Heating and cooling account for around 40% of the total energy used in Australian households. One way to save money on heating and cooling is by investing in a ducted reverse-cycle air conditioner. This system heats and cools the home all year round thanks to the reverse refrigeration technology. Therefore, you don't have to invest in a separate heating system. However, that's not all. You can take advantage of the tips below to save energy and minimise your unit's annual running costs.
Invest in a variable-speed unit
One way to keep your running costs down is to ensure the unit supplies only the required heating and cooling. Single-speed units run at maximum speed throughout; thus, they consume a lot of energy. Dual-speed air conditioners have two settings: medium and high speed. They can generate some energy savings but not as much as variable-speed units.
Ducted reverse cycle units with variable-speed motors and compressors are the best choice for efficient heating and cooling. These units can run at any speed between their maximum and minimum speeds. The AC regulates compressor output based on the current load. Therefore, when the demand for cooled or heated air is low, the unit adjusts accordingly. This translates into low energy consumption and significant cost savings.
Make the most of ducted zoning
Ducted heating and cooling systems have excellent zoning capabilities. You can divide the home into areas that can be cooled and heated independently using individual thermostats. Zoning also allows you to turn off the air or regulate airflow in specific zones, thereby lowering the system's energy consumption.
When zoning your system, classify areas with similar heating and cooling requirements as a single zone. For example, set the living area, kitchen and dining space as one zone. Therefore, when you go to bed, you can turn off the air in the living room and kitchen and leave it on in individual bedrooms. This way, you won't waste energy heating or cooling unoccupied rooms at night.
Keep the unit clean
When dirt clogs up the air filters and ductwork, it impedes airflow and forces the system to work harder to heat or cool the home. Similarly, if the outdoor unit is dirty, the compressor will struggle to meet the pre-set temperatures. Consequently, the AC will consume more energy, overheat and short-cycle. Besides losing out on energy savings, you will spend more money on AC repairs.
Since a reverse-cycle air conditioner works all year round, you should stay on top of maintenance to avoid unexpected breakdowns and energy losses. Clean the filters every three months to get rid of dirt buildup. Clean the ductwork annually and service the unit before winter and summer to ensure optimal heating and cooling.
Observe these measures to lower the annual running costs of your ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning system. For professional AC installation and service, consult an HVAC contractor.