use a brush attachment on a vacuum and be very careful when cleaning these delicate components. If it still isn’t working well, it could be that the refrigerant gas needs topping up, but you’ll need an Australian AC professional to do this for you.
3. Change your power supplier
With power crises hitting the world and with few people wanting the rigmarole of changing their power supplier, now’s the time to realise it’s never been easier to do so. What's more, there are some very tempting options on the market. It’s a great way of reducing ALL of your electricity costs – not just that for Australian AC.
Firstly, it’s worth remembering that if you haven’t updated your electricity provider plan for a long time, you’re likely on a ‘grandfathered’ plan that isn’t even available anymore. What’s more, power companies don’t volunteer this useful information - that you could save a lot of money with either a phone call or a few clicks on your online account. This is especially true if you initially signed up with a cool-sounding discount that has long-since expired.
Secondly, it’s worth remembering that changing electricity supplier is really really really easy nowadays – it’s nothing like changing, say, your bank account. All you need to do is fill-in a form on your new supplier’s site and they’ll handle everything – including cutting off your old supplier. Don’t know how to find a cheaper one? Use commercial services like Compare the Market or Finder (which will point you to providers they partner with) or use government-owned comparing sites like Energy Made Easy. It's a great way of easily reducing bills for Australian AC.
4. Turn it off when you’re out
It’s often very tempting to leave your Australian AC on all day just so you can come back to a cool house, but this can cost serious money – especially if you’re out for longer than expected or are likely to come home when it’s cooler in the evening.
If this still sounds like too much effort, consider a smart air conditioner controller. Two of the core features (we’ll cover some others below) are that you can control your existing aircon with an app on your phone or even set a geofence that will use your phone’s location to automatically activate the AC when you’re close to home!
5. Use a smart AC controller
Smart AC controllers are configured using a phone app (or smart home voice activation) and automatically adjust your air conditioner’s settings using the same infra-red codes that your existing AC remote control uses. As such, you can control your Australian AC when away from home.
In addition to turning the aircon on and off automatically, it can manage a unit’s operation to avoid the Aus AC's inefficient, power-surge-oriented normality of dumping huge amounts of cold air into a room until its built-in sensor believes the target temperature is what's required throughout the room. Not only does this waste electricity, the sensor is often in the wrong place and sitting under an Australian AC unit when it dumps cold air all over you, doesn’t make things more comfortable.
A smart air conditioning controller will learn your preferences and automatically maintain your comfort – night and day – and while saving you money. It will do this by automatically, incrementally adjusting the settings while taking into account the weather outside and the sun shinning into a room!
AmbiClimate has a range of smart air conditioner controllers that will save you power, save money and improve your comfort. They can easily pay for themselves! Check them out at our online store.