How to use air conditioning effectively!

With energy bills rising across the country, you may be put off using your air conditioner this summer, especially with some household bills rising by around 20% compared to this time last year.

But, with temperatures set to soar once again in the UK this summer, our homes and business spaces may become unbearable at times; we British folk don’t cope the best in the heat, with air conditioners being a saving grace for many people.

Having an air conditioning unit will help keep you cool and purify the air, meaning you will breathe in fewer particles and irritants that can cause any issues with your breathing and keep you cool. But knowing how to use air conditioning effectively is even more important!

With the help of our air conditioning experts, we have been able to pull a few ways together that you can help keep your energy bills low whilst running an air conditioner in your home or office space. By doing so, you will be able to keep your home cool and fresh in the summer and your office at an optimal temperature for a good level of work.

So here’s 14 methods of how to use air conditioning effectively and economically..

Keep Temperature As High & Comfortable As Possible.

The lower the temperature you set your AC to cool the air at, the more electric energy it will consume.

Let’s give an example. Say the outside temperature is 35 degrees Celsius and you set your AC system to cool at 18 degrees Celsius, it will cost a lot more than if you have it set at 22 degrees. According to statistics on Energy.Gov, air conditioners use 3 to 5% less energy for every degree you raise the thermostat! Let’s be honest, those 4 degrees aren’t going to make a massive difference to how you feel but is a great method of how to use air conditioning effectively.

In general, the ideal air conditioning temperature to save electricity while cooling could be anywhere between 22-24°C. Going lower than that value will considerably increase the electric AC bill without giving you noticeable difference in comfort. And when you turn on the AC, don’t set the temperature too low thinking that this will make it cool quicker because it won’t. All this does is make the system operate at full capacity for a longer duration. Just set it on the optimal temperature level mentioned above and it will do its job in getting the air to that level as fast as possible.

One additional note is not to confuse the thermostat by constantly changing the temperature setting. Just choose one temperature that is comfortable and leave it there for the day, and maybe a different temperature (higher) at evening.

Choose The Right Thermostat Location.

Placing the thermostat in the wrong place can cause it to get an inaccurate reading of the temperature, and thus, keep the air conditioner working for a longer time thinking that the room temperature hasn’t gone down to the desired level yet.

For example, if you put the thermostat too close to a television or any appliance that gives off heat, an unusually warm wall, close to a window, or somewhere subject to the radiation from a lighting unit, or even subject to a direct sunlight, then even when the temperature in the room reaches the desired value, the thermostat will still think that it hasn’t, and it will keep running the AC at full capacity trying to get lower.

Use a Smart Programmable Thermostat.

This is another effective way for economical use of the AC for cooling. Smart thermostats can be programmed so that they will turn on and off the air conditioner at specific times and temperature degrees as you set them in advance.

This is great, because you can schedule your AC to work during the hours when someone is in the property and have it to turn off when nobody is expected to be there. This ensures you never forget to turn the system off and waste quite a bit of energy in the process.

Add to that, you can schedule your AC to work at different temperature settings based on the hours of the day, and based on the season, as explained in the previous tip above. With Wi-Fi capabilities, most thermostats can also be used via mobile applications so that you can control them remotely and set the correct setting before you get home. There really isn’t a limit to what you can do with programmable thermostats. They are serious life savers and are how to use air conditioning effectively!

Do Regular Maintenance & Cleaning.

Regular maintenance and cleaning is necessary for using the air conditioner efficiently. Dirty filters, dusty vents, and evaporator/condenser coils can significantly decrease the efficiency of the air conditioner. A system that has clean air flow can work at optimum performance a lot more efficiently than one that is dirty.

And the same applies for insulated AC gas pipes and ducts cracks in the ducts (if applicable) when they are used. Try to inspect and clean the different parts of the air conditioner on regular basis as per the manufacturer recommendation. Typically, for the general maintenance of the air conditioner, you can contact the specialists at Mid-Tech Services to ensure your reactive and planned maintenance schedules are up to date!

Turn it off a While before Leaving.

Now this may seem like an extremely obvious method but make sure you turn off the system before you leave the building. Unless your property is horribly insulated and air leaks everywhere (which we will get into below), the cool air will remain there for a while even after you turn off the AC unit. How to use air conditioning effectively comes down to basic common sense sometimes.

