Air-conditioners may help us to cool down in summer but they can also contribute significantly to electricity costs.
In fact, did you know it costs around $5501 a year to run a typical lounge-room air-conditioner and, in some homes, aircon makes up a whopping 40%2 of the electricity bill? These costs can quickly add up so it makes energy sense to take control of your aircon and save.
Six ways to save on your aircon
- Set your aircon to a cool and energy efficient 25oC as every degree below, adds around 10%3 to your aircon running costs – which quickly adds up.
- Close windows and doors in areas you want to cool. And remember to close blinds and curtains too. It keeps the heat out of your home and makes your aircon more efficient.
- Use a fan and open up your home to create cross-breezes instead of switching on your aircon. Fans are always friendlier on your hip pocket than switching on your aircon. Ceiling fans cost approximately 2 cents per hour to run vs aircons, which depending on the size can cost between 13 – 55 cents per hour to run.
- Turn off your aircon when you’re out. Leaving your aircon on wastes energy and costs you more to run.
- Clean the filter pads on your aircon regularly. This helps to ensure the aircon runs efficiently. An efficient aircon will cost you less to run.
- Install ceiling insulation with a minimum rating that suits your location to keep the heat out of your home. This well help to ensure your aircon can work more efficiently.
For more info on these tips, watch our six ways to save on aircon video. Using your aircon more efficiently, and reducing usage when you can, will also assist in reducing electricity demand during peak times. This is important for helping to ensure a reliable electricity supply for Queensland’s future.
Bonus tips to help you save
Here are some bonus tips you might want to consider to help you take control of your aircon:
- Make sure you install the right sized aircon for the space you need to cool. Consult a qualified air-conditioning contractor to ensure your unit has optimum capacity and consider factors such as the size of the room to be cooled, the direction the windows in the room face and whether you have insulation in the ceiling
- Buy an aircon with the best star rating you can. For each additional star rating your aircon has, you’ll save around 15% in running costs. So, by purchasing a 6-star aircon for the bedroom instead of a 2-star one, you’ll save around $1004 a year in electricity
- Select the air 'recirculate' setting when running your aircon. Otherwise you'll be drawing in much warmer air from the outside and using a lot of electricity to cool it down
- Choose curtains and blinds with lighter colours and pale linings to keep the ambient temperature of the room down so you may not need to turn on your aircon as often
- Check out our energy saving calculators to see how much your aircon is costing to run.
Ergon Energy aircon usage research
Ergon Energy conducted an online energy use audit survey in June 2008 with Ergon Energy customers5. Customers were asked to advise the number of hours per day (their average daily use) during summer and winter6 of major electricity appliances – including aircon.
The information customers provided in the survey was measured against their total annual energy consumption - calculated by analysing their bills over a period of 4 quarters. This enabled Ergon Energy to calculate percentage breakdowns of appliance usage across the respondents as a collective group.
The results for aircon for the northern, central and southern regions7 are shown in the pie graphs below:
1 Based on a 4.1kw aircon set at 25 degrees, running 6 hours a day for 6 months of the year.
2 This calculation is explained in the Ergon Energy aircon usage research information on this page.
3 This information is based on Ergon Energy calculations for a 2000W aircon. Calculations based on an ambient temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. When the aircon is set at 25 degrees it will cycle on for 70% of time. On cycling will increase as the aircon temperature is lowered until when set at 20 degrees the aircon will cycle on for 100% of the time. Results may vary depending on whether the aircon is sized correctly for the room it is operating in, windows and doors are shut, blinds are closed and climatic conditions in your area etc.
4 The calculations are based on information provided on the running cost of products with different star ratings at Equipment Energy Efficiency website.
5 Results calculated on 374 responses – a 10% response rate.
6 Summer and winter for the purpose of this study was defined as summer and winter calendar months. Aircon refers to cooling and heating where appropriate.
7 Northern, central and southern regions as per Ergon Energy's distribution and service region.
Ergon Energy aircon advertisement claims
Claim: Each degree you set your aircon below 25 degrees, adds about 10% to your running costs.
This information is based on Ergon Energy calculations for a 2000W aircon. Calculations based on an ambient temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. When the aircon is set at 25 degrees it will cycle on for 70% of time. On cycling will increase as the air conditioner temperature is lowered until when set at 20 degrees the aircond will cycle on for 100% of the time. Results may vary depending on whether the aircon is sized correctly for the room it is operating in, windows and doors are shut, blinds are closed and climatic conditions in your area etc.