Keep your cool this Wet

NT News - Real Estate - - Realestate - JEN­NIFER VEERHUIS

QI’m think­ing of buy­ing an air­con­di­tioner but I’m con­cerned about the on­go­ing power bills. Do you have any tips or sug­ges­tions on how to use air­con­di­tion­ers ef­fi­ciently?

ATurn­ing on the air­con­di­tioner is about as syn­ony­mous with the wet sea­son in Dar­win as man­goes and mould.

But for most Aus­tralians, us­ing the air­con­di­tioner also goes hand-in-hand with in­creas­ing power bills — and a sense of dread when those bills ar­rive. But there are ways to use air­con­di­tion­ers more ef­fi­ciently — and re­duce your power bills.

LG Elec­tron­ics mar­ket­ing man­ager for mo­bile and air­con­di­tion­ing, Bruce Leigh, says there’s a huge mar­ket for air­con­di­tion­ers in Aus­tralia as we seek com­fort at home.

“It’s all about mak­ing a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment for your­self and your fam­ily,” he says.

“Air­con­di­tion­ers have changed a lot in the past 10 to 20 years, they’re a lot more ef­fi­cient and they have a lot more ben­e­fits than pre­vi­ously.” Call­ing in help Bruce says call­ing in an ex­pert can help de­ter­mine which air­con­di­tioner that would best suit your home be­cause they will look at vari­ables such as the size of your home, whether you’ve got north-fac­ing win­dows, whether you have cur­tains, or if it’s for the kitchen or a bed­room.

“Your cool­ing and heat­ing de­vices can make up to 40 per cent of your en­ergy us­age for your whole household,” he says.

“If it’s a new build you may want to look at ducted air­con­di­tion­ing which is very min­i­mal­ist.

“The only thing that shows is the grilles, so it’s great for those who want a sleek, mod­ern de­sign.”

Bruce says a great ben­e­fit of ducted air­con­di­tion­ing is the abil­ity to run the air­con­di­tioner in some rooms but not oth­ers.

“LG has a new sys­tem com­ing out in 2019 which can con­trol up to eight dif­fer­ent zones in the same house,” he says.

“That just makes it eas­ier for you to con­trol your en­ergy us­age.

“If you have a big house and you don’t need to air­con­di­tion the east wing, you can just fo­cus on air­con­di­tion­ing the oc­cu­pied ar­eas.”

He says home­own­ers with an ex­ist­ing apart­ment or a house with­out a suit­able roof space may find a ducted sys­tem is not an op­tion for them.

“For those who need to retro-build, then the only op­tion may be a wall-mounted air­con­di­tioner which can still the day,” he says. “If you get direct sun­light com­ing into your house it’s go­ing to heat up your room, which means your air­con­di­tioner has to work harder, which can add stress to your ma­chine, wear and tear and also can af­fect your en­ergy bill.

“A very com­mon mis­take peo­ple make is they blast their air­con­di­tioner. For ex­am­ple, it’s 35°C out­side and they try and get a low tem­per­a­ture like 21°C. That makes the air­con­di­tioner work re­ally hard and then they turn it off and the room heats up again and then they blast it back down again to 21°C.

“It’s much more ef­fi­cient en­ergy-wise — and kin­der to the ma­chine in terms of wear and tear — to keep it to a con­stant, com­fort­able 24-25°C de­grees and it can run at that con­stant tem­per­a­ture. You can stay com­fort­able and you ac­tu­ally save on en­ergy in the long term.”

Bruce says the gov­ern­ment web­site en­er­gy­rat­ing.com.au sup­plies vari­ables and cal­cu­la­tions to help de­ter­mine if a par­tic­u­lar air­con­di­tioner is en­ergy ef­fi­cient.

“Mod­ern ma­chines have got great new in­no­va­tions,” he says.

“The new WH se­ries from LG has the cur­rent en­ergy us­age of the ma­chine it­self on a dis­play so you can see the us­age in real time.

“You can also down­load a free app called Smart ThinQ and you can see your weekly or monthly en­ergy us­age and how much your air­con­di­tion­ing is adding to your en­ergy bills.

“It’s worth re­mem­ber­ing air­con­di­tion­ers not only cool in the sum­mer, they heat dur­ing the win­ter so there are two ben­e­fits.”

An­other way to en­sure a ma­chine runs as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble is through main­te­nance.

“It’s cer­tainly worth giv­ing them a spring clean or an au­tumn clean ev­ery six months,” he says. “Clean around your out­door unit for leaves or cob­webs or dust, just a fine bris­tled brush would be fine, and also in the in­door unit as well, to make sure the fil­ters are clean. Just to make sure the air­con­di­tioner can run with clean air flow, it helps it run smoother and uses less en­ergy.”

He says if air­con­di­tion­ers get moist in­side the in­door unit, they can be­come breed­ing grounds for bac­te­ria and mould.

“The auto clean func­tion helps dry out the in­door unit so it’s nice and dry which helps re­duce mould and keeps the en­vi­ron­ment cleaner and fresher,” Bruce says.

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