How To Maximise Your Air Conditioner Efficiency | Our Top Tips

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How To Maximise Your Air Conditioner Efficiency | Our Top Tips

As the cost of living continues to rise, air conditioner efficiency is at the forefront of most homeowners’ minds. The good news is that with a few simple tips, it’s possible to enjoy your air conditioner year-round without breaking the bank.

In this article we share our top tips for maximising air conditioner efficiency, including how to choose an energy-efficient air conditioner, and simple changes you can make to get the most out of your air conditioner.

How to choose an energy-efficient air conditioner

Whether you’re after a split system or ducted air conditioner, the best way to keep your power bills down is to choose the most energy-efficient air conditioner. The higher your air conditioner efficiency, the less power it requires to reach the same temperature.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, the best way to guarantee you choose the most energy-efficient air conditioner is to:

  1. Choose a new model. Thanks to modern technological advancements, air conditioners are now more energy efficient than ever before, which makes them cheaper to run than their older counterparts. If you’ve made all the changes inside your house we recommend below and you still aren’t hitting peak air conditioner efficiency, it might be worth replacing your old air conditioner with a new model.
  2. Select the right size unit. Air conditioners come in different sizes, with size referring to the unit’s output in kilowatts. For peak air conditioner efficiency, it’s important to choose an air conditioner that’s the right size for your room. Too big for the room, and the unit won’t be as energy efficient as a smaller unit; too small, and the unit may struggle to reach the desired temperature. A good rule of thumb is that small rooms like bedrooms typically need a 2.5kW system, whereas large open-plan areas may need 6kW or more.
  3. Compare different models’ energy star ratings. The more stars an appliance has, the more energy-efficient it will be. If you’re in the market for a new split-system air conditioner, it’s a good idea to check the star rating because, by law, all split-system units have to display their star rating. However, ducted systems work differently, so they won’t have a star rating. Instead, all units have to meet minimum energy performance requirements set by the Australian Government. Below we share some more information from our expert guide to buying an air conditioner on how to interpret the Energy Star rating system to ensure you buy an energy-efficient air conditioner.

How to interpret the Australian Government’s Energy Star rating system for peak air conditioner efficiency

By law, all split-system air conditioner manufacturers have to provide consumers with information about their air conditioner efficiency. This is usually reported on a star label on the appliance, where the more stars an appliance has, the more energy-efficient it will be.

However, because climate affects air conditioner efficiency, the Australian Government has introduced a new Zoned Energy Rating Label for air conditioners. Now, all air conditioners registered since 1 April 2020 have a special label that highlights the difference in performance across Australia’s main climate zones. With Brisbane classified as a ‘Hot’ zone, you should make sure to look for the corresponding Energy Star rating.

How to maximise air conditioner efficiency – top tips

Whether you’ve got the most energy-efficient air conditioner on the market, or you’re waiting to upgrade an old model, it’s always possible to improve your air conditioner’s efficiency. Here are our top seven tips to do just that.

  • Maintain your air conditioner: Regular air conditioner maintenance is important to prolong the life of your air conditioner, and get the most out of it in terms of air conditioner efficiency. Make sure to keep filters clean and replace them if necessary. We explain how to clean split system filters here. Also, clear debris from the fins of the outdoor unit including leaves, twigs, and dirt build-up. This allows more air to circulate around the unit and prevents debris from entering the system and causing problems
  • Use your air conditioner’s ‘zone’ feature: To maximise air conditioner efficiency, always avoid heating or cooling more space than you need to. If you have a ducted air conditioner, use its zone feature to only set the unit to cool the areas where air conditioning is most required. If you have a split system, always shut off areas you don’t need to cool to avoid warm air entering the room you’re trying to cool and making the air conditioner work harder.
  • Invest in good insulation: Investing in good insulation is one of the best ways to improve your air conditioner efficiency. Insulation helps to regulate the internal temperature of your house, meaning less warm air comes in, and less cold air escapes—both of which are essential for preventing your air conditioner from having to work in overdrive to cool the house. Installing insulation in the walls and ceiling is the best way to increase your air conditioner efficiency, but there are other things you can do that cost less, including:
    • Sealing draughts and air gaps around windows and under doors when using the AC system.
    • Keeping curtains and windows closed during the hottest part of the day.
    • Installing awnings over windows.
  • Pre-cool the house as much as possible: You can improve your air conditioner efficiency by getting as much heat out of the house as possible before turning on the air conditioner. Even cooling the room by a few degrees minimises how much work the unit has to do. When you get home, open all the windows and doors and switch on ceiling fans to circulate air. You can also turn the air conditioner to fan mode only to help, before turning the air conditioner to cooling mode.
  • Use ceiling fans with your AC: If you have ceiling fans consider using these in conjunction with an AC system to cool the home faster – especially when you first get home. This will also help to save on operating costs. Many people think that you should use either fans, or air conditioning, but using them together is a great cost-effective way to circulate cool air while the air conditioner is on, and to take the heat out of a room before you turn the air conditioner on.
  • Set your AC to 24 degrees in summer: The greater the difference between the outside temperature and the temperature you set the air conditioner to, the harder the unit will have to work. We always recommend setting your air conditioning system to 24 degrees to stay cool affordably. Every degree colder will add around 10 per cent to your air conditioning bill because the unit has to work harder. If the weather is set to be particularly hot, and even 24 degrees seems too warm, turn the air conditioning on early so that the unit can reach your desired temperature before it gets too hot, and kick into a more energy-efficient maintenance mode for the rest of the day.
  • Use automatic timers: Increasing air conditioner efficiency and saving energy is often about only using air conditioning when you need to. Take advantage of your system’s automatic timers to ensure you don’t forget to turn the unit off. For example, make sure you set your air conditioning in the bedroom to switch off during the evening.