It goes without saying: Australia’s summers can be extreme. Most of the country suffers through hot or subtropical temperatures, and the result is our electricity bills take a beating. Staying cool is important, but setting the air conditioner to its lowest temperature is neither wallet-friendly nor the greenest practice.
Luckily, there are a few easy things we can all do to lower our electricity bills as we head into summer. Making the right adjustments to your appliances now means you can keep your family cool, even without blowing the budget.
Put Your Air Conditioner on a Timer
Running your air conditioner at 24C is tried and true advice. It’s plenty cool enough to stave off the heat, and it’s far more effective than turning the thermostat to its minimum setting.
But making use of a timer is an even better way to reduce the cost of your air conditioning habits. Many units now come with a built-in timer and automatic on/off functions, or it’s a simple job for an electrician to install a timer that will do the same thing.
Using that timer to run your air conditioning for limited amounts of time, preferably at off-peak hours, could save hundreds of dollars on your bill next quarter. Likewise, timers can be used to cool your house before the day heats up, then give your air-con a rest at the times when it would normally have to work the hardest. Or, if restless nights are your problem, a timer can turn your air conditioner off once you’re asleep and don’t need it anymore.
Clean and Service Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioners need to be cleaned from time to time. Dust builds up in their fans and filters, reducing efficiency and increasing your power bill to match. Your air conditioning unit should come with instructions on how to access these parts for cleaning, and a simple vacuum of the fans and a wash for the filters could save more than a few dollars on your electricity bill.
If it’s been a while then your air conditioner might need a full service before summer rolls around. Especially if it has sat unused over winter, a service to make sure everything is still sealed and running properly could go a long way during the hotter months.
Use Your Fans Wherever Possible
Fans might not offer the same cooling power, but they’re much more energy-efficient than air conditioners, and they do a great job of keeping spaces cool.
On days where the outside temperature is bearable, pairing ceiling fans or pedestal fans with some open windows will help draw hot air out of the house. Or, if you also have an air conditioner, rather than running it on full blast you can use fans to circulate the air and cool larger spaces with less energy.
When the mercury really soars you are likely better off closing the windows, drawing the blinds and relying on your fans to do the job. Especially in newer homes with good insulation, it can be counterproductive to draw the scorching air through the house instead of shutting it out completely.
Check Your Hot Water Tank Settings
Did you know hot water tanks consume approximately one-fifth of all household energy? They run frequently and are used dozens of times per day for showering and cleaning, so maybe that’s no surprise. However, coming into summer, demand for hot water tends to drop drastically.
If you’re using an electric hot water tank, adjusting the temperature is an easy way to save energy. We recommend keeping your tank settings above 60C though. Appliances still need hot water to be effective, and that 60C tank setting is important for killing off bacteria and microbes you don’t want growing in the water.
Otherwise, make sure your tank only runs during off-peak hours. Newer hot water tanks often have timer settings built into their controls, or an electrician can easily install a timer you can use instead.
Need an Electrical Health Check-Up Before Summer? Contact Dawson Electric Today!
Across Australia, summer is one of the busiest seasons for electricians, so make sure to get in early if your appliances need some TLC before temperatures begin to climb. We can help out with the servicing and installation of fans and air conditioners, or you can simply ask our friendly team to help make adjustments that will stave off power bill shock next quarter! Feel free to get in touch with Dawson Electric if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment.