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One of the things that describes Australia's climate is its scorching summers. This makes air cons essential components of households across the nation. The relentless heat can often become unbearable; however, air conditioning can provide much-needed comfort and relief.
With increasing temperatures, air conditioning systems play a pivotal role in maintaining indoor livability. This has been how many have been escaping the sweltering heat outside. In this article, we look at a crucial aspect that accompanies the luxury of air conditioning - its average running cost in Australia.
Understanding this financial aspect can go a long way to empower homeowners to make informed decisions about their cooling systems. Doing this can help them keep their homes comfortable without burning through their wallets. Read on to learn the average running cost of air conditioning in Australia.
Understanding Air Conditioning Systems
Air conditioning systems come in different designs, each crafted to meet specific needs and spaces. While there are different types, the three commonly used systems in Australia are split systems, ducted systems, and evaporative cooling. These systems use a series of components that work in harmony to cool indoor spaces effectively:
A split air conditioning system comprises an indoor unit which houses the evaporator coil and the expansion valve. It also has an outdoor unit that contains the condenser coil.
The indoor unit is often called the air handler because it releases cool air into the room, while the outdoor unit expels the heat absorbed from the indoors. A split system is versatile, efficient, and suitable as it can cool individual rooms or smaller areas.
On the other hand, ducted air conditioning systems are specifically designed to cool an entire house or larger spaces. They comprise a central unit that connects to different air outlets through a network of ducts.
When the air becomes cooled, it is circulated evenly through these outlets. This is to ensure a consistent temperature throughout the area. This system's efficiency is made possible through its ability to cater to larger spaces with controlled cooling.
Evaporative cooling systems make use of a different mechanism. They suck in warm air through water-saturated pads, which naturally cools the air through evaporation. Once the air gets cooled, it is circulated into the indoor space. Evaporative cooling is highly energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. This is perhaps one of the reasons it is a popular choice in Australia's arid regions.
Energy efficiency ratings
Energy efficiency ratings play a pivotal role when the cost-effectiveness of different air conditioning systems is determined. With these ratings, people are provided insights into how much energy a system consumes to cool a given space.
A higher rating means the system operates more efficiently, translating into a lower cost to run. Not only does this factor influence the initial investment, but it is so critical that it also influences the long-term operational expenses of the air conditioning system.
Space and layout
The size and layout of the area you are trying to cool also affect the cost scales. With larger spaces, installing more powerful systems becomes necessary, which might consume more energy. Where an air conditioner that's too small is installed in the area, it may have to work harder. This means it will consume excess energy and lead to inflated costs.
Climate and temperature fluctuations
Australia's climate is dynamic due to its varying temperature fluctuations, which will depend on your location. In most cases, the air conditioning system must work harder during extreme temperatures. People living in tropical zones may have to use their air conditioners more often, thus influencing running costs.
Frequency and duration of use
How often and how long you run an air conditioner plays a crucial role in the grand scheme of your energy billing. Your energy bill may reflect your choice to habitually keep your air conditioning running non-stop. However, the strategic use of setting higher temperatures when you're away can help keep costs in check.
Calculating Energy Consumption and Costs
Now that the factors at play have been unmasked, you can have a sneak peek at energy consumption calculations. Measuring energy consumption with regard to air conditioning is done in kilowatt-hours (kWh).This is just like the currency of energy that your AC system spends.
To calculate it, multiply your air conditioner's rated power consumption (in kilowatts) by the hours used. We cannot afford to forget electricity costs as a factor either. These electricity costs vary across the different Australian states. For instance, while Victoria might have a specific rate per kWh, New South Wales might have a slightly different one.
Average Running Costs Across Different Systems
Looking at these factors and calculations in action across various air conditioning systems is good.
If you have one of these systems, you will know they are like the Swiss army knives of cooling. Energy-efficient models with the mighty expansion valve and evaporator coil can offer great comfort while keeping costs in check.
Regarding cooling larger spaces, ducted air systems are the ones for the job. With their efficient distribution style, they ensure every corner is refreshed. However, do bear in mind that with great power comes the responsibility of higher energy consumption.
Can you, for a moment, imagine a gentle breeze cooling your space? Okay, that is what is referred to as evaporative cooling. It's a gem in energy-saving features. Using the natural cooling properties of water is just like a sip of cool water for your wallet too.
Portable air conditioners
This is a convenient choice because these AC systems can come to your rescue wherever you need them. However, you need to understand that convenience often comes with a trade-off. They are usually a tad heavy on energy consumption because of their design.
Tips for Reducing Air Conditioning Costs
Air conditioning can be a saving grace for keeping your home comfortably cool during scorching Australian summer months. However, you should know that running air conditioners can increase electricity bills.
Now, here is the good news. There are practical strategies homeowners can use to reduce air conditioning expenses without compromising on comfort. You can explore some of these smart tips to help you balance staying cool and keeping your energy bills in check.
Regular maintenance and servicing
Like any other appliance, your air conditioning system needs regular maintenance and servicing to ensure optimal efficiency. Its components, such as the expansion valve, condenser coil, evaporator coil, and air handler, must be in good form to perform efficiently.
When regular maintenance is handled by a professional technician, dust buildup, leakage, and other issues can be prevented. Leaving these issues unattended can force your system to work harder, consuming more energy than necessary.
Proper insulation and sealing
Even if you have the most advanced air con system, it can't perform optimally if your home is poorly insulated. Where there is proper insulation, rest assured that a consistent indoor temperature will be maintained, preventing cool air from escaping and reducing the load on your air conditioner.
Additionally, sealing windows and doors prevents warm air from entering your cool space and vice versa. Once you can address these points, your air conditioning system won't have to work overtime to compensate for temperature fluctuations.
Get the Help of a Professional
Calculating the figures and taking the proper steps can be a little daunting. If you choose to do it alone, your estimation may be wonky as there are other factors you may not consider.
Inviting an HVAC technician to your home to conduct a thorough estimation before generating figures for you is better. This step can help you get the right size of air conditioning system that will not only perform optimally but also save huge costs of energy billing.