When winter rolls around, keeping cosy can be difficult, especially if you live in an older, drafty Queenslander. Purchasing an air conditioner that offers reverse cycle heating is a great first step, but how do you find the ‘sweet spot’ temperature, the perfect number on the thermostat that enhances your comfort without making the cost of your electricity bill soar?
This article explores the question ‘What temperature should I set my air conditioner in winter?’ with advice on the best temperature for reverse cycle heating and helpful tips on how to best use your air conditioner in winter.
Why Is Finding The Right Temperature In Winter Important?
Studies show that the environment we live in can have a serious impact on our everyday health and wellbeing. Here are the reasons why it’s not worth suffering through a poor choice of temperature in winter:
- Vulnerability to viruses – Setting your thermostat too low can cause your mucous membranes to become irritated, making you more susceptible to colds and other viruses.
- Sleep quality – A room that is too hot or too chilly can make it harder to fall and stay asleep, disrupting our sleep cycle and leading to exhaustion the next day.
- Asthma – Humidity can make air quality worse, harbouring fungus, moulds and dust mites. If you or a loved one suffers from asthma, this can lead to serious breathing difficulties.
- Heart attacks and strokes – For elderly people, overheating at night has been linked to life-threatening health issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Muscle pain and tiredness: Since the body can’t relax if it’s continually tense, cold temperatures can produce muscle soreness and exhaustion.
- Overeating: Appetites can also increase with cold weather, so we may tend to overeat when trying to stay warm.
- Focus: Our ability to concentrate may take a blow when our bodies are occupied with the cold. For people who work from home and students, maintaining a balanced temperature in the home can make focussing on tasks easier.
Finally, overheating your home can be expensive. That’s why it’s important to find the ideal winter temperature. Talking amongst your family members to decide on the best temperature to set your thermostat can prevent your family from wasting money on heating that you don’t need.
What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner In Winter?
Most experts recommend 18-20°C as the ideal temperature to set your air conditioner’s thermostat in winter and throughout the year. This temperature is the most efficient in terms of energy.
However, the ‘ideal temperature’ is different for everyone. For babies, elderly people and those who are ill, a slightly warmer environment are beneficial. Have an open discussion with the people who live in the same household with the goal of finding a happy medium.
How To Use An Air Conditioner in Winter
Here are a few simple steps to help you improve the efficiency of your reverse cycle air conditioner.
- Draft-proof your home – Close all doors, windows, curtains and blinds to keep the heat in. This will prevent heat loss and improve the efficiency of your heating.
- Switch your air conditioner off when you’re not at home – It will heat your home quickly once it’s turned back on.
- Try turning your air conditioner off overnight – When you’re tucked up in a warm bed, you’re unlikely to need the extra heating.
- Keep warm in other ways – Stock up on light layers of bedding and winter woolies.
- If you have a ducted air conditioner, use the zoning options – This will allow air to flow to only certain areas of the house. Set temperatures differently in each room. Rooms that are used infrequently, such as toilets and storerooms, can have a temperature of 16°C in winter.
- Keep your air conditioner in good condition – Have your air conditioner serviced regularly to keep it working efficiently.
- Make sure air is circulating well around the inside and outside of your air conditioning unit – Clean the filter. Remove any obstructions that may be blocking the inside unit. For the outside unit, remove any built-up dust that may be blocking the heat exchanger.
Benefits of Reverse Cycle Heating In Winter
A reverse cycle air conditioner is a cooling system that can also be run in reverse to heat your home.
But how does it work? When you activate your reverse cycle air conditioner’s heating function, it’s chemical refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside (even on winter days) and carries this heat inside to raise the temperature and create a cozy atmosphere. Reverse cycle heating is an efficient way to keep your home warm throughout winter.
- Versatility – A reverse cycle air conditioner is versatile. It cools during summer and warms in winter, all in one energy-efficient air conditioning unit.
- Energy efficiency – Reverse cycle air conditioners are more energy efficient than conventional heaters, which need to generate new heat, rather than channelling existing heat energy from the outside air. Every kilowatt of electricity consumed generates three or more kilowatts of cooling and heating.
- Safety – Unlike gas heaters, fireplaces or heated elements, reverse cycle air conditioners do not contain any open flame or combustion, making it a safer choice.
- Adaptability – The inverter technology allows the air conditioner to adjust power to rapidly reach the set temperature. Motor temperatures and speed don’t fluctuate while working to reach the desired temperature, providing uninterrupted comfort.
- Lower electricity bills – Reverse cycle air conditioners can efficiently recycle air for more than a dozen times per hour, creating a significant reduction in your power bills.
- Healthier for asthma sufferers – Many modern reverse cycle air conditioners are equipped with advanced air-purifying filters that keep dust, dirt and debris from affecting your indoor air.
- Zoning – If your air conditioner comes with zoning, users will have the ability to turn on and set different climate areas for different areas of the house.
- More eco-friendly – New reverse air conditioners are designed to produce only one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions of traditional electric heaters.
For help in installing or maintaining a reverse cycle air conditioner, get in touch with H&H Air Conditioning on (07) 3276 1800 (Brisbane) or (07) 5477 1777 (Sunshine Coast).