You don’t need to wait to the last minute before leaving the place in order to turn it off. Try to switch it off, whether manually or through the programmable thermostat, fifteen to twenty minutes before leaving, and you should still enjoy the cool air during that time. Then set it up to turn back on 15 minutes before you return.

Utilise Fans.

Now this one may not be applicable to everyone but if you can utilise ceiling fans or portable fans to circulate air in the room, this will help with air circulation and the effect of keeping you cool. Fans create a wind-chill effect, making you feel cooler and allowing you to set your thermostat at a higher temperature without sacrificing comfort.

Cool Only The Places In Use.

Again, this is quite obvious but you don’t need to turn on the air conditioning in rooms that are not being used to feel comfortable. And in case of a central AC system, there should be the zone cooling feature that allows you to turn on enough of the system to cool down a certain zone and use the dampers inside the ducts in order to direct the air flow into that zone.

Proper Insulation.

We have mentioned insulation within this blog because it is CRUCIAL. By ensure your home is adequately insulated, especially the walls and loft, will help maintain a consistent indoor temperature, massively reducing the workload on your air conditioner.

If you let the cool air to escape to other spaces, or if you let the hot air to creep in, then the air conditioner will work longer than needed at full capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature.

Some of the tips that help you separate the cooled areas and maintain the cool air are:

  • Keep the doors closed, using door sweeps, and using automatic door closer or air curtains when there’s frequent use of the door by many people.
  • Keep windows closed, use curtains to prevent direct sun light from entering and heating the air inside, or close shutters or blinds when available.
  • Inspect and fix the insulation at the windows and doors, and in the walls between the different rooms, and between the inside and the outside of the building.
  • Plant trees when possible around the place to provide shade from the direct sunlight that heats up the air through windows, or heats up the walls themselves. We know this may be farfetched but it’ll still help!

Utilise Natural Ventilation.

Take advantage of cooler evenings or early morning temperatures by opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate through your home. Use window or ceiling fans to help draw in cool air and push out hot air. Again, how to use air conditioning effectively doesn’t always mean the system has to anything to do with the specific situation. If it’s cool outside and your home is warm, then let that air in!

Limit Heat-Generating Activities.

Minimise the use of appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, stoves, and dryers, during the hottest times of the day. Opt for energy-efficient alternatives or consider cooking outdoors on a grill to reduce indoor heat.

Use Fan & Dehumidifier Modes.

Sometimes, the air temperature is fine, but you don’t feel comfortable for a different reason other than the heat. It is possible that all what you need is to circulate the air a little bit, and to do so, you can either use a separate fan, or switch the AC to the fan mode that comes with almost all air conditioners, and that should consume a lot less energy than using the cooling mode all the time.

And when it comes to places with high humidity, then that could be the reason of making you feel hot even if the temperature is already low. In that case, you don’t need to cool down the air further in order to feel comfortable, but rather, to bring the humidity level down.

To do so, you need to either use a separate dehumidifier, or to switch the AC to the dehumidifier mode in order to lower down the humidity level. In relatively dry and hot areas with humidity around 70% and below 75%, you might consider using an evaporative cooler instead of the AC and it should give you cool air at less energy consumption.

Install Proper AC Size.

Normally, Air con units work at the highest efficiency when they operate at their rated or nominal values. Over-sizing AC units can cause them to run at a much lower capacity than the rated capacity, and thus, at a lower efficiency.

Keep Air Vents Clear.

Ensure that furniture, rugs, or other objects do not obstruct the air vents. Clear airflow allows for efficient cooling and helps maintain a comfortable environment. It really is that simple!

Consider Energy-Efficient Upgrades.

If your air conditioner is old and inefficient, upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient model can significantly reduce your cooling costs in the long run. Look for units with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating.

Not only a newer systems better for your pocket but they are great for the environment too. Older systems throw out a lot of carbon emissions and manufactures had to crack down on this. The introduction of highly developed refrigerants were the key to keep GWP (Global Warming Potential) low! We’re sure new inventions are being created as we speak.

Conclusion  – Best Way to Use The AC Effectively?

Remember, the effectiveness of these measures may vary depending on factors such as climate, home size, insulation quality, and the efficiency of your air conditioning system.

Implementing a combination of these strategies should help you optimise your air conditioner’s performance while keeping your energy consumption and costs in check.

If you’re looking for a company that offers air conditioning maintenance, design and installation services across the West Midlands, London, and surrounding areas, contact Mid-Tech Services today. In the meantime, follow our journey on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram for more handy HVAC insights and news.