Home air-conditioning units are amped up when hot temperatures in Singapore are at their peak. During these hotter days, air conditioning uses more electricity than any other home appliance — up to 70 per cent of the electric bill, according to some estimates. However, there are ways to reduce this load by changing some of our air conditioning habits. Here are the most common air-con usage mistakes people make and how to correct them.
Buying Incorrect Aircon Size
Sure, a bigger air conditioning unit with more power has a greater ability to keep a space cool. But remember this: not every space is the same size. If you install an aircon unit that is too big for a certain space, your home might suffer from big temperature swings, high humidity levels, and uneven cooling.
If you install an aircon unit that is too small or too compact for a room larger than its cooling capacity, it might not cool the room at all. Moreover, this could wear out your unit more quickly as they struggle to meet the demands of the thermostat. Your goal should be to purchase an air conditioning unit that is meant for the size of your home to ensure even cooling and overall energy efficiency.
Incorrect Temperature Setting
One of the most common air conditioning mistakes that all of us are probably guilty of is setting the temperature to the lowest setting right away. We do this thinking it would cool the room as fast as possible. However, this does nothing but overexert your unit and even increase your electric bills.
An average air conditioner runs at full power or turns off. Therefore, when the temperature setting is low, the system continues to work at the same rate. Meaning they work just as hard to lower the temperature one degree as they do to lower it by 10 degrees.
Setting the thermostat lower doesn’t hurry the cooling process at all, as the air conditioner will cool the room at its own pace. The best thing to do is to either set it at the exact temperature you need and wait or buy a programmable thermostat. There are a lot of air conditioners in the market that already has a programmable thermostat. These thermostats let you set temperatures at any time of the day. It saves you money and manages to cool the room without the need for your constant attention. There are advanced thermostats that adapt AI technology. An example of this is Google’s Nest thermostat which can actually learn your home’s rhythms and program the thermostat on repeated schedules. It also allows you to change the temperature from the tips of your fingers through an app.
Incorrect Fan Speed
Most air conditioner users ignore air conditioner fan speed. This is most especially true when they’re not sure of an aircon fan’s purpose. However, it can make a big difference in terms of comfort levels and energy efficiency.
When the fan mode is used, the fan within the air conditioning unit circulates air within a room without the usual cooling function. Fan speed, on the other hand, impacts the time air spends travelling over the indoor evaporator coil. The air is cooled a bit and blown out when the fan speed is in a high setting. When fan speed is in the low setting, the air is cooled a bit but there is also time for moisture removal from the air before it is blown out into the room.
The major advantage of using the fan mode is energy efficiency due to the absence of the compressor function. Thus, if you want to reduce humidity levels without cooling the room that much, use fan mode at low speed. This way, you’re not overworking your air conditioning unit plus you’re saving money.
Using Auto Mode
The ideal setting for your air conditioner is Cool Mode or Dry Mode, rather than Auto. This is because when Auto mode is selected and the temperature reaches your desired setpoint, the system may switch between heating and cooling as the temperature fluctuates above or below the chosen setpoint.
This is not very efficient for your air conditioning unit and can wear out certain internal components quicker than normal. You may also experience uneven temperatures which can sometimes be annoying.
Select a more suitable aircon mode based on your needs. For cooling the room, choose the cool mode. If you want to dehumidify the air while still being able to cool the room, choose Dry Mode. Fan mode in a low setting can assist in dehumidifying the air in the room too.
Unoccupied Rooms and Empty Spaces
Cooling a space with an open and empty room that doesn’t need air conditioning? This might be the culprit when you feel like your air-con unit is not cooling the area enough. It is recommended to close off rooms that are not meant to be air-conditioned. This will avoid hot air entering the air-conditioned spaces or cooled air being wasted into unoccupied rooms.
