Internal unit of split system air conditioner.

10 Helpful, Budget-Friendly Heating and Cooling Hacks

As energy bills continue to rise, saving money while trying to stay warm in winter and cool in summer is highly important. Here are 10 useful heating and cooling hacks you can try that are helpful and budget-friendly.

One of the biggest contributors to a typical Australian household’s energy use is the use of heating and cooling appliances. Given the chilly winters and harsh summers we experience across the country, that probably comes as no surprise. From reverse cycle air conditioning to gas heaters, radiator panels and more, we’re a nation that relies on various air treatment measures to stay comfortable. And, with the cost of energy seemingly increasing year after year, home heating and cooling will only continue to eat further into the family budget.

Thankfully, you don’t need to keep burning a metaphorical hole in your wallet just to keep comfortable. Let’s take a look at some simple and practical measures that you can take to maintain an ideal temperature in your home. Across all seasons of the year.

1. Use a Programmable Air Conditioning Thermostat

One of the simplest ways to control heating and cooling throughout your home, in a financially-friendly way, is to use a programmable thermostat. Many modern day air conditioners come with this feature, enabling you to set the indoor temperature to adjust by itself when you’re either out of the house or you’re fast asleep in bed. It will typically reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees which, in turn, reduces energy consumption. And of course, a reduction in energy use typically means savings in running costs!

2. Make the Most of Your Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning

If you live in a busy house filled with people, a reverse cycle air conditioning system might be the more energy efficient way to accommodate everyone’s heating and cooling needs. Reverse cycle systems are able to condition the indoor air depending on the season at the time. It can provide efficient cooling during the summer, and supply hot air to keep you warm throughout the winter. Best of all, it does it all from a single system, rather than using separate cooling systems and heating systems, or installing multiple single split systems.

External unit of a reverse cycle air conditioning system.

There are several measures you can take to use your air conditioner in the most energy efficient and cost effective way possible. These include:

  • Setting the desired temperature wisely – too cool in summer or warm in winter will force your air con to work harder, so be smart in setting the ideal climate zone
  • Use the timer function – many modern air conditioners come with it
  • Cleaning the filters
  • Consider zoning – this allows you to distribute heat or cool air to only the rooms being used at any given time
  • Maintaining regular maintenance to ensure optimal energy efficiency

Reverse cycle air conditioners can come as ducted systems, as single or multi-split systems and even as portable air conditioners. Find the right sized appliance for your home to ensure effective heating and cooling and optimal energy efficiency.

3. Close Up Any Air Leaks

Holes in the doors, windows and walls are one of the easiest ways for hot or cool air to escape (or get in) your house. These spots that are prime for air leakages put further strain on your heating and cooling system. Your air conditioner or heater becomes forced to work harder to reach and maintain the desired room temperature due to the escaping (or intruding) air. This extra effort requires extra energy which, in turn, adds to your quarterly bills. By sealing any cracks and holes throughout your house, and perhaps fixing any gaps around windows or doors, you can reduce the likelihood of air leakages. And, in doing so, save money in the process!

4. Ceiling Fans Can Be Your Best Friend

Got a ceiling fan in the bedroom or living room that you may not have used for a while? Now’s the time to dust it off with a wet cloth and start making the most of this valuable resource again! Ceiling fans are great for circulating the air throughout the room, making it feel cooler in the warmer months of the year and – if you have the right model – warmer in the cooler months of the year. Didn’t know you could use a ceiling fan for both heating and cooling? Best thing is that they are a cost-effective appliance as well, with running costs just 2-3 cents per hour according to consumer website Canstar.

Be sure to have your fan running anticlockwise during the summer to achieve the cooling effect. And, if it has the capability to do so, reverse the direction in the winter so the fan blades move in a clockwise direction and create a warming effect.

