On a scorching summer day, your air conditioner can be the only thing that keeps you sane—but it isn't cheap. To get the most cooling for your dollar, you need to choose the most efficient air conditioner and make it part of an overall cooling plan for your home.
Bigger isn't always better
The larger the space to be cooled, the larger the air conditioner—usually. Even two very similar houses can have quite different air conditioning needs. Factors that affect cooling needs include not only the size of the room and the local climate but the material of the roof and even the colour of the walls. You can get some guidance about how many kilowatts (kW) of air conditioning you'll need from online calculators, but a more accurate calculation should always be done by a professional.
Energy ratings don't tell the whole story
A device's energy rating evaluates its efficiency; as a rule, the higher the star rating, the less energy it will use for doing the same task. But it's the "same task" that can be misleading. Most traditional air conditioners are either on or off; by contrast, air conditioners with inverters adjust the level of cooling based on the surrounding temperature. As a result, they may use the same amount of energy as a normal air conditioner at maximum capacity—which is what the energy rating measures—but they're often running below that capacity and using proportionally less energy.
Each of Australia's eight climate zones has its own implications for home design, but there are some things that any homeowner can do to improve energy efficiency. For instance, orientation (positioning a building so that it receives the right amount of sunlight at the right time of day) is only really controllable during the building of the house.
But shading is easy enough to control, whether it's removable shading with awnings or shade sails or natural shading with plants. Shading living areas at the right time of day can reduce the heat generated by direct sunlight by up to 90%, lowering air-conditioning bills. Similarly, something as simple as upgrading insulation or sealing air leaks can cut down on both heat loss in the winter and overheating in the summer.
A good air conditioner can make the hottest summer days bearable, but that doesn't mean you need to install the biggest one you can find. Choose the right air conditioner as part of an overall cooling plan and you can save money in cool comfort. For more assistance, consult resources like Adelaide Heating & Cooling-Gawler.