Winter has well and truly arrived, but lucky you! You’ve got a reverse cycle air conditioner. Well, not so lucky if it’s not functioning properly! Maintaining heating efficiency in your home is not just about having a system that’s the right size and heating capacity for your home, like everything, it also needs a little TLC once in a while.
Here are some expert tips that will guarantee your unit maintains the ultimate comfort levels in your home for many years to come.
Make sure your air conditioner is working as efficiently as possible
Keeping your home warm basically comes down to making sure your air conditioner is working efficiently. But how can you tell this is happening? Most electrical appliances these days conform to a star rating label system that can help you make an informed choice. These work in terms of a number of stars (from one to six), and the more stars an air conditioner has the more efficient it is. Some systems even have additional ratings from seven to ten stars, meaning they are super-efficient
In terms of reverse cycle air conditioners and energy efficiency in your home, look for the different coloured stars. Blue star ratings refer to cooling capacity and red stars for heating. Given 40% of our energy usage in Australia is due to heating and cooling appliances, it’s worth doing your research first!
Check that your air conditioner is the right size for your heating needs
In terms of ensuring heating efficiency, your air conditioner needs to not only be the right size, but the right capacity. This is determined by the amount of air you need to heat. If you have a unit that’s too big, it will have short heating cycles and use up a lot of energy. Which of course means bigger power bills!
If it’s too small, it has to work harder to warm up rooms, which can result in a lot of wear and tear. Which means you’ll be constantly paying for maintenance or you may need to invest in a completely new air conditioner.
An air conditioner’s heating capacity is rated in kilowatts (kW), and to calculate efficiency you need to take into account things like height, weight and length and what type of rooms you are heating. In terms of keeping your home warm, it can also be impacted by other variables like climate, insulation, window fixtures and the size and orientation of glass doors and windows.
When looking at how to heat your home efficiently, aim for an air conditioner that supplies around 125 watts of power for each square metre you are looking to warm. A size calculator can help you determine what type of system is suitable for your needs.
Use your air conditioner properly including the thermostat
So you’ve done your research and chosen an air conditioner that’s the right size for your home and has the adequate star ratings, however, it’s still not working as well as you’d hoped. The next step is to ask yourself – am I using it properly?
In order to ensure heating efficiency you should be closing all windows and doors, only run your air conditioner when you’re using a room, and try to resist the urge to turn the heat up too much. Around 18 to 20°C is about right for moderate winter conditions, and around 16°C for rooms like storage areas and bathrooms that you aren’t using as often. Basically, the smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your energy usage will be.
Thermostats and programmable timers should also be used to ensure maximum benefit. So for example, pre-set the unit to start heating rooms before you get home, and use the Eco mode to reduce the heating output. Some systems also have sensor mechanisms that can detect people in a room, and will heat accordingly to reduce the energy output.
Keep your air conditioner and the areas around it clean
A build-up of debris inside or outside your air conditioning unit will mean the system will need to work even harder to maintain a suitable heat level, thus increasing your power usage. Indoor units (particularly vents) should be regularly wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dust, and plants, curtains and furniture kept well away from vents in order to maximise airflow.
In order to maximise the energy efficiency in your home, outside units should also be kept free from dirt, dust and foliage, and overhanging branches trimmed regularly to ensure good circulation.
Keep filters clean to assist with air quality and heating efficiency
In terms of heating, air conditioners essentially work by pulling cool air into the system and pushing warm air out. However, the filters on air conditioning systems also filter dust and debris from the air, so maintaining them is an essential part of ensuring a constant supply of clean air is circulated throughout your home.
Failing to keep vents clean will not only decrease a system’s productivity and heating efficiency, it can lead to negative health issues like allergies and asthma. It can also result in a system that makes a lot of noise. Not ideal!
Filters should be cleaned once every few months or after around 200 hours of use, but some systems will require an air conditioning specialist to do the job properly.
Book in regular maintenance checks with a licensed professional
It’s just your system’s filters that need attention, booking in a regular maintenance check will also enable your contractor to check for other issues. A maintenance service will normally involve checking for leaks, ensuring airflow and motor efficiency, and making sure that evaporator coils, ductwork and the condenser are running properly.
A regular service will not only optimise your unit’s heating efficiency, it will guarantee your system runs effectively and efficiently all year round. Which could help lessen those increasingly expensive power bills!
Shivering through winter with an inefficient air conditioner? Contact Crown Power today on 0427 175 654 (Brisbane & Sunshine Coast) or on 0409 678 803 (Gold Coast).