Cool your house smarter this summer for energy efficiency and a lower power bill.
As a city in a subtropical climate, the need to cool our homes in summer is a fact of life in Brisbane. But could you be doing it more efficiently? Read on for tips on how you can save money on power bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
Cover your windows
Invest in blinds and/or lined curtains and – if budget allows – install external awnings over the west-facing windows. When you’re out for the day, cover your windows. By simply closing curtains over large glass areas you can prevent significant heat transfer into the home and any air conditioning won’t have to work as hard.
Love the humble ceiling fan
If you own your own property and have no ceiling fans, consider paying a sparkie to install a few (fans are cheaper to buy online, and plentiful). If you already have air con installed, ceiling fans are an excellent substitute on all but the hottest days, making the room feel 3°C cooler. Ceiling fans are also more energy efficient than ever. DC (direct current) powered models use up to 70% less power than the old standard fans.
Install roof insulation
If budget allows, have roof insulation installed. In Australia, 40% of our energy use is consumed in buildings. The financial savings from insulation greatly exceed the investment costs – insulation in the average building pays for itself within two to four years.
Buying air con? Do your research
A reverse-cycle inverter-type air conditioner is the most efficient. Don’t buy bigger than your need – a credible air conditioning installer will assess your home and recommend a kilowatt size that delivers the best cost efficiency. Also make make sure your system is fully programmable. That will help avoid the temptation to leave it on when you leave the house for long periods.
Get sweet with 24 degrees
Set your air conditioning between 27 and 24 degrees. This is the sweet spot in hot weather for comfort versus cost. Every degree you go lower will increase your power consumption by 10%.
On hot days, don’t wait
There is a widespread belief that on a hot day you should wait as long as you can before turning on your cooling system. Not so. When you know a hot day is coming, waiting until the hottest part of the day means your air con has to work twice as hard to reach your target temperature, and may never reach it. That means higher power bills.