The Australian summer is long and hot, which has many of us cranking up the AC to get a bit of relief. Especially here in Queensland air conditioners really are a must-have. However, it’s not necessary to use the AC all the time or on full power. It’s far from cost-effective and nobody likes getting a massive power bill! If you’re budget-conscious yet struggling with the heat, fear not. There are many things you can do to reduce your electricity bill while keeping cool.
Whether you have an air conditioner or not, these 12 useful tips will show you how to cool a room without going broke.
1. Protect your windows with shade
Shade your north and west-facing windows with awnings, deciduous trees, and pergolas. Deciduous vines are particularly good, as they give you shade in summer and sun in winter.
2. Keep windows, doors and curtains shut
For the best way to cool a room, shut your windows and curtains on hot days, then open up the whole house when it gets cool in the evening. Invest in thick curtains with block-out backing or solid blinds (not ones with gaps in them like Venetians). They’ll make a bit of a difference to your summer cooling and a big difference to your winter heating. Moreover, if your house has parts you just can’t keep cool, shut the doors to these areas to stop them from heating up the rest of the house.
3. Use a fan first
Instead of turning on the air conditioner as soon as it gets warm, try using fans first. Even if you have AC, fans are a good way to save money, as they are energy-efficient and cost virtually nothing to run. When getting a ceiling fan, make sure to get it installed safely by a licensed technician.
4. Check the direction of the fan blades
Did you know the direction fan blades run matters in cooling down your home? Most ceiling fans are designed to cool a room by spinning counter-clockwise, creating a breeze. Reversing this logic, when the blades run clockwise, you won’t feel a breeze. So, if you think your ceiling fan isn’t working properly, it might just be in reverse function.
5. Combine the power of fans and AC
Using your AC together with a fan will allow you to comfortably turn up your AC by a couple of degrees. Fans cost next to nothing to run, so this can help reduce your electricity bill considerably over the hottest time of the year.
6. Get the best AC unit for your home
When it comes to choosing your air conditioning system, there are many options on the market. Split-systems, multi-split systems, ducted, wall or window, portable… the list goes on! It’s also important to choose a unit with enough capacity for the size of the room it’ll go in.
Of course, this requires a fair bit of research, but choosing the right AC unit will save you money in the long run. If you need help choosing an effective AC unit for your home, we can help – we store a range of units from reputable brands. Make sure to have your AC installed securely by a licensed professional.
7. Turn up the thermostat
Hot weather can make you want to set the cooling all the way down to 16°C and jump under your doona. But cooling to just 24° should keep your home comfortable and save you money. Did you know setting your thermostat just 1° cooler can up your cooling bill by 15%?
8. Only cool the room you're in
By just cooling the room you’re in, you’ll save a considerable amount of energy. Besides, this gives your air conditioner the chance to work properly, instead of trying to cool a bigger area than it’s capable of.
Shut the doors to this room and seal the gaps so your nice cool air doesn’t sneak out under the door. Hang a curtain between rooms if you don’t have a door. You can use weather strips or put towels under doors to stop the cool air from escaping.
9. Cook outdoors
If you need a further reason to make the most of your BBQ, it can help keep down the temperature inside the house! If you don’t have the option to cook outside, avoid cooking with the oven or the stovetop when possible. Favour a slow cooker or the microwave instead.
10. Get your AC unit serviced regularly
Keep the outdoor part of your air conditioner shaded (with plants, for example) and clean its filters regularly. If you’re a business, this is often part of the cleaning contractor’s job when doing your office cleaning. It’s good to get your AC unit serviced and inspected every year to make sure it’s operating efficiently.
11. Insulate your home
Not only does insulation keep your house warm in winter, but it also keeps it cool in summer! Particularly if you combine bulk insulation (big batts) with foil insulation (thin sheets). Ceiling insulation can cut your energy use by 45%, which means it pays for itself in reduced energy bills. With the price of energy set to rise, insulating now is a smart way to avoid excessive energy bills in the future.
12. Invest in an energy-efficient AC unit
For the best way to cool a room, make sure you choose an air conditioner that has a high star rating for energy efficiency. No point spending more money on power bills than you have to! While a less efficient air conditioner might have a cheaper price tag upfront, it’ll also have you spending more on power.
By following these 12 tips, you should start seeing your power bill go down without breaking a sweat. If you need advice on the best air conditioning and fan systems for your home, get in touch with our team. We offer free advice and quotes for fan and AC installations.