Winter is upon us, so no doubt you’ll be cranking up your reverse cycle air conditioner before you know it (unless you have already!). However, if your system is not functioning properly, there are a number of issues you can address early, that will help curb the chills and keep your home wonderfully warm until balmier weather arrives once again. Here are six factors that can impact your air conditioner’s heating efficiency.
#1 – Your air conditioner is the wrong size
Different air conditioners have different capacities, and basically, what works best for your home will depend on the amount of air you need to heat. If your air conditioning unit is too big, it will over-heat rooms, have short heating cycles, and it will use a lot of energy – which means bigger power bills! If it’s too small, it will dry out the air too much as it will need to work a lot harder to warm up space, which can result in excessive wear and tear.
The heating capacity of air conditioners is rated in kilowatts (kW), and a proper calculation of efficiency will take into account factors like the size (length, width and height) and type (bedroom, open-plan living room etc.) of the room you want to heat. It can also be impacted by curtains, insulation, your local climate, and the size and orientation of your windows and/or glass doors.
With so many factors contributing to correct unit size contact H&H for a professional quote today!
#2 – Your air conditioner is not working efficiently
Obviously, the size of your air conditioner can greatly impact on its heating efficiency, but how can you tell if it’s actually doing its job properly? The government’s star rating label system can help determine how energy efficient different appliances (including air conditioners) actually are. The ratings work in terms of stars – from one to six – and the more stars a unit has, the more efficient it is. Super-efficient systems can also have a rating of seven to ten stars.
Reverse cycle air conditioners normally display two stars – red for heating and blue for cooling, so if you’re using an air conditioner for heating, it should have red stars as well! Given that both cooling and heating appliances account for around 40% of the average Australian home’s energy usage, it’s worth doing your research, particularly if you’re in the market for a new air conditioner.
#3 – You’re not using your air conditioner properly
In order to use your air conditioner properly, you should really only run it when you’re actually using a room, and you should close all doors and windows while you’re using it, which should decrease the amount of time you actually have to run it!
In terms of air conditioner efficiency, you should also try not to turn up the heat too much. The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your heating bills will be. Around 18 to 20°C is ideal for winter in moderate Australian conditions and around 16°C for rooms that are used infrequently (like toilets and storage rooms).
Air conditioners with programmable timers and thermostats are also ideal as you can set your air conditioner to pre-heat a room, and the Economy (or Eco mode) can help reduce power consumption by reducing the heating output by a degree or two as needed. Some even use sensors to detect if people are in the room, and then reduce the output accordingly as well.
#4 – Your air conditioner is dirty or the area around it is!
Good circulation around the inside and outside of your air conditioner is vital in order to maintain its heating efficiency. Curtains, furniture and plants should be kept well away from the unit to avoid obstructing the airflow, and it should be as dust-free as possible.
Regardless of whether it’s inside or outside, a build-up of debris will mean your system will need to work harder in order to heat your home and it will increase the unit’s energy usage. Indoor units should be gently wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dust (particularly in the vents), and in terms of outdoor units, you should clean up any debris like dirt and wayward leaves from around the unit and trim overhanging branches regularly to keep it obstruction-free.
#5 – Your air conditioner’s filters are dirty or not working
One of the most important steps on your air conditioning maintenance checklist should be the cleaning and/or replacement of your system’s filters. This is because air conditioners not only work by pulling cool air in and pushing warm air out, they also filter dust and debris from the air. This results in a constant supply of clean, circulated air in your home, and failure to keep vents clean will decrease its productivity, create a noisy system, and lead to negative health impacts like asthma and allergies.
Ideally, filters should be cleaned once every few months. The safest and most efficient way to do this? Call your air conditioning specialist for a maintenance check – they have the knowledge and know-how to do the job for you, safely and efficiently.
#6 – You’re not getting your air conditioner serviced regularly
Which brings us to our last point. Having your air conditioner serviced regularly will not only help maintain its heating efficiency, it will assist in prolonging the life of your unit. Licensed air conditioning professionals can address issues before they become larger problems, ensure your system works well year-round, and ultimately help you to minimise your power bills.
Maintenance issues they will address include checking for leaks and/or breaks, measuring air flow and motor efficiency, checking the refrigerant charge, and checking, cleaning and repairing the condenser, evaporator coils and ductwork if needed. They are your best solution in terms of guaranteeing your home is heated to perfection.
Concerned about your air conditioner’s heating efficiency? Get in touch with H&H Air Conditioning today on (07) 3276 1800 (Brisbane) or (07) 5477 1777 (Sunshine Coast).