This summer may have been one of the wettest on record, but recent years have seen some extreme weather in the UK and concern about the effects of global warming have led many householders to consider installing air conditioning units. Although traditionally associated with countries that enjoy a higher summer temperatures, such as the USA and Australia, there is now a wide range of air conditioning units available in the UK and they are becoming an increasingly popular way of regulating summer temperatures in domestic and commercial properties.
But these systems also contribute so significantly to electricity costs that in some homes, air conditioning can make up a amazing 40 per cent of the electricity bill. Most of us are worried about constantly increasing energy bills in a period of economic hardship. In addition, diminishing supplies of power and concern about environmental damage make it vital for us all to save energy in every way we can. Therefore, it makes sense to think of ways to reduce your usage of air conditioning. Two effective methods of lowering your use of artificial cooling systems in your home are:
THINKING WHETHER YOU ACTUALLY NEED AIR CONDITIONING
Other, less sophisticated methods, such as appropriate closing and opening of windows and doors, can be equally efficient. Choosing and adapting suitable curtains and blinds are two other very effective ways of keeping rooms cool and they are also usually two of the most economic ways of doing this. If it gets too hot, using a fan is a much more environmentally friendly way to keep cool. It’s also much friendlier on your wallet; ceiling fans costing approximately 10-50 per cent less to operate than air conditioning.
MANAGING YOUR AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM MORE EFFECTIVELY
If you cannot live without air conditioning, take professional advice to ensure you are running the most efficient system for your property. Try not to set your thermostat to below 25 degrees centigrade, as this is the most comfortable and energy-efficient setting for summer and for each degree dropped will increase your electricity costs. Make sure you have the unit serviced regularly and keep the filter pads clean, as this helps the unit run more effectively and keeps costs down. Installing ceiling insulation to keep heat out of your home will also help your air conditioning operate more effectively. Although it might appear to be stating the obvious, always remember to turn your air conditioning off when you are out of the house! Installing a timer and energy controls to regulate the periods when your system is needed are also good ideas.
In recent years, we’ve all become used to tightening our belts and looking to use energy more efficiently. Many of the methods we have adopted to keep heat within our homes in the winter, such as better insulation and shopping around for the most appropriate equipment and most competitive suppliers, are equally applicable to how we can keep cool, efficiently, affordably and environmentally, in the summer.