A modern 21st century home can hardly be imagined without some kind of air conditioning or venting system. For instance, the HVAC market in Australia and New Zealand is expected to grow by roughly 7% by 2022! However, with the rapid growth comes increased consumption which poses a greater challenge of making our homes more sustainable. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways we can address this hot issue.
Relying too heavily on the default and pre-programmed AC options can cause a lot of energy waste. For instance, research indicates that the optimal indoor temperature should range between 18°C and 21°C and your AC remote controller may be pre-set to abide by these numbers. However, the ideal personal temperature is subjective and depends on a variety of factors such as body type, your home, the region you live in and even your metabolic cycle. Try to experiment with the temperature your body feels most pleasant in; each degree higher can save you about 6% of AC energy consumption - you probably won't be greatly affected by this slight change but your bills will!
Not that long ago the only way you could operate your AC unit was the good old IR remote which allowed you only a couple of settings, and virtually none of the programming choices. These days the list of available controller options is much more versatile and the level of automation you can achieve is pretty impressive.
Current remote controller options let you create your own settings, control your AC unit remotely through WiFi or vastly-accessible data plans, learn your preferences, auto-adjust your AC according to you, and finally, integrate the air conditioner into the larger Smart Home picture where each device optimizes the others’ consumption through the benefit of the shared central hub and the mutual data transaction.
What all this means is that instead of limiting ourselves to rigid settings and minimal options that waste energy, today’s advanced remote controllers and seamless Smart Home integrations keep the wasted energy on the bare minimum while providing the optimal experience and comfort.
In a sense, an air conditioner works much like a car; its consumption is highest when the unit is starting. A one stage air conditioner can cool at only one speed so it turns off and on very frequently to reach the desired thermostat settings.
Because they can meet 80% of your needs on low settings, ACs with two-stage compressors turn on and off far less frequently, resulting in lower consumption, so it won’t be a bad idea to, at some point, replace your old unit. Keep in mind this, though: some countries like Australia proscribe rules how these interventions should be performed, so, for example, if you’re thinking about air conditioning installation in Sydney, you will need to hire an experienced professional.
Cluttered air filters can have a devastating effect on the indoor air quality; keeping them clean is essential for the proper operation of the system. Also, the outdoor unit will work best when it’s clear of debris, and the drain line needs to be able to properly take out the water. Maintaining all these pieces is fairly simple so you shouldn’t have any problems doing it on your own, but if you ever feel you are not up to the task, it's better to leave it to someone more experienced.
One of the main duties of AC units is to keep the indoors cool during hot summer months or warm during chilly winters. Even the smallest adjustments like keeping the curtains and blinds closed in the heat of the day can drastically reduce the need to blast your AC on high. Also, heat-generating appliances such as lamps can affect the performance of your smart controller and cause a lot of unnecessary consumption, so be sure to keep them far enough. Finally, any objects preventing the natural air flow should be moved out of the way as well.
These few tips should help you to optimize your AC consumption and make your home more sustainable without compromising on your thermal comfort. Saving energy doesn’t require big sacrifices, just a couple of small investments and a little bit of patience to start creating a change in our homes. Here’s one small tweak towards your comfort and savings!
Mike Johnston is a Home improvement blogger based in Sydney, with experience in covering a variety of subjects on interior design, home renovation, real estate, and construction business. He's a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator. Mike's main goal is to create and share meaningful content that educates and inspires people.