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How to save money on air conditioning

Australians will be turning their air conditioning units on as temperatures rise. Images: Getty
Australians will be turning their air conditioning units on as temperatures rise. Images: Getty

Australia is in the midst of one of its hottest summers, and even recorded its hottest day ever in mid-December.

And with the rising temperatures comes an increased reliance on our air conditioning systems.

According to Finder data, around 40 per cent of Australians think they “can’t live” without their fan or air conditioning, with 590,000 Australian households leaving their air conditioning on while they’re not at home.

But while the idea of returning to a cool home is tempting, it’s worth remembering the extreme cost of such habits: just four hours of air conditioning during a heatwave will cost more than $300 over the course of the summer.

Mozo analysis has found that Australians are also guilty of leaving the aircon on so they sleep beneath a doona, potentially costing them an extra $436.80 over the course of a summer.

“As the mercury rises, more and more Aussies will reach for the aircon remote. Just make sure you’re not overdoing it, the perfect temperature setting is 25 degrees so anything less than that is indulgent cooling,” said Finder energy expert, Graham Cooke.

Most Australians, however, run their air conditioning at 22 degrees.

According to Finder’s air conditioning calculator, Australians with a 5kWh system who use theirs four hours a day, every day, over a summer of 30 degree days could save $50.19 by setting their air conditioning system just 2 degrees’ warmer.

“Some Aussies will drop their temperatures to the point where they’re reaching for a jacket. Don’t do that if you want to cut down on your summer bill adjust your usage,” Cooke said.

Cooke said blackout curtains can help block the sun, as can strategically placed taller plants.

Using a fan can also be effective if placed in front of an open window during an evening to pull cool air in.

And if you still can’t cool down, a cold shower will instantly cool you off. To stay cooler for longer, try wetting your hair.

Global reason to be smarter with your aircon

Richard Branson. Image: Getty
Richard Branson. Image: Getty

Air conditioning is a $143 billion industry, but is only at 14 per cent energy efficiency as the major companies prioritise competition over innovation, according to billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.

And as global temperatures rise, we spend more money and energy cooling down indoors.

This is a problem, Branson said, referring to a November 2018 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

The report found that comfort cooling is a major risk to our climate with air conditioning expected to account for an increase of more than 0.5 degrees to global temperatures by 2100.

“The world needs a radical change in comfort cooling technology, one that can effectively and assuredly offset the exponential increase in cooling energy demand and put us on a path to cooling with less warming,” the institute said.

Branson has launched The Global Cooling Prize to encourage innovation in the air conditioning sector.

“If we can disrupt the airline industry, where a single Boeing 737 can cost north of 70 million dollars, then I’m pretty sure we can do it with air conditioning,” Branson said.

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