One of the most significant energy costs for homes and businesses in FNQ is air conditioning. It’s nigh on impossible to get through our tropical summer without the use of air conditioning but considering the size, efficiency and settings of your system can significantly reduce emissions and costs associated with keeping things cool.
What size unit do you need for your space?
It’s recommended that an air conditioner should have at least 80 watts of output per square metre of space to be cooled. An oversized system will use extra energy and an undersized unit will not cool the room effectively. It’s important to also consider ceiling height and how your space is used but general guidance for air conditioner capacity based on room size can be found in the table below;
Room Size Air conditioner Capacity (Cooling)
3m x 3m = 9m² 2.5kW
5m x 5m = 25m² 3.5kW
5.5m x 5.5m = 30m² 3.5-5kW
6.3m x 6.3m = 40m² 5kW-6kW
6.7m x 6.7m = 45m² 6kW-7.1kW
7.1m x 7.1m = 50m² 7.1kW-8kW
7.7m x 7.7m = 55m² 8kW-9.2kW
Source: Harvey Norman
It’s always worthwhile checking the energy star rating on your air conditioner before you purchase because this can make a significant difference to the lifetime cost of running the unit.
What temperature should you set your air conditioner on?
Each degree lower that you set your air conditioner costs money and emissions. Ergon has a useful Air Conditioning Calculator Tool which you can use to calculate how much you could save by adjusting the temperature settings on your air conditioner. By adjusting the temperature setting of a 6.0kW system from 23 degrees up to 25 degrees for 10 hours a day, you could save $3.12 per week or $162 per year.
What is Dry Mode?
In Cairns, a significant factor in the apparent temperature, especially in the wet season, is the humidity. The dry mode setting on your air conditioner reduces the speed at which the unit’s compressor works and focuses the energy on reducing the humidity within the room. Adjusting your system setting to “dry mode” can reduce energy consumption, save money and reduce emissions by up to 50% while still maintaining a comfortable environment in all but the hottest of days.
How often should I clean my Air Conditioner?
Over time, air conditioners will gather dust, dirt and especially here in the tropics, mould. Dirty air conditioning units are not great for air quality and health but they also have a significantly detrimental impact on efficiency and energy consumption. It’s recommended that air conditioning units be cleaned thoroughly at least every 12 months but, in FNQ it may be pertinent to do so even more regularly than that. Experts believe that cleaning air conditioning filters can improve efficiency by up to 15%.
Correct air conditioner size, settings and maintenance can help to reduce emissions while still keeping your space comfortable.