What is the Ideal Air Conditioner Temperature for Electricity Savings?
Posted on 20 June 2023
Is your electricity bill through the roof all year-round? Well…what if we told you that the average family household spending $350 could save around $70 a month with a few minor tweaks to their AC temperature?
To maximise savings on your energy bill, you need to understand the following:
- The ideal temperature range for comfort
- The optimal temperature setting in winter
- The optimal temperature setting for summer
- Whether it is cheaper to heat or cool
- The most efficient air conditioning systems for your home
- Other ways you can improve the efficiency of your air conditioner
The best air conditioner temperature will ensure maximum energy efficiency
Did you know a change of just 1°C to your air conditioner‘s temperature in winter or summer can potentially alter your energy consumption by up to 10%? That seemingly insignificant change will have a substantial impact on your energy bills, for better or worse.
Now, the perfect setting for your air con is a temperature that keeps you comfy without needing to bundle up in winter or throw on a jumper in the middle of summer. But you might be wondering, “What’s this ‘comfortable temperature’ anyway?” Isn’t that a pretty personal thing? The answer might surprise you.
Finding the most comfortable room temperature for your home
The most comfortable temperature for humans is actually a fairly well-studied range. According to the WHO, the comfortable and healthy temperature range for most people (male and female) lies somewhere between 21 – 25 °C. So it is pointless to go any higher or lower than this! Yet, in Australia’s extreme climate, most individuals typically set their air conditioning around 26-30°C in winter and between 18-20°C in summer. If you are doing this, you are actively overheating or over-cooling your home and consequently overspending on your electricity bill.
The goal should be to aim for the closest end of that comfortable range, e.g. in summer aiming for the upper end, and in winter the lower end as everything in between will be fairly unnoticeable, but every degree away from that will cost you.
The most comfortable temperature for sleeping
On the topic of comfort at home, it’s worth talking about setting the temperature when we sleep, after all, many of us spend more time asleep than we do awake in our own homes!
Did you know that your body needs to drop its temperature by around 2-3 degrees in order to fall asleep? Reducing your air conditioner temperature can significantly improve your sleep quality? Setting your air conditioner to 18-21°C while you sleep will keep you at the cooler point of that comfortable range, but you might want to increase that in the summer months to save energy.
The best air conditioning temperature for your heater in Australian Winters
In Australia, we recommend setting your air conditioner to 21 – 22 degrees (celsius) during Winter.
As we mentioned, the energy your air conditioner consumes is directly related to the amount of heat it needs to add or remove. In Australia, with winter temperatures averaging around 15 degrees, setting your air conditioner to 21-22 degrees ensures it won’t strain to maintain a comfortable indoor climate. Just don’t go any lower than 21 degrees as you may find the health benefits diminish (we will cover this shortly)
21 – 22 degrees is also the healthiest temperature for winter
We want to keep our home’s temperature as cool as possible while still keeping us comfortable and healthy. According to WHO, you should try to keep your home above 21°C for the following reasons:
- Warmer indoor temperatures (above 21°C) can improve health in adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- For children with asthma, low room temperatures (below 9°C) can worsen lung function.
- Maintaining an indoor temperature above 18.2°C helps reduce respiratory issues in COPD patients, regardless of humidity.
The Best temperature for your air conditioner in Australian Summers
Set your air conditioner to 24 – 25 degrees in Summer to ensure optimal comfort and maximum energy efficiency from your unit.
When it comes to cooling, many Australian households tend to over-cool their homes in summer, leading to excessive energy bills. One way you know you are being inefficient is if you are turning your air conditioner off constantly when it gets too cold. Ideally, you should be able to leave your system on and let it maintain a comfortable temperature while you are home. This has the added benefit of ensuring that your fans don’t remove all the moisture from the air, which can be harmful to your indoor plants and flowers.
Is it cheaper to heat or cool a home?
It is cheaper to cool your home than heat it.
Air conditioners are generally more efficient at removing heat (cooling) than they are at adding it (heating). When cooling, air conditioners leverage the significant temperature difference between a hot outside and a cooler inside, allowing them to effectively and efficiently remove heat from the home. On the other hand, when heating, especially in very cold weather like we see during winter in the South West, the temperature difference is less advantageous and the units often need to work harder to bring the inside temperature up to the desired level, which can lead to increased energy consumption and costs.
