For many Kiwis, hot summer days and nights are something to look forward to. But other times the heat – and humidity – can be almost unbearable.
Opening windows and doors can let a pleasant draft through the home but it might also let in uninvited guests, in the form of mozzies and flies. Who could blame you, then, if you want to crank up the air conditioning?
The good news is that it is possible to cool the home using air conditioning, without blowing the budget on electricity.
In the market for an air conditioner? Canstar Blue compares air conditioners – also known as heat pumps – to help you narrow down your options. Read more, here.
With the help of Government website Energywise, Canstar Blue shares some tips on how to use air conditioning more efficiently over hot days and evenings in New Zealand.
5 ways to use your air conditioner more efficiently
- Try using the fan only setting
The fan only setting helps you feel cooler by creating a breeze but it uses less electricity than the full cooling mode. But, according to Energy Wise, you should keep the windows open while using the fan only mode – so you will need to be mindful of bugs!
- Use the dehumidifying mode
If it’s New Zealand’s infamous humidity – rather than the heat – that’s getting to you, then use the dehumidifying mode. Just like the fan setting, the dehumidifying mode uses less electricity than the air conditioner’s full cooling mode. But, unlike the fan setting, shut your doors and windows when you use the dehumidifying mode.
- Only use the cooling mode on really hot days
Energywise recommends that you use cooling mode only on really hot days – when the above modes won’t do the trick. When you are using the cooling mode, make sure you shut all the doors and windows in the room that you’re trying to cool. It’s also best to just cool one room, as this is what most air conditioners/heat pumps are suited for. Set the thermostat to around 22˚C. Despite what you might think, the room won’t actually cool any more quickly if you set it to a lower temperature. On the other hand, you will almost certainly use more electricity by overcooling!
- Avoid using the auto settings
If you do forget to switch off the unit, the air conditioner will switch over to heating if the temperature drops below the thermostat setting.
- Clean your air conditioner filter
It’s important to clean your air conditioner – or heat pump – filter regularly. Just make sure you carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions, so as not to damage the unit.
What to look for in an air conditioner?
To be sold in New Zealand, air conditioners and heat pumps have to comply with minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). Currently, MEPS apply to single phase units, three phase units and multi-split units. Single-phase non-ducted air conditioners and heat pumps also have to display the energy rating label, according to the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA).
In May 2019, New Zealand Cabinet approved the E3 policy proposal to revise the MEPS and energy labelling requirements for air conditioners and heat pumps. At the time of writing this revision of regulations is still underway.
Among the proposed changes is the introduction of a new energy rating scale and label – based on international methodology – that identifies how air conditioners perform in different climate zones.
You can read more on the proposals, here.
Worried you’re not getting bang for your buck with your electricity?
While you’re thinking about how to use your air conditioner more efficiently, it makes sense to review whether your electricity provider is working out for you. To help you to easily – and quickly – compare the performance of New Zealand electricity providers, Canstar Blue surveys New Zealanders to find out their level of customer satisfaction with providers in the market. Compare electricity providers, for free, with Canstar Blue.