A well installed, maintained and – importantly – managed air conditioning system is a godsend in a typical Australian summer. If you want to enjoy those long, humid months and keep your expenses in check, you'll want to make sure that your air conditioning system is properly controlled. What are some of the key rules to bear in mind to help you achieve this?
Rule Number One
Always keep doors and windows closed whenever you're running your air conditioning system. Some people seem to think that they can run the system and leave a window open if it's a windy day, so they can catch a breeze. The net result is that you just keep the system running longer, as it struggles to cool a continuous flow of warm air.
Getting in the Zone
You may have a large home, with several rooms that are essentially unused. In this case, close the doors to those rooms, as well as the internal vents. If your system is setup with different "zones" you should activate these only for the areas that you use the most.
Blow It All About
Many homes these days have ceiling fans and these can help to spread the air caused by the A/C system more efficiently throughout the room. If you don't have any, consider getting some small and relatively cost-effective portable fans for the living rooms and bedrooms.
Switch Things Off
While you might not think that they make any difference, the various appliances, computers and other electrical items that you leave plugged in and switched on can actually heat up the room that they're in. This will just give your A/C system additional work to do, so you should switch them off whenever they're not needed. In the same vein, always choose the most energy-efficient bulbs you can get for your internal lighting, as these will also give off less heat than their counterparts.
Timing Is Everything
It may be possible for you to add a sensor-driven timer system to your central control panel. In this way, you could get the A/C to turn on only when somebody enters the room and switch off when they exit. Once again, every little helps. A programmable thermostat will also help you to prime your home for your arrival when you're on your way back from work. The system can be switched on half an hour before you arrive to bring the room back to a liveable level.
Have a look at all vents, both input and output and make sure that they're not being blocked in any way. If they're outside, ensure that plants haven't grown to become an obstruction. Inside, furniture or drapes could be impeding the circulation of the air.
Finally, try and delay any tasks that have a tendency to increase the internal temperature until later in the day, when the ambient temperature is cooler. This means washing and drying clothes or running a bath full of hot water.
Always keep your air conditioning system in first-class shape by scheduling a regular service.