Air conditioning can provide some much-needed respite from our hot summer days, but cooling your home can quickly increase your energy bills, especially if the air conditioner you have is old or hasn’t been regularly maintained.
Upgrading to an energy-efficient cooling system can help you to minimise energy costs when warmer weather hits. A reverse cycle split system air-conditioner is the most energy-efficient and sustainable option on the market.
What makes a reverse cycle split system air conditioner the most energy-efficient option?
Consisting of two parts - an outdoor unit and an indoor unit - a reverse cycle air conditioner (RCAC) can both cool and heat your home.
The outdoor unit of the RCAC extracts heat from indoors and moves it outside via pipes containing refrigerant gas, which cools the house. This is known as heat pump technology, which is the same method used by a refrigerator.
The efficiency of this technology is down to the fact that an RCAC is moving heat/cool air in or out of your home, while other options create heat or cool air through a heating element, fuel source, or water. Each unit of electricity can generate between 3-6 units of cooling or heating, making an RCAC 300-600% efficient.
How to cool your home efficiently
The key principles of efficient home cooling are:
Use fans first
Only cool the room you’re using
Set the temperature to no lower than 24-26 degrees where possible
Believe it or not, your body will regulate itself during the winter months in order to maintain thermal comfort, and will adapt gradually to the hotter temperatures as they increase over the summer months. So, your ability to handle hot days improves through the course of the summer.
This means that, when it’s warmer but not too hot, you don’t need to blast your RCAC at the lowest temperature - however tempting that may be. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, when it’s 26-30 degrees outside, it’s best to run your RCAC at 24 degrees. As it heats up to 31-40, gradually raise the temperature on your air conditioner to 26-27 degrees, as your body adjusts to the hotter weather.
Every degree of heating or cooling increases your energy use by 5-10%, so it’s best to start small and gradually increase or decrease the setting as needed.
How to maintain your reverse cycle air conditioner
As warmer weather approaches, think back to when you last serviced your air conditioner unit or had it checked. How old is it? Might it need replacing?
It’s worth getting out your instruction manual and checking the maintenance schedule. Remove the filter and clean it according to the instructions or book a service with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional. If your unit is more than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing it with a more efficient model.
Having an efficient cooling appliance like a reverse cycle split system to keep you cool in summer can help you save on energy and minimise your carbon footprint.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.