Make sure that cupboards and cabinets are closed as this helps in evenly cooling of the room. This means that there will be less space that would need to be cooled overall. And less space means reduced demand and improved system efficiency. It is almost a no-brainer to keep the doors and windows of any room closed to prevent the cool air from escaping. If you leave these open, the room won’t reach the desired temperature, and your air conditioning will be working double time for nothing.
Just remember to leave a small gap or opening to those rooms receiving the cool air to allow air circulation. The average space under a door isn’t typically enough for optimal air recirculation.
Not Using Electric Fans
Most assume that if you have an air conditioner, you don’t need an electric fan. But, honestly, why bother using the air conditioner if it isn’t scorching hot or humid? Why not skip the air conditioner, save on energy charges, and just use an electric fan?
In fact, you can use them at the same time.
Most people think that running your fan and your air conditioning at the same time is counterproductive since both use energy to operate. The solution? Use them wisely and at a low setting. Keep the air-con temperature close to the temperature outside.
What would happen is that fans will circulate the cold air coming from the air conditioning unit much more efficiently. As heat is lighter, it rises. Cold air then sinks closer to the floor which can be circulated by a fan. Usually, when your AC pushes cold air out, air tends to settle instead of circulating.
Using a fan to disrupt the settled cold air and push it up and outward allows it to move into hot spaces and disperse. It creates proper air circulation through the room or even the whole home. It helps lower the temperature and your electric bills.
Neglecting to Maintain your AC Unit
The key to ensuring that it will last a long time is having your air conditioning serviced regularly. You can also do regular DIY maintenance like cleaning the external parts of the unit and its air filter. But like what we always advise, it’s always best to hire a professional aircon technician to guarantee a good job in servicing or repairing your unit.
Make it a habit to do routine check once every quarter. Let your aircon technicians inspect your unit for any issues. While this may seem like an extra cost, just remember that maintenance fees are cheaper than getting hefty charges on big aircon repairs, or even replacement.
Mood booster, health-risk reducer, quality of life improver, air conditioners are lit with convenience and life functionality. Temperature affects different facets of our lives much more than we realize, from allergies to food, mood and health. But how much do we really know about how air conditioners improve our quality of life? Is it really worth the investment?
Let’s look at the benefits of air conditioning in our lives:
Healthier Indoor Air
Air conditioners circulate and filter air, removing dust, pollutants, and moulds. This minimizes the irritants that trigger an attack for people suffering from allergies or asthma. Moreover, due to concerns about the airborne transmission of certain diseases, most air conditioning systems have adopted new technologies to minimize this. One popular technology is Bipolar Ionization. This technology basically deactivates harmful substances like viruses and bacteria and prevents them from passing through the air filter.
Healthier Environment and Better Sleep
Air conditioners help keep a healthier environment altogether. In the 1840s, physician and inventor Dr. John Gorrie of Florida proposed the idea of cooling cities to relieve residents of “the evils of high temperatures.” Gorrie believed that cooling and making patients more comfortable helps in avoiding diseases like Malaria. A cool room helps us get better sleep, too. Our core body temperature is also a critical factor in getting to and staying asleep. A too hot (or too cold) room interferes with natural temperature regulation which doctors say functions best at between 65 and 75 degrees.
One of the main functions of an air conditioner is reducing humidity in a room. Humidity is the amount of water in the air which can cause as much discomfort as high temperatures. High humidity causes us to sweat, making the air supersaturated with moisture. When air is heavy in humidity sweat takes time to evaporate. This evaporation is one of the body’s most important mechanisms for maintaining thermal equilibrium.
Prevents Food Spoilage
A cool room can also prevent food spoilage compared to a hot and humid room. This will also slow down bacteria from forming which will help in keeping your food safe.
A cool room with apt humidity from air conditioning protects home furniture, decor and art. Heat and humidity can wreak havoc on your wooden furniture as they can lead to warping over time. Leather and other types of fabric are more susceptible to rotting or build-up of moulds as they absorb moisture. You can prolong the life of furniture and there will be less need to replace them saving you bucks.