5. Clean Your Air Conditioning System Filters

One of the most effective ways to reduce your energy bills is to make sure the filters in your air conditioner are regularly kept clean. Air filters that are congested with dust, dirt and debris cause your air con to have to work harder than what would otherwise be needed. Naturally, this extra work requires extra energy – energy you end up paying for. By keeping your filters clean, you reduce that added strain on your air conditioning system, allowing it to operate efficiently. Aside from the financial benefit, clean air filters also reduce the potential for air pollution in your home.

6. Curtains and Blinds Can Help Heating and Cooling

Sometimes you don’t need to rely solely on an appliance to improve the heating and cooling in your home. See those curtains and blinds on your window? They’re not just for privacy. They can be particularly useful in regulating the temperature in your home as well. By keeping the blinds down during the summer, you can significantly reduce the harshness of the sun’s rays and keep your house cool during the day. Then in the winter, keep your curtains open throughout the day to allow heat energy from the sun to come in, then close them at night to retain that heat. This more strategic approach to using your blinds and curtains can potentially help you reduce your heating and cooling costs.

7. Use a Humidifier

Have you ever found that the air inside your house in winter often feels drier? This is because cold air holds less moisture than warm air. For some people, low humidity in the air can result in discomfort and even respiratory issues. However, using a humidifier in your room offers a couple of benefits:

  • It adds moisture to the air, improving comfort levels, and
  • Can assist in reducing heating and cooling costs as moisture-filled air feels warmer than dry air

Using a humidifier can also help to take some of the effort from your air conditioning system. It helps to keep humidity at an optimum level, which enables you to set the air con thermostat at a higher temperature without compromising on comfort.

8. Use Space Heaters

Got a space heater in one of the smaller living spaces of your home? If you’re not using it to stay warm during winter, maybe you should! Available as electric heaters or in gas heating options, they offer numerous benefits that make them highly worthwhile for home heating.

As they provide heating to a single room, a space heating system typically consumes less energy than centralised air conditioning systems. It also means that you’re not wasting energy heating other rooms throughout the house that no one is occupying at any given time. Many space heaters offer the advantage of portability, so you can easily take it into any small room throughout your home.

9. Maximise Your Use of Natural Ventilation

Another easy and effective way to cool your home throughout the hotter months of the year is to use natural ventilation. By opening windows and doors throughout your home, you can take advantage of the natural air flow and any breezes coming through. Adequate ventilation can help to lower the temperature in the room, doing it naturally and without the need for air con or energy consumption. Which, in turn, means reduced running cost savings for you!

10. Install Shade Sails

One final heating and cooling hack that you might not be aware of, is the use of shade sails. In this case, they’re arguably better suited to meeting your heating and cooling needs in the outside air, such as a patio or an entertaining area. I mean, we can’t stay indoors for the entirety of this article, right?

So what is a shade sail? Essentially, it’s a sheet of fabric that is stretched tight and fixed between strategic anchor points to form a shaded area. It’s a budget-friendly, user-friendly way to shield from the intensity of the sun’s rays. Not only can you block out sunlight, which can be especially intrusive in an area of high glare, but you can also minimise heat gain to create a comfortable area for relaxing outside.

Helpful Heating and Cooling Conclusion

No matter what heating and cooling appliances and systems you have in your home, it’s always wise to use them smartly and strategically to truly get the most out of them. Part of that can be using the following tips in your air treatment practices.

  • Using a programmable thermostat
  • Using your reverse cycle air conditioner for year-round heating and cooling
  • Sealing any gaps and air leaks
  • Using your ceiling fan
  • Cleaning your air conditioning filters
  • Taking advantage of your blinds and curtains
  • Maximising your use of natural ventilation
  • Using a humidifier
  • Switching on the space heater for small room heating
  • Installing shade sails for outdoor use

Whether you have gas or electric heating, evaporative cooling, or even portable air conditioners, by adopting these tips, or working with them in conjunction with your appliances, you can enjoy greater energy efficiency and energy savings!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

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