Spring has kicked in and summer is around the corner and, as we all know, that means that the heat is about to be turned up and people will be scrambling to switch on the air conditioners to cool down.
But while air conditioning units are modern technology’s boon to those of us who can’t bear Australia’s hot weather, it does cost a lot of money to keep them running. Don’t lose hope, though, because Leading Edge Energy has your back with our 10 top tips for maximising air conditioning energy efficiency for your business.
1. Invest in modern units that use natural refrigerants
Using hydrocarbon refrigerants blends rather than synthetic refrigerants can result in savings of between 17 and 38% on energy, making your unit operate more efficiently thus reducing wear and tear and leading to fewer breakdowns. If you combine that with inverter technology, you can even push your business’ savings up to 60%.
One valuable thing to note is that synthetic refrigerants are being phased out so there are fewer suppliers, this means that any leaks will cost a fortune to re-gas and the whole system will have to be replaced with a newer one anyway.
Eco-conscious people might also be pleased to know that is that these hydrocarbons are a lot kinder to the environment.
2. Give your units a professional tune-up
An air-conditioning unit is a machine made up of moving parts and compressed gas. If left idle over the winter, certain things can seize up over time and could impact the unit’s efficiency once it is started up over summer. So, it’s always a good idea to get a professional to give it a tune-up, much like you would with your car.
It is also wise to ensure that the outside unit (condenser) is not clogged up with any debris and, if possible, make sure that it is in the shade.
3. Clean the filters
Cleaning the filters on your commercial air-conditioning units is something that you can do yourself and you normally only need to do it at least once a month. This is important because the unit will have to work harder to cool the ambient temperature if the filters are clogged and dirty. You might have to do this more frequently during the summer because there is more dust and pollen in the air that might get into the filters.
The filters are easily accessible and can be removed from the unit for a good hose-down and then you can replace them once dry. Doing so will not only save you money on your bill, but it is also critical to the unit’s long-term health.
4. Protect the thermostat
A thermostat is designed to be heat sensitive, so if you place a heat-emitting appliance, like a lamp or television set, near it, it will pick up extra heat signals, tricking it into thinking that the room’s ambient temperature is hotter than it is. As a result, the air conditioning unit will try to cool the room more than it should, working harder and therefore impacting its own efficiency levels.
Keeping the thermostat reasonably far enough from heat-emitting appliances will ensure that it will work as it should.
A touchscreen thermostat controls room temperature.
5. Turn your air conditioning down
This one is simple. You might be surprised to learn that for each degree you set the temperature below 25.5, energy consumption is increased by about eight percent. Through some simple calculations, you will find that you will save about $8 per month on a $100 bill for each degree you can stand above 25.5.
A pro-tip? Set your unit to blast-cool the room for a few minutes and then set it to a higher temperature.
6. Close all the doors and windows when your unit is running
This is another easy air conditioning efficiency tip and it will definitely save you some serious cash.
If you close all doors, the a/c unit will only calculate its workload to cool the specific room that it is in. If you leave the doors open, it will try harder to cool the rest of the building to the set temperature.
Also, make sure that you have no doors leading outside left open, otherwise, your energy consumption will go through the roof and you will lose all the benefits of cooling.
7. Get a ceiling fan to help air conditioning flow
A fan is a great appliance to help an air conditioner cool a room because it lets the cool air circulate. This means that the a/c unit will not have to work as hard to reach the far ends of the room that it is in. This makes it cooler much quicker and longer, allowing you to give the a/c periodic breaks and saving you money in the process.
8. Weatherproof your business premises
The best way to keep the cool air in your business premises is to invest in double-glazed windows, but that can be an expensive option. If you don’t want to shell out on double-glazing your whole property, there are other weatherproofing measures that will also boost your air conditioning unit’s efficiency.
Pulling the blinds or closing the curtains to keep the sun out will result in a cooler room to start with, meaning that you will not need as much output from your air-conditioning unit. Applying window film to tint the glass darker also prevents a degree of sunlight and, thus, heat from getting in.
9. Purchase the right-sized air conditioning unit
It is important to buy an air conditioning unit that’s appropriately sized for the area of the room it is cooling. An underpowered one will be working constantly at full tilt to lower the temperature of a big room, leading to high energy consumption and quicker wear and tear on the machine. Meanwhile, an air conditioner that is too powerful for the room it’s in will just waste energy unnecessarily.
To make sure you’re getting the right type of a/c unit for your business premises, consult an expert to evaluate your needs.
10. Invest in a smart thermostat
Most modern air-conditioning units have an inbuilt smart thermostat that allows the unit to make intelligent decisions on how much energy to use and to allow for variables such as time of day, humidity, the number of people in the room and so forth.
If you have an older unit, you can still purchase and install a smart thermostat to maximise efficiency and save you money on your bills.
Bonus – Turn air conditioning units off when not needed
The easiest and most effective way to maximise your air conditioner’s energy efficiency is to remember to turn them off when they’re not in use!
This especially holds true in an office environment where people are in a rush to leave at the end of the day. Post signs up in offices/workspaces reminding staff to check the units. You can also instruct staff to put the units on a timer, or you can plug them into timer sockets that will automatically turn the units off at a set time.
Want more advice on energy-saving tips for your business?
As seasoned energy brokers in Australia, you can be sure that have tried-and-tested advice on reducing electricity costs. . Read our advice on keeping pubs cool during the summer, upgrading your lighting to improve performance, and more.