So why do we spend so much more on air conditioning in the Australian Summer?
It’s simple. In cities like Perth, where the climate leans towards being warmer, the need for cooling often outweighs the need for heating. With an average summer temperature of around 33°C and a winter average of 19°C, Perth’s climate is just about 2°C shy of comfort during the colder months but nearly 10°C too warm in the height of summer. This not only results in the more frequent use of air conditioning during summer but also necessitates the air conditioning system to work significantly harder to achieve optimal comfort.
What is the Most Energy Efficient type of Air Conditioning?
While your air conditioning settings play a massive role in the cost of your air conditioning bill, for maximum savings you should think about purchasing an energy-efficient reverse cycle air conditioning unit in the first place!
Here is a quick comparison of how each type of air conditioner performs in terms of energy efficiency.
- Window Air Conditioners: This unit is best suited for cooling individual rooms. While these are cost-effective upfront, they are not typically as energy-efficient as other systems. They work best in small homes or single rooms, where cooling needs are minimal.
- Room Heaters: These are ideal for heating small spaces and are more efficient in this role than a window or split system. However, for larger spaces, they may not be as efficient as ducted systems or split systems with heating capabilities. They are best suited for cold climates where heating is a primary concern.
- Split System Air Conditioners: These are more energy-efficient than window units, especially when you need to cool individual rooms at different temperatures. Since they only cool or heat the areas you’re using, they don’t waste energy on unused spaces. They are ideal for medium-sized homes where zoning is needed.
- Ducted Air Conditioners: This is the most energy-efficient system for large homes or buildings as it can uniformly cool or heat multiple rooms simultaneously. It might come with a higher initial cost, but the energy savings over time, especially in larger homes, could offset the upfront expenses.
The Hero of energy efficiency – Inverter Air Conditioners
Simply put, there are 2 kinds of air conditioners, inverters and non-inverter air conditioners (traditional air-con systems). The main difference between them is that where traditional air conditioning units turn off and on to regulate temperature, inverter air conditioners have a variable compressor speed meaning they can heat or cool your room with the perfect amount of power for your requirements.
For this reason, inverter air conditioners are up to 30% more efficient than non-inverter air conditioners.
Energy efficiency stars – what do they mean?
The Federal Government has made it really easy to see the energy efficiency of your air conditioner, due to those handy energy rating labels that may be on the appliance. The label will show a rating on a 6-star scale. The rating is determined by the energy service per unit of energy consumption, and the lower the energy consumption per unit of energy, the higher the star rating. The labels will also show an estimate of the appliance’s annual energy consumption in KWh/year.
Just remember, while you will spend less money in electricity costs if you use an energy-efficient appliance, this is a long-term saving that you may not notice on a day-to-day basis. For optimal efficiency, you should also ensure the space you are trying to cool or heat is properly sealed and insulated. You don’t want to unnecessarily push your air conditioner unit to work harder to reach the temperature you require.
Our pick for the most energy-efficient system for a family home
If you want the best, most efficient air conditioning system for your home, we recommend going with a Daikin Premium Inverter Ducted system.
While the initial investment is larger, in the long term, the energy savings will pay for the unit. You also get an amazing 5-year warranty, an Australian-made product, and the most modern technology available.
More energy-saving tips for your air conditioner
Here are some additional tips for saving energy with your air conditioner in winter:
- Clean the filters for optimal performance
- Seal up any leaks to improve insulation
- Integrate smart features for more control and less wasted energy
Speak to the Experts for an Air Conditioning Solution custom to your Requirements
At Stinson Air & Solar, we have amassed extensive experience installing air conditioning systems throughout Perth, Western Australia. We are committed to providing our customers with personalised recommendations to aid in reducing their energy bills effectively. These energy-conscious strategies are not only good for your wallet, but they also contribute positively towards environmental sustainability.
At Stinson Air & Solar, we’re here to help you choose the best air conditioning system that’s just right for you and your requirements.
For a complimentary site visit to discuss your options, contact us today.