How to Get the Most Out of Your Air Conditioning System

We all want to feel comfortable at home, but our extreme Australian weather often works against us. We have very hot, sometimes very wet, and also very cold weather. One of the best ways to combat these uncomfortable problems is by regulating the indoor temperature and humidity as much as possible – usually with air conditioning systems.

The problem is that air conditioning, cooling and heating, can be expensive at the best of times, but if we are not doing our best to let our air conditioning units do their job, prices can sky-rocket and our effect on the environment increases.

Our team at Coles Air Conditioning and Refrigeration have compiled a list of ways in which you can get the absolute best out of your air conditioning units, for the best value and most ecologically friendly results. Our Tips regarding air conditioners can be broken down into 4 categories:

Energy efficiency
Air conditioning settings
Non-air-conditioner tips
Servicing

Energy efficiency

  • Energy Efficiency Rating
Every air conditioning system has an energy efficiency star rating – the higher the number of stars, the more efficient your machine is. You can learn more about official energy efficiency ratings by visiting energyrating.gov.au/products/space-heating-and-cooling/air-conditioners. When comparing two air conditioners with the same star rating and Capacity Output, the better unit is the one with the lower Power Input number because It will be more efficient.
  • Use Economy Mode
Economy mode runs your compressor more slowly which reduces condenser pressure and lowers the energy and cost burden of the machine, but this means that the room temperature might be a little higher than the thermostat cool temperature (or lower than the set heating temperature).
ENERGY EFFICIENCY​
star rating
Doors and Rooms
  • Use Zones
Some air conditioners have zoning options, which means you do not have to condition the air through the whole building. This means you can condition certain areas only and lower your energy usage.
  • Use Doors Properly
When you are running your reverse cycle air conditioner, keep exterior doors and windows closed so that you don’t let the conditioned air out. This will give you more value for money and reduce your carbon footprint by using less energy, because opening doors and windows means that your air conditioner has even more air to condition at the same time as losing the conditioned air.

Also, close the internal doors to rooms you are not using, so as to keep the conditioned air in and ensure that you are only conditioning the air in the rooms you need. However, open the doors of all rooms you want to effect, to allow air flow. If you reduce the available air flow, you reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.
  • Maintain Temperature During Waking Hours
You may feel the desire to raise or lower the thermostat temperature when it is particularly hot or cold but remember that your air conditioner warms or cools air at the same rate, no matter the goal temperature. This means that changing the temperature will reduce the efficiency of your machine because it is harder to reach a desired temperature than it is to maintain a desired temperature.
  • Know the Ideal Temperature
It is good practice to set your thermostat to around 24-26 degrees Celsius in Summer and 18 – 20 degrees Celsius in Winter. Keep your machine as efficient as possible by keeping your thermostat to within 8 degrees Celsius of the external temperature.

Air conditioning units will naturally lose efficiency when the external temperature is 36 degrees Celsius or higher, but this problem is exacerbated if your thermostat is set wildly different to the outside temperature, causing higher bills, a higher carbon footprint and increased wear and tear on the technology.
  • Check Outside Temperature
If the outside temperature becomes more bearable outside, turn your air conditioner off and reduce your energy usage.
setting temperature
Power button
  • Turn It Off
Don’t forget to turn off your air conditioner when you are not at home. Similarly, set the unit to a timer for when you sleep. It may be too uncomfortable to have the air conditioner off all night, but having it turn on intermittently will lower your energy usage, carbon footprint and costs.
  • Keep the Sensor Clear
Make sure your sensor isn’t affected by any heat sources like lamps, cookers, heaters or TVs which give off heat and may produce a false reading.

Air conditioning settings

  • Fan Mode
Some central air systems will have a fan mode. This means that the fan is separately controlled to the compressor (the part that does the cooling). Using just the fan reduces energy usage by increasing air flow with the fan, but not cooling down the air itself with the compressor.
  • Snowflake Symbol
Use this mode when you want to cool the air down.
  • Sunshine Symbol
Use this mode when you want to make your air warmer.
  • Auto Mode
Try not to use this if you want to keep your machine energy efficient, because auto modes can switch between heat and cool mode, which means the conditioning unit may end up working against itself.
Air conditioning settings
Air conditioning settings
  • Dry (Dehumidifying) Mode
Confusingly, the Dry Mode button is usually a water drop! The dry mode will dehumidify the room or rooms as well as give out cool, conditioned air.
  • Vertical and Horizontal Swing
Almost all non-ducted air conditioning units have slats in them to direct the air in a certain way. To affect a specific area of the room, keep the slats stationary. Conversely, to affect the whole room, let the slats move horizontally, vertically, or both.

Servicing

  • Clean the Filter

The efficiency of your air conditioning relies on the steady, free flow of air. This is reduced when your filter is clogged with dust particles, which will naturally happen over time. Your air conditioning servicer can do this for you, or you can do it yourself. In your home, it is good practice to change your filter every month or so, 3 months at the latest.

Do your research, however. Different filters have different energy efficiency ratings and watch out, as ducted air conditioning systems usually have a washable filter, unless the filter is pleated, in which case it should be replaced.

  • Listen

If your air conditioner is about to fail or is wearing, it will usually start to get louder. When this happens, call in an expert from a professional team like Coles Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

Servicing

Other tips

  • Minimise Heat from the Sun
The Sun’s rays will warm a room in no time, even in winter, and this is a nightmare for your air conditioner. Slightly closing curtains and blinds when you are in the room (so you still have some beautiful natural light) and closing them fully when you are absent, along with opening awnings will go a huge way to reducing UV effects.
  • Clear Obstructions
In addition to clearing your filter, make sure your internal air intake is free from obstructions like household objects, ceiling coverings or curtains, so the air can flow, and your air conditioner does not need to work overtime. Similarly, keep your external fan free from all obstructions like plants, garden paraphernalia or external furniture, (as well as ensuring it is in the shade).
  • Use Ceiling Fans or Draughts
Ceiling fans will circulate air and make the immediate area feel cooler but are much less expensive to run. Similarly, opening doors and windows to create a through-draft (except when its 35 degrees or higher outside) will help cool you without costing a thing.
Other tips
Ceiling fan

Call a Specialist In

An air conditioning specialist such as Coles Air Conditioning and Refrigeration will maintain your machine to a very high standard and will also be able to spot potential problems with mechanical wear and tear that can lead to failures. This should be done at least once a year, to keep your machine running at an optimal level.

Don’t Neglect to maintain your indispensable air conditioning system – contact Coles Air Conditioning in Newcastle, NSW by visiting the website at colesrefrigeration.com.au, by emailing them with this online form or by calling (02) 4957 0221.