While the northern hemisphere is moving into a Holiday Season that hopes to emulate an early 20th Century, Norman Rockwell snow scene, many antipodeans have started to turn their air Aus AC on for the first time in a while. But, it’s not just temperatures rising and humidity creeping up – an energy crisis has meant that electricity bills have gone through the roof. With basic air conditioning being a major power vampire and with Aussies liking to keep the aircon on 24/7, how can they save power on their Aus AC?
Aus AC: Can you replace it with fans?
An investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) looked at classic alternatives to Aus AC back in 2013. While the power costs are out of date, the relative differences in each cooling technology's power consumption remain eye-opening.
At one end of the cooling spectrum you’ve got regular fans which some might think are inefficient power hogs. However, a 30cm desk fan requires between 35 to 41 Watts which, if left on 24/7 for a month, costs under $8... even in today’s money (using an average 25c per KWh with Australia’s Amber Energy). Larger floor fans only hit $10 per month.
This reality arguably undermines Dyson marketing its desk fans as requiring less-than half the power of a traditional fan. You can pick up a decent standard desk fan for $15 while a Dyson desk fan can cost over $300. It only pays for itself, after a five years, if left on 24/7 throughout that time(!) Dyson fans also get very noisy compared to the whoosh of a desk fan – they sound more like turbines – and although they provide a constant air stream rather than buffeted air (caused by rotating blades) is that actually a problem? Nonetheless, we can’t criticize any tech for consuming less power in this day and age.
Another alternative to Aus AC is the ceiling fan which adorns many older homes. While these may get sneered at in an age of aircon, sometimes all you need is a breeze to feel cooler and more comfortable and their power consumption is tiny compared to actual AC.
How much power does Aus AC use?
If you knew how much power an air conditioner used you might start convincing yourself of the values of remaining hot and sticky this summer. But, the fact is that even small units have power consumption measured in Kilowatts. Physical size does not always govern power consumption either, although a small, efficient portable unit could drop slightly below a one Kilowatt-hour power draw while large Aus AC can top four Kilowatts.
How much does Aus AC cost?
Leaving Aus AC on 24/7 will typically cost $180 per month for small, highly efficient, 1KW air conditioner if you’re on a 'cheap' (25c per KWh) electricity plan. This scales to $1200 a month if you’re using a big and/or inefficient, 4KW unit on an expensive, 40c per KWh, electricity plan. Ouch! If you’re planning to keep your Aus AC on for three months solid, the price will be significant.
The problems with fixing Aus AC
Few Aussies will compromise their comfort in an Australian summer... no matter what! The vast continent's typical summer weather ranges from incredibly hot and humid at one end to 'Strewth!' at the other. Things are made worse by a changing climate which is seeing even the hottest temperature records regularly being smashed and temperatures so high that weather maps have literally had to add new colours to represent the higher temperatures!
The increased temperatures also means that Aus AC has never been more in demand in that time and this has led to increased power consumption that has led to unstable power and power outages, right when people need it the most. It doesn't take long for fans to become useless at cooling you down in such climes: they start to only blow hot and humid air back at you. You could invest in more-efficient AC but that comes with an expensive up-front cost and usually isn't practical for renters.
What's the alternative to regular air conditioning in Australia?
The answer is to add intelligence to your existing 'dumb' Aus AC by adding the AI functionality of a smart air conditioner controller. This will manage your aircon for you by using small, incremental, intelligent adjustments to temperature instead of the standard, power surge dumping pattern that most use. Smart Aus AC will also learn your temperature and humidity preferences at different times of the year and when the weather is different and automatically adjust the settings accordingly. You can also communicate with it when you're away - you don't have to worry about leaving it on when you've gone out! There are also a whole host of other benefits.
Related: 5 ways to reduce Australian ac bills
Smart AC works by connecting to your home (or office's) Wi-Fi where it can be controlled and set-up using an app on your phone. The controller then communicates with the AC unit using the same commands as its infra-red remote.
How can I make my Aus AC smart?
Ambi Climate's smart air conditioner controllers offer practically every feature you could want to add to your existing Aus AC. They are simple to set-up, they'll save power, reduce your bills and improve your comfort at the same time. Check out the latest Smart AC models, now!