air conditioner temperature in summer

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner in Summer?

With the return of short sleeves and office thermostat debates, summer has certainly made its grand return. Did you know that heating and cooling in the home accounts for a whopping 20 to 50 per cent of your energy bill though?

Setting your air conditioner to the optimal temperature can make a big difference in its running costs over the summer months. We’re here to tell you exactly what the ideal air conditioner temperature is and what you can do to reach maximum energy efficiency without breaking a sweat.

What’s the Best AC Temperature for Summer?

As a general rule, the best temperature for your air conditioner in summer is 25-27°C. There are some caveats, however, namely that this assumes you live in a moderate climate. We’re sure many of you would be hesitant to say Australian summers are “moderate”, so we’re going to break down the best temperature for air conditioning by different regions.

optimum air conditioning temperature in summer

The real ideal temperature requires you to balance the climate of where you live and your comfort. Warmer climates such as North Queensland will typically need to set their air conditioning unit to 21-23°C to reach a comfortable temperature and maintain efficiency. Meanwhile, cooler regions such as Tasmania can set their system to 28°C to keep cool.

As outdoor temperatures increase, your air conditioner will need to work harder to offset this and keep a comfortable indoor temperature.

How Temperature Setting Affects Running Costs

The lower you set the temperature on your air conditioner in summer, the harder it has to work, and the more energy it will consume. More energy equals higher energy bills. For every degree you decrease your air conditioner’s temperature, you add around 10 per cent to its energy use. This might not sound like much, but it adds up on your energy bill in the end.

You can use the Ergon Air Conditioning Calculator to calculate your system’s approximate running costs based on the cooling capacity, temperature setting, and how much it is used. For example, a 6.0kW air conditioner set to 21°C that runs for six hours a day over 12 weeks will cost you $191.75. Setting it to 25°C, however, could save you $59.16!

Thankfully, there are extra things you can do to reduce your power bill and reach optimal performance with your air conditioning system.

How to Save Money on Your Air Conditioning Bill

While you can’t entirely avoid a rise in your energy bills when you’re using air conditioning, you can minimise how much it increases. We’ve got 6 easy ways you can make sure your air conditioning is energy efficient, beyond just the temperature settings.

Upgrade Your Insulation

Between 25 and 35 per cent of the heat gained in your home during summer is through the ceiling. A further 15 to 25 per cent comes through the walls and 25 to 35 per cent through your windows!

The warmer it is inside your home, the harder your air con needs to work to cool it back down. Upgrading or renewing your home’s insulation can go a long way in keeping this heat out in the first place.

Fitting your roof space with batts or loose-fill foam can help to prevent unwanted heat from entering your home. Simply keeping your curtains shut when the sun is out can also help to keep the heat out. Bonus points if they’re insulated curtains!

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

If you’re looking at installing a new air conditioner, it’s important you get the right size to ensure maximum energy efficiency. A unit that’s too big will use more energy than would be necessary to cool your home to the set temperature. Meanwhile, a unit that’s too small will work harder than a unit that’s the right size, resulting in parts wearing down sooner than they should.

As a general rule, here are the recommended air conditioner capacity based on room size:

air conditioning capacity based on room size

This is for rooms with standard sized ceilings. If your ceilings are especially tall, then you will need a bigger capacity to have the same cooling effect.

Regularly Clean the Filters

Cleaning your air conditioner filters two to four times a year is one of the easiest ways to keep electricity costs down. These filters are there to prevent air pollution from entering your home, but over time will accumulate and form a buildup.

This buildup will worsen your home’s air quality as the filters are unable to do their job. It will also cause your air conditioner to work harder as it has to compete with the buildup, causing higher electricity bills.

Use Your Ceiling Fans

You can turn the cooling temperature up and reduce energy consumption by using your ceiling fans in combination with your air conditioner. In summer mode, a ceiling fan will push cool air down and drag any warm air up and away from you. While not changing the temperature of the room, ceiling fans can help to make a room feel cooler.

This means you can adjust the temperature setting up a little while using less energy.

Graduate to a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat can help to reach optimal efficiency with your cooling efforts. Most of us turn the air con on full as soon as we get home from work to get our home to the right temperature. This can blast through a lot of energy.

With a smart thermostat, you can turn your air conditioner on to a moderately cool temperature from your phone while still at work so when you get home it’s already nice and cool, without the big energy surge.

You can set your air con to turn on when the thermostat reaches a certain temperature, or even set it to a timer. This kind of automation takes the thinking out of your home’s cooling and means you can cool it down more efficiently.

Use the Different Operating Modes

Most of us only use the heat and cool mode on our air conditioner, but modern units come with more features than just that. Two modes, in particular, can help to save energy when cooling your home – energy-saving mode and sleep mode.

The energy-saving mode does exactly as the name would suggest, increases the units energy efficiency. It won’t cool quite as effectively as it would in regular cooling mode, but if you turn the unit on early enough in the day this shouldn’t matter.

On those nights where it’s just too hot to turn the air con off, use the sleep mode. This mode will slowly increase the temperature to compensate for the decreasing temperature outside. This means the unit will use less energy as the night goes on.

Getting your air conditioner temperature right along with these extra tips is a surefire way to reduce the cost of cooling your home this summer. If you’re looking to install a new air conditioner, need your current system repaired, or are just after an annual service, Metropolitan Air Conditioning has air con experts available today for a same day service. Call us today and we can have someone at your door within the hour*.


Published: 20 Sep, 2021

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