How to manage your energy use during winter?

Air Conditioning FAQs

Throughout winter many of us are spending more time at home. As the days grow colder you’ll want to do so in comfort. Comfort comes at a cost, with increased energy usage leading to higher utility bills.

Here are some ways to look at how your air conditioned energy use can be managed within your home, including some energy saving options you may already have access to without realising.

Your existing system

Most modern air conditioners have energy saving functions, which will assist in keeping your utility bills manageable. Practical things you can utilise include:

  • Sensors: Certain units come with inbuilt human sensors. These can detect how many people are in a room and adjust cooling or heating accordingly, reducing energy waste. Sensor focus can also be changed on some system remotes, depending on your requirements.
  • Zoning: This type of feature splits your home into climate areas. It allows users to control cooling or heating of the rooms being used. This means each individual space can be managed, increasing energy efficiency for the whole home. This can be an option for both split and ducted systems.
  • Economy mode:  As well as temperature and airflow controls, you may also see an economy mode on your remote. This mode instructs the compressor to run at minimum speed, reducing or increasing the temperature as appropriate. Most split systems will have this as an optional setting. If you’ve been powering up your aircon all day, it may be a good idea to set the economy mode for a certain period of time to reduce power consumption. You can also run it at night if needed.
  • Programming, Monitoring and Timing: Use programming and timing functions to manage peak energy use times. These can generally be set using your remote. You can also monitor when your higher use times are via an app, which will report usage and patterns of usage. If you have pre-programmed units that you can not access during lock down use any remote controllers you have to turn them off until they can be used again.
  • Sleep Use: Many units have a sleep mode that lowers the air conditioner output on a timer system. As the same level of cooling isn’t needed at night or heating needed while you’re asleep, you can change the air conditioning running mode and reduce energy costs. Or put an extra blanket on and turn the unit off altogether.
  • Maintain an optimal temperature level: During the cooler months, try to run your air conditioner at around 18-20 degrees for heating and around 22-25 degrees for cooling. Optimal temperature levels allow your air conditioner can work at a steady pace, this reduces the unit labouring or over-working, which will definitely use more electricity.
  • Outside and inside temperatures: When there is little difference between outdoor air temperature and inside cooled air temperature, you can reduce energy consumption. With every degree above 22 degrees, the air conditioner will use 3 to 4 percent less power. Setting your air conditioner at a lower than needed temperature results in unnecessary additional energy consumption. This is true specifically in moderate climates. In harsher climates air conditioners will still have to work harder. Those in in cooler climates will need to set their temperature a little warmer, while those in warmer climates will set their cooling temperatures lower.
  • Regular maintenance and servicing: Having a technician service the unit can also identify and address areas that may be causing energy loss. Plus, a technician can advise on other ways of using your unit wisely during high demand periods.
  • Cleaning Filters: Air conditioner filters build up dirt and dust over time. Dirty filters can make an air conditioning system work harder, increasing running costs and exposing the unit to wear and tear. Cleaning filters periodically will assist in the unit running smoother and not draining your energy supply.
  • Replacing inefficient systems: Older air conditioners can require more frequent repairs, becoming less energy efficient over time as they are superseded by developments in eco technology. When trying to save on electricity costs, it’s best to replace an older model with a more energy efficient unit that can offer better energy management.

Natural and alternative cooling strategies

There are many other things that can be done around your home to help reduce the energy and costs associated with air conditioning. To maximise efficiency here are some changes you can make within your home to help retain heat or cool:

  • Check for leaks: Winter heat may escape through windows and under doors, while in summer heat may come in the same way. Putting up backed curtains and using door snakes can reduce this happening and keep the house in a comfortable temperature range. These are a cheap solution to stop heat from escaping in colder months and block heat from coming in when it’s hot. You can also keep doors and windows to air conditioned rooms closed if possible. Cutting down on energy losses will reduce the chances that your air conditioning unit will need to be on a high setting, which could make it labour and use more energy.
  • Use The Light: In winter keep blinds and curtains open during the sunnier times of day, capturing some warmth and reducing the need for high volume heating. This is especially useful if you have a double brick home that retains heat during the day. It’s also refreshing if you’re stuck at home more than usual.
  • House insulation:  Adequate insulation in your home, especially if you live in a free-standing house, can help retain heat. Most heat will enter through the roof and correct insulation can help your house stay warmer longer. This is essential for homes with ducted air conditioning; properly insulated ducts will allow the air coming in to be kept as warm as possible.
  • Furniture arrangement: If you have time while staying at home consider rearranging your furniture. Bookshelves, couches etc. can sometimes obstruct the airflow from air conditioning vents. This means you may be warming the back of a sofa instead of the whole room. Look at moving any objects or furniture in the way of the airflow to increase efficiency and reduce outgoing costs.
  • Use objects at hand: If your whole family is home, spend some time together in the one room so extra air conditioning units are not on all the time. If you’re not expected at online meetings, put on your favourite jumper and warm pyjama pants; layer up and keep yourself warm. If you’re stationary on the couch, get comfy under some blankets with a warm drink. Don’t forget exercise too; a home workout generates its own heat, which may see the thermostat being turned down.

There are many different ways you can try to reduce your energy bills and energy consumption. Implementing even basic few strategies can decrease energy consumption and thereby your electricity power bills, without impacting on air conditioned comfort within your home.


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