Source: Ian Jarratt, Queensland Consumers Association
The abnormally high temperatures forecast for the next few days means that many south east Queenslanders will start using their air conditioners again to keep cool.
The Queensland Consumers Associations is reminding consumers that prolonged and inefficient use of air conditioners during hot weather often results in unexpectedly high power bills that many households struggle to be able to pay.
However, Association spokesperson Ian Jarratt says: “Power costs and bill shock can be much better controlled by applying a few simple tips to air conditioner use over the next few days, and until autumn.”
The Association’s main power saving tips for air conditioner use are:
Tip 1. Only use air conditioners when necessary – using only cheap-to-run separate fans or the air conditioner’s built-in fan (which often can be run separately) or cross breezes will often provide sufficient comfort for at least part of the time.
Tip 2. Only air condition areas actually being used, and switch air conditioners off when no one is in the area.
Tip 3. Reduce the entry of outside heat by closing windows, doors, curtains, blinds, etc. in air conditioned rooms.
Tip 4. Do not set the air conditioner at a very low temperature. (Every degree set below 24 degrees C increases power consumption by about 10%.)
Tip 5. If it has one, use the air conditioner’s ECON button.
Tip 6. Use additional fans to spread the cool dry air from the air conditioner around the room.
Using any one of these tips will help to reduce power bills significantly.
However, to get really large cost reductions use more than one tip, and ideally use them all.
Using less power for air conditioning also helps reduce the need for the expensive investment in additional power generation and distribution facilities that lead to further increases in power charges. It also reduces the likelihood of blackouts and load shedding.