Getting the most out of your air con and save some money. Leave a comment

Welcome to our blog! At SmartCentralSolutions our goal is to make the smart home more accessible and affordable for people to adopt, because as your home becomes smarter, your life becomes easier. Today, we live in a great time where innovation and technology are moving so fast, keeping up is a an exciting challenge.

To kickstart us off, since we (down here in Australia) are about to head into summer we thought a great first piece should be on something most will be inevitably doing… and that is to try to stay cool in the often unrelenting Australian summer heat.

On those extra warm days, for a lot of Australians they head to the beach to cool off in the water, or hanging out in the local air conditioned shopping centre. Things however may be different this year given our new way of living under the COVID conditions. People and families are staying at home more and that means relying on air conditioning, if you’re lucky to have one. It’s very easy to turn on your air conditioning unit and leave it on throughout the day (and sometimes overnight when the heat never seems to subside). But this comes at a literal cost at the end of summer or worse, during should you suffer a unit breaking down . This is a guide to getting the most out of your unit while ensuring you’re saving as much energy (and money) as possible


Before even getting into the operation of your air con unit, the most important basics need to be covered off. The importance of cleaning and general maintenance of your unit cannot be understated. Depending on the type of unit you have, most unit manufacturers recommend a yearly service of your system to ensure everything is in working order ahead of time. There are however general cleaning you can undertake yourselves regularly.

Most units have removable air filters around the air intake/return. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on cleaning them – usually with water and possibly light soap. Since this is a source of air for the cycling of the air conditioning unit it directly affects the efficiency. An inefficient system not only makes your system work harder and therefore cost you more energy and money but it can lead to system failure and costly repairs.

If you have an external compressor unit, usually which sits outside your house, ensure it is clear and clean of any debris around the fans and radiator blades. Impediments to these components means the system cannot move heat from inside the home to the outside efficiently enough.


Leaks can come in a few forms. If you find your unit is not cooling as well as it used to despite having already performed the above cleaning step then it is possible you may have a coolant leak. Coolant is the essential gas/liquid responsible for the direct cooling of the air. If you’ve ruled out other potential issue then it is definitely time to call in the professionals to diagnose and resolve the problem.

Another kind of leak can be with the ducting if you have a ducted air system. The ducts are responsible for carrying the conditioned air from the main unit to a room in your house. Again, if you notice a drop off in the cooling to a particular room then it is possible there is a leak or perforation in the duct along the line and you’re losing precious air before it reaches your room. If it is accessible and you are so inclined you may elect to make the repair yourself, by patching up the leak if possible or replacing the damaged portion.


Just like you wouldn’t ignore servicing of your car, your air conditioning unit follows the same principle. There is an electric motor and involves a lot of moving parts which can wear away over time. Best to have it checked out and serviced by a specialised technician familiar with servicing your brand of unit.

Now that the boring cleaning and maintenance stuff is out of the way, onto using it in the most optimal ways possible.


While most of us during the heat would like to turn the temperature right down and keeping the home frosty cool, this will obviously consume a great amount of energy and ultimately earn you a high electricity bill. Recommendations from experts on the optimal temperature will vary but as a guide aim for a cooling temperature of 25-26 deg Celsius. In general, each degree decrease will consume approximately 10% more energy.

Your home conditions may vary as well as your comfort levels but settle for the highest temp level that you and your family can comfortably tolerate.


Look at how your air conditioning unit is set up, is it by rooms or zones? Where possible, reduce the number of zones/rooms you occupy during air conditioning operation. Cooling a small space is more efficient than cooling the whole house, especially when it is not completely occupied. Close off doors/partitions to spaces not being occupied or actively cooled to further increase efficiency.

Eliminate air drafts with door snakes as required and close up windows completely, just as you would in winter to reduce heat escaping, it works in the same way with your precious cool air. Even with small window gaps with a significant temperature difference, the environment will naturally try to equalise that difference and reduce the cooling effect.


To further preserve your cooling (and heating during winter) you may want to take another look at the insulation you have in your home. You may need to engage specialists to come in and examine with thermal equipment to help identify points of leakage. During operation, where possible, keep your blinds/shutters closed on windows with direct facing sun. You may be sacrificing natural light but during the hottest parts of the day, the heat coming through those windows can have a dramatic affect in heating up your interior.


In most cases one would switch on the air con, set the temperature, enable the desired zones and then walk away. We would then trust the unit to maintain that steady temperature throughout the day. Easy right? But often we get lazy, perhaps not switch off a zone when we leave an area or maybe a cool weather change has come in. When we’re slow to react it can end up costing us more money.

With an adequately equipped smart home, it does not require much overhead to add some extra intelligence into the system. Motion sensors are common home devices these days and are used in an assortment of scenarios like security systems, night lights and general lighting. Integrating strategically positioned motion sensors with your home automation system will allow you an additional layer of control over your air conditioning system (provided your unit supports home automation integration).

With motion sensors, your home automation system effectively has “eyes” around your home and with the detection of movement or the mere absence of it, be a trigger to turn on or off particular zones it believes are not being used after a period of time. Now one can do this manually but who would be inclined to do this consistently in the long run?

With a weather internet service, your home automation system can even notify you when the environmental temperature has reached comfortable levels. And should you allow your system, it can take the extra step to back down the air con levels or completely switch it off. Or the opposite, on detection of a high temperature event, notify you that air con is coming on automatically and remind you to close up windows.

Another common drain on energy is heating/cooling overnight. Since we are asleep we may not require the same level of cooling. Pre-programmed schedules can be employed to control the air con to come on at certain times over the course of the night or you can again rely on weather service or internal temperature sensors to trigger the air con when needed.

There are simply no limits to the number of scenarios that you wish to define to make your life easier and more comfortable.


Electricity prices in Australia in general are high. But even though we might be able to afford it, cutting our electricity usage overall is good practice while the bulk of our power production still comes from non-renewable sources.

If you’re setting out to buy a new air con unit, take the time to research the most suitable type of unit for your home that meets your cooling/heating requirements. Aim for models with high energy saving modes. Don’t just look for the lowest retail price but considering its energy requirements to factor in the total cost of ownership.

Other ways to offset your energy usage is via installation of a good quality roof-top solar PV system which is popular with a large proportion of Australian homes. For the majority, heating/cooling represents the biggest portion of consumers’ energy bills so to have a solar PV system goes a long way to reduce and sometimes come out in front. Do the maths based on your needs to then figure out what system will suit you best.

Interested in setting up a smart home? Drop us a note here at SmartCentralSolutions to discuss how to make it happen.

Stay cool this summer.





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