It’s no secret - we live in a land of temperature extremes. Throughout the year, we may find ourselves in need of some additional help to keep the temperature inside our home comfortable. In fact in Australia, heating and cooling accounts for an average of 40% of household energy use. With this in mind, any adjustments to increase efficiency can make a big difference to our energy bills.
Air conditioners are one of the main ways we heat and cool our homes. If you have an air conditioner (A/C) you may be interested to find out how you can save money. Read on!
How much does it cost to run an A/C?
There are many factors that contribute to the cost of running an A/C as a whole. Considerations include the efficiency of the model you are using, space required for heating/ cooling, how long you run it for and whether you’re taking other measures to maximise efficiency (such as closing doors and stopping draughts). Using an A/C for cooling also typically uses less power than heating. You can calculate a base level cost for yourself using the Power Input requirement on the label of your unit. The label should include separate numbers for heating and cooling Power Input, so you can calculate each scenario.
First find the Power Input requirement, which will be listed on your A/C’s Energy Rating label (for example, 2 kW). Multiply this by your unit tariff (currently 30c on the A1 Synergy tariff). Then multiply this by the number of hours you use your A/C each day.
Using the above figure and estimating usage of 6 hours per day, we get 2 x 0.30c x 6 = $3.60 per day. This may not sound like much, but across a year it certainly adds up.
You can also use the Australian government’s Energy Rating Calculator to calculate your running costs.
How long will a solar battery run my A/C?
To understand how long your battery will keep your A/C running, you need to find out how much energy it uses per hour. This is where something like the Plico app really comes in handy, because you can see in real time how much energy your home is using!
You can also calculate an estimate by using the Rated Power Input or Power Input on the label of your A/C (as mentioned above). You will see separate numbers for heating and cooling.
If you have a 10 kWh battery set to 85% DoD (Depth of Discharge) (for battery preservation and blackout protection), your battery’s capacity is 8.5 kWh. If your A/C’s Power Input, or energy use is 2 kW (2000W) for cooling, your battery will last just over 4 hours overnight (or any time after your panels stop producing) during summer (assuming there aren’t other appliances running!)
These are the calculations:
2 kW per hour = 2 kWh
2 kWh x 4.25 hrs = 8.5 kWh
Your battery will not be able to run your A/C for any more than 4 hours and 15 minutes, and that’s without considering the other appliances that may be drawing energy. When your battery is depleted, you will start drawing from the grid. With this knowledge, you can set a timer to turn off your A/C after 4 hours, enabling you to stay cool without having to draw from the grid.
You might also want to note that ducted A/C systems can use a lot more energy than single units.
You can do the same calculation as above, using the heating Power Input, to determine how long you can run your A/C on your battery in winter. This is why it’s important to understand your energy needs and the system that supports you.
If you'd like to understand more about how to get the most from your solar battery, you can read more in this article.
How can I maximise the efficiency of my A/C?
When you install a Plico solar + battery solution, you’ll be able to run your A/C guilt-free! But you’ll still want to make sure it’s running as optimally as possible. Other than simply reducing the number of hours you use it, there are ways to get the most from your unit, while minimising your cost.
If you are buying a new one, first consider the area you’ll need to heat and/ or cool. With this in mind, focus on the systems with the appropriate size (as buying a size that’s too low or too high will result in inefficiencies and unnecessary cost). You can then compare units of similar size, and choose the highest energy star rating you can afford. A higher upfront cost will more than likely be compensated by the lower ongoing running costs.
While using your A/C, be sure to set the temperature no lower than 24 degrees in summer. Every degree can increase running costs by 10%! Also remember to close windows, curtains and blinds to maximise the cool air. Close doors within the house where rooms don’t need to be cooled.
The same rules apply in the cooler months, however you’ll want to set the thermostat no higher than 21 degrees.
Filters can get clogged with dust, pollen and mould. Clean them at least once a year to give your A/C a helping hand and ensure it’s running at an optimum level.
And of course with solar + battery, using your A/C to warm or cool your home when the sun is shining is a guaranteed way to reduce its running costs.
For more ideas on saving energy during summer, read our blog for lots of tips!
If you’d like to find out more about installing your own solar + battery solution to save money and reduce your power bill, talk to the friendly team about how much you could save. Not only will you be able to use your A/C guilt-free, but you'll also be able to access power during night times, blackouts and outages too!
Don’t delay - book in your obligation-free call today. You can view our different solar + battery systems by clicking here or calculate your projected savings with our Solar Savings Calculator. You can also get in touch with one of our switched-on team members by calling 1300 175 426 to see how a solar + battery system can help you save.