Longer Lifespan for Electronic Devices
The primary function of an air conditioner is to produce fresh air and reduce heat in a room. If you want your computers and other electronic devices to function better, avoid overheating, and have a longer lifespan, having them in a cooler area will do the trick.
Workplace Productivity and Decreases Accident
According to an article in Scientific American, the energy the body consumes trying to cool itself down reduces our ability to think and reason. When workplaces have comfortable and cool temperatures, people are able to work better and make better decisions.
A lot of people now are working from home and having a cool and comfortable place to work takes a load off your shoulders when you are able to work in comfort, leading to more tasks ticked off your must-do list.
Accidents in a workplace are also influenced by temperature, studies also show. A study published in Nature Medicine looked at the impact warmer temperatures have on increased deaths from injury. The research cited that higher temperatures are associated with irritability, and increases in conflict and interpersonal violence. This research has shown each degree celsius increase in annual temperatures is linked to nearly a 6% average increase in homicides. Another study showed domestic violence rates increased by 40% when the daily maximum temperature exceeded 34℃.
Keeping workplaces and our homes cool, especially during hot months, is crucial in having a more productive,stress-free, working environment.
Less Insects and Mosquito Bites
When the air conditioner is switched on, it is advised to keep the windows closed, and keeping the windows closed naturally prevents entry of insects and parasites. But did you know that aircon filters also keep out insects? In fact, they are far more effective than a screen in an open window.
Moreover, air conditioners help prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes breed and spread in a temperature range of 25–38 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is lower, then, mosquitoes become inactive.
Air conditioning creates a breeze that makes it harder for mosquitoes to fly. This is the same reason why mosquitoes do not tend to bite you when it is windy. Air conditioning also dries the air by reducing moisture and mosquitoes seek out moist locations.
Finally, if you use evaporative air conditioning then you often find an increase in mosquito presence, although they may not bite often. This is usually due to such a system requiring a window to be open for such a system to be efficient, as well as making the air moist.
Air conditioning is essential for maintaining thermal comfort in indoor environments, particularly in hot and humid climates. Today, air conditioning and dehumidification, has become a necessity in commercial and residential buildings. Not just because of their functionality but also their contributions to physical and mental well-being.
In a country that is typically warm and humid all year round like Singapore, it can be a task to fight off the heat and humidity outside and inside our homes. In keeping our homes free from humidity, we adapt home designs that promote good airflow backed by great air conditioning. But how do you know if the air conditioning you have or are looking to get, fits your home and lifestyle demands?
Factors to Consider
Before we have a look at the different types of air conditioning units for the home, we must first understand the important factors to consider in deciding which aircon unit type to buy.
The physical structure of your home plays a big part in the effectiveness and efficiency of your air conditioning. The number of enclosed rooms or the size of the general area that needs cooling should help you determine the type, placement, and size of aircon you will need.
Lifestyle and Home Activity
Where the activity is nonstop and home appliances that produce heat are running for long periods, your AC unit’s power must be able to outwork all of these things to keep the house cool and comfortable. The power and performance of the AC unit are essential for this.
Considering the first two, the last (but not least) determining factor will be your budget. Your AC unit should meet the requirements of your home structure and lifestyle but should also be affordable to buy and maintain, and does not blow out your electricity bill.
Let’s have a look at the common types of home air conditioning units and the pros and cons of each one to help you decide on the type of air-con unit you should get.
Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners (PAC) is a type of air conditioner that can be carried and moved around the house to spots where immediate and concentrated cooling is needed. PACs work the same way as any other air conditioners. Its cooling system uses chemical refrigerants to absorb heat indoors and release it from an exhaust. This type is best for flats with multiple small rooms where mounted aircon is not an easy option.
1. Movability and flexibility – PACs can be moved and positioned easily and can provide cooling to any area inside the house. It is also an option for flats that have limited available window or AC slots.
