Here’s another guest post. Alban has been kind enough to provide us with some tips on cutting our cooling costs. Enjoy!
An air conditioner is a luxury that not many of us are willing to go without, but when the bills come in the months after summer you can be wishing you’d been a bit more discerning in its use. Luckily there are easy ways you can save on your air conditioning costs which won’t leave you sweltering through the summer heat.
1 – Save at installation
A lot of the costs from your air conditioning unit can come when you buy it, because while you may have picked up a great deal at the stock take sales, you can still be hit with high installation costs when you get it home. Instead, make sure you shop around for the best deal on your installation costs, because not all services will be the same. There are plenty of people out there willing to take advantage of you wanting your cooler up and running quickly n time for summer.
Average air conditioning installation rates will be around $40 – $55 an hour for a small wall or window air conditioner, and around $66 an hour for a split system air conditioner. Or if you are getting a ducted or central system the installation will cost between $77 and $88 per hour. Therefore, when you are getting installation quotes, ask for a per hour costing so you can see exactly how much time you will be charged for.
To install a split system air conditioner in a window or in a wall should be around $500 but for a larger air conditioner or a tricky site you may need to budget around $880. If you are having a ducted system installed this could cost as little as $500 or as much as $6,000 depending on how many rooms you are having linked to the system.
2 – Cool your appliances
If you can keep your home cooler, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard, so cut down on the heat coming from your other appliances by:
- Keeping lamps and other heat producing appliances away from the air conditioner thermostat as they’ll make your air conditioner think your house is hotter than it really is.
- Upgrading to CFL bulbs which produce less heat than incandescent bulbs.
- Turning off your lights during the day or when you’re not in the room because even energy saving bulbs produce heat.
- Using your oven sparingly, instead cook in the microwave, crockpot or your toaster oven.
- Waiting until after dark when it is getting cooler, to use your dishwasher and dryer.
- Line drying your clothes to avoid using the dryer.
3 – Insulate your home
You can also keep your home cooler and lighten the load on your air conditioner by adding insulation elements such as:
- Fewer rocks and less cement and asphalt on the south and west sides of your home as they will absorb and radiate heat.
- Plant shady trees around your condenser unit so that it can draw in cooler air and doesn’t have to work as hard.
- Close the curtains and blind during the hottest part of the day.
- Insulate ductwork, attics, crawlspaces, the garage and any other areas which aren’t air conditioned so the heat doesn’t come back into your house.
- Install reflective window tint which will let in the sunshine but not the heat.
- Plant shade trees along the south and west of your home to shield it from the sun.
- If you are building a house or repainting choose a light colour exterior paint and roof to reflect the heat.
- Properly ventilate your attic so that hot air can escape and cool air can enter.
4 – Maintain your air conditioner
To keep your air conditioner running cost effectively, make sure you check and change the filter regularly and have a professional check the system in the cooler months. Also make sure that the condenser for the unit is in a shady spot, but still has room to dispose of the hot air it removes from your home.
5 – Air conditioner efficiency
You can also save money on your air conditioning costs if your unit is running efficiently in the following ways:
- Choose the right sized unit. If you are buying a window air conditioner, buying the bigger unit won’t necessarily make it work any better, and can just cost you more to run. Instead, look at the size of the room you want to cool, and the other factors which will affect the heat of the room such as which way it faces and how many windows it has.
- Choose an energy efficient unit. As well as comparing the price and the features, also look at the energy efficiency rating of the air conditioning unit you are looking at buying because a unit which is more efficient from the outset will go on saving you money.
- Install a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to set the temperature when you are at home, and if you know you’ll be out for several hours, you can set the temperature slightly higher, but still keep the house cool for your return.
- Install ceiling fans. By using energy efficient ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner, you and use the fans to cool off when it’s not quite hot enough to need the air conditioner. If you do need to turn on the air conditioner, use the fans at the same time and you can set your thermostat five degrees higher than normal while still staying cool, and your unit doesn’t need to work as hard. Only turn on the fan with the air conditioner in rooms you are using because the fan doesn’t actually lower the temperature of the room, but instead moves the air around and increases the amount of evaporation on your skin to cool you down.