At home

Tips on lowering your cooling costs

Don’t waste energy – or your energy dollars. Here are some ideas on how to save money and keep down your cooling bills:

  • Fans are much cheaper to run than air-conditioners.
  • Seek professional advice to make sure you get an air-conditioner with the right capacity for the area you will be cooling.
  • Insulate and draught-proof your home.
  • Keep the sun's heat out by closing curtains and external blinds during the day.
  • Use reflective tints or toned glass in windows.
  • Shade windows from the outside with trees, eaves or external blinds and awnings. Use vertical shades for east and west windows, and horizontal shading for northern windows.
  • If you use air-conditioning, set the thermostat between 23°C and 26°C for cooling. Every degree lower in summer will increase running costs by around 10 per cent.
  • Close windows and doors to air-conditioned areas.
  • Ensure your air-conditioner is regularly serviced and maintained. Clean the air filter every month. Dust can block the filters and reduce the flow of air into the unit, thereby decreasing the performance.
  • Smarter choice 6 stars logo
    Consider replacing air-conditioners that are more than 10 years old with newer, more efficient models. Older units can be costly to maintain and use more electricity.
  • Use the Energy Rating Calculator to work out how much energy your air-conditioner is using.
  • Run your ceiling fans for a short while when the air-conditioner is on to improve air circulation and make the cooling more effective. It will bring more energy efficiency and reduce your power bill.
  • On cooler days, switch off the air-conditioner, and open doors and windows to let fresh air in. Consider installing windows that can be locked in a partly open position for ventilation and security.
  • Natural cross ventilation  in a room occurs more efficiently through wall openings that are opposite each other, rather than adjacent.
  • Aim to create as many obstruction-free breeze paths as possible in your home, to provide you with effective ventilation, even if some doors or windows are closed.
  • If building or designing a new home, the size and position of windows should be carefully planned, according to the direction they face and the type of building materials used. For summer conditions, a home’s openings should take advantage of cooling daytime breezes and ensure night-time ventilation to flush out the heat of the day.

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Page last updated: 10 December 2015