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Winter has well and truly arrived here in Ballarat. Are you running your air conditioner in this cold weather? Many of us wait until we can't stand the cold any longer before we turn the air conditioning on to warm our home.
Heating doesn't have to burn a hole in your wallet though. Here are five tips to help make using your air conditioner in winter more energy-efficient, so you can keep warm without the hefty price tag.
1. Set the temperature right
One of the biggest factors in the cost of your heating is the temperature you're setting for your air conditioner.
Your air conditioner temperature is subject to the Goldilocks effect-too low and you're left cold, and too warm will leave you paying big time to offset the temperature difference.
Here in Ballarat with our cold winters, the ideal winter temperature is 20°C. With our low ambient temperatures outside, we need to nudge the thermostat a little higher than other states to keep comfortable.
When it comes to cooling, every degree you lower the thermostat by will increase your energy costs by 10 per cent. You can expect a similar increase when you raise the temperature for heating too.
2. Insulate your home
You're paying for all that heat, don't just let it escape from your home! Insulating your ceiling, floors, and walls could help you save 45-55 per cent of your heating costs according to Sustainability Victoria!
There are some simple ways you can improve your home's heat retention without having to go all out and install insulation, including:
- Laying rugs down on tiles/floorboards
- Keeping curtains shut
- Block drafts with door snakes
While not as effective as properly installed insulation, there'll be a noticeable difference if you put these into practice. Not to mention, you won't have to fear walking over those cold tiles in the middle of the night anymore too!
3. Only heat where you need and for the time you need
There's not much point in heating a room you're not using. So when you've got the heat on and it's cold outside, only heat the rooms you're in.
If you've got a split system, this means closing doors to rooms you don't want to heat. For ducted heating, use the zoning capabilities to only heat the areas you need.
Likewise, don't use your heater longer than you need to. Use the timer function on your air conditioner so it's only on as long as you need it to be.
Do you really need to keep the aircon on all night when you're rugged up in bed? Set the timer to turn your aircon off a couple of hours after you've retired for the night.
Some air conditioners have some pretty smart features now too. Set your air conditioner to turn on just before you need to get up the next morning to make getting out of bed less daunting!
4. Regularly service air conditioners
You service your car regularly to make sure it's running efficiently and free from major faults, you should be doing the same with your air conditioner too! This is the best way to get the most out of your air conditioner.
A routine maintenance service can ensure that all the internal components are working as they should and helps to identify faults before you need major air conditioning repairs with a price tag to match.
Over time, your air conditioning unit will accumulate dust and debris that reduces its efficiency. A regular air conditioner service will help prevent this. You'll also benefit from better air quality.
5. Upgrade to a more efficient air conditioner
How old is your air conditioning unit? Heating and cooling technology have come a long way in terms of how effective and efficient they are.
Most new air conditioners will be more energy-efficient than older ones. Just making the switch to a newer model can instantly help you reduce costs when running your air conditioner in cold weather.
Then add the tips mentioned above and your heating costs will show a noticeable dip!
Running air conditioners during the cold weather doesn't have to be stressful. These tips are easy to implement and won't make you sacrifice comfort in order to keep your energy bills down.