With new climate records being set throughout Australia every year, it’s important that your air conditioner is performing at its most efficient level all day, every day. With advanced technology and an array of smart features now part and parcel of a new air conditioner, you can also enjoy much more than just heating and cooling. You can also have the ultimate in temperature control, guaranteed cost savings and a sleek contemporary design to go with it!
However, there are a number of things you can do to maximise your unit’s efficiency and its life. So whether you own a split system, multi-split or ducted air conditioning system, here are five expert tips to make your air conditioner work better.
#1 – Be smart about cooling
It sounds obvious, but in order to improve air conditioner efficiency, you should only cool the rooms you need. If you have a ducted system, make sure you use your zone settings to only cool particular rooms. If you have another type of system, close doors between cooled and uncooled rooms to contain cool air, and if one of your rooms is naturally very warm or cool, switch to a fan-only setting to help save energy.
Ventilate your home as much as possible by turning the system off early in the morning and at night in order to let the cooler breezes in, and switch off other heat sources like printers, lights and computers.
When you set the thermostat, remember that for every degree colder you set the system, it can cost up to 10% more on your power bills. Also, the smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your electricity usage will be. In summer it’s recommended that the thermostat is set at between 24 and 26°C.
#2 – Be smart about heating
Again, when you set the thermostat, remember that the smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures the better, so in winter it’s recommended it be set at between 18 and 20°C.
Heat loss can also be reduced by closing windows and doors and focussing heating strategies on the most commonly used rooms. In order to improve air conditioner performance, you should also try and minimise drafts by repairing faulty door seals or using weather strips or door snakes to block any gaps where heat might escape. Closing and insulating ducts which progress air to and from air conditioning systems can also affect the ability of your system to heat your home. Sealing ducts by closing joints and duct attachments that go across attics, crawlspaces, garages and unheated basements with duct sealant or metal-backed tape can keep heat inside your home.
Reverse cycle air conditioners equipped with an automatic defrost cycle can also assist with efficient heating. This is because in winter while your system is heating inside it will also be cooling outside. If you live in an area where temperatures hit below zero, often the outdoor unit refrigerant coil can reach temperatures of below 10°C. This can freeze the moisture in the air causing a build up of ice and frost. In this instance your unit will actively monitor the indoor ambient temperature as well as the outdoor coil temperature. As the temperature of the coil becomes too cold, the unit will initiate a defrost cycle.
#3 – Keep up the maintenance
One of the other important air conditioner tips is to keep your unit well maintained. Filters should be inspected on a monthly basis particularly during heavy usage periods as a dirty filter will slow airflow and make the unit work harder. They should also be replaced at least every three months or so.
Good air circulation is also essential for an efficient system, so indoor unit grilles should be cleaned regularly to get rid of any dust that’s accumulated. You should also make sure indoor units are not obstructed by plants, furniture or curtains. Outdoor units should also be cleared of dust and foliage because if the airflow is restricted, the compressor will need to work harder leading to higher energy usage and running costs.
#4 – Use the settings
In order to make your air conditioner work properly, it’s also worth understanding what functions the in-built settings can offer. Many air conditioners these days have an Economy mode that can help maintain a moderate temperature, and some even come with human sensor features that automatically switches the system to an energy saving mode when no movement is detected in the room.
Timers and programmable thermostats are also useful as they can reduce the number of hours a unit is actually running. They can also switch on your unit before the temperature outside gets too hot. This will maximise its efficiency because switching on the unit during the hottest part of the day means it will need to work much harder to cool down your home.
#5 – Get it regularly serviced or get a new one!
Another important way to improve air conditioner efficiency is by having your unit serviced regularly – at least every 12 months if possible. Licensed air conditioning technicians will perform a range of maintenance tasks including flushing the drains, replacing any filters, cleaning the ductwork and checking the motor’s efficiency.
If your current air conditioner is old, overworked and therefore inefficient, it’s definitely worth getting a replacement. All new air conditioners must adhere to the government’s Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) which not only helps with efficiency but savings on your power bill.
It’s also worth considering a model that has an inverter. Inverter systems gently adjust power so that the desired temperature is reached faster and it’s maintained without fluctuations. So you’ll not only enjoy consistent temperatures, the technology will make your system more efficient, with a longer lifespan and less wear and tear.
In order to make your air conditioner work better, you need to get it regularly serviced. Get in touch with H&H Air Conditioning today on (07) 3276 1800 (Brisbane) or (07) 5477 1777 (Sunshine Coast).