2. Easy to set up – PACs can be installed by following the DIY instructions, unlike mounted air conditioners that require trained technicians to set up and install.
3. Frees up your window – Bulky window units can take away all of the natural light and ventilation from your room especially for small flats that have only a few windows. PACs can free up a window or two and allow more sunshine into your home.
1. Efficiency – In general, PACs are less efficient compared to standard mounted air-cons. PACs will need to work hard to cool down a small room which means it consumes more electricity to do the job.
2. Noise – Being portable means all of its machinery and noise are with you inside the room. It is not as quiet as other AC types.
3. Exhaust placement – Air-con absorbs heat to lower the general temperature of a room and all the heat must be expelled from an exhaust. PACs have exhaust hoses that must be placed outside the room that needs cooling– typically outside a window or the door. The size and length of the exhaust tube must be considered when placing the PAC in a new spot.
Window Air conditioners
Window Air Conditioners are the most common type of AC used in homes and small office rooms. Its cooling side faces inside the room while the heat exhaust faces the outside. This aircon type needs to be mounted on windows and narrow walls to make sure no inner vents are blocked. This AC is best for average-sized rooms and spaces inside the house that have minimal activity.
1. Easy to install – Most households can manage to install the window AC without the need to hire trained technicians.
2. Affordable – The price range of window ACs makes it the common choice for buyers that are trying to save up on costs.
3. Easy to replace – Deciding to replace it with a new one will not be a difficult decision to make as most window AC units are affordable. Replacing the old unit with the new one would generally be an easy task as long as the new unit fits the slot.
4. Cheaper option long-term – The typical lifetime of an average window AC with its affordable price can make it a cheaper option than a split type AC when it comes to maintenance and replacement costs.
1. Noise – Window ACs are generally noisy when running. The noise can be bothersome for some people depending on the time of the day or the ongoing activities.
2. Power – Window ACs are a common choice for average-sized rooms. This means that bigger spaces with more activity might not be a good fit for window ACs.
3. A dedicated slot is needed – You cannot place a window AC just anywhere. This AC type requires a dedicated slot where it can comfortably sit with the cooling side facing inside the structure while the exhaust faces outside. These slots are usually near room windows or slots are included in the structure plan for the walls.
4. Risk of falling – There is a risk of the unit falling off of the wall and down to its death in situations when window ACs have not been carefully installed and properly secured. This is also a risk during installations that can only be done from the inside. The risk must be carefully considered during installations.
Split-system Air Conditioning
A split-system air conditioner consists of two main parts – a compressor located outside and an inside air outlet unit. The sleek-looking indoor unit contains the cooling coil, a long blower and an air filter. The split-system AC has eliminated the noise of traditional systems and comes in simplistic design frames.
1. Less noise – The parts of an air conditioner that make noise are the compressor and the fan that cools the condenser. These parts are located outside which means all the noise is left outside and only the cool and quiet air blower is doing the work inside.
2. Efficiency and costs – Split-system ACs consume considerably less electricity and power to accomplish the same job as conventional ACs. This also translates to a lower electricity bill.
3. Versatility – Conventional ACs like window air conditioners require you to provide a slot near the window or on the wall. Split-system air conditioners can be mounted to any side of your wall that is wide enough to accommodate the size of the indoor unit. Another benefit of a split air conditioner system is that you may opt for a multi-split system where you can have more than one indoor unit connected to a single outdoor unit. This makes it easy to cool multiple rooms or maintain the temperature throughout a large room via the use of two indoor cooling units.
1. Price – A split system will cost you 35 per cent more, on average, than a traditional window air conditioning system. It will also require proper care and maintenance to extend the life of your split-system unit to make the energy savings count.
3. Installation – Trained aircon technicians install split-system ACs which is usually as part of the purchase. This usually means you will have to wait a certain period of time for your newly bought unit to be installed and cleared for use.
Air conditioning is definitely a necessity to improve the comfort and health inside of your homes. The structure of your home and your general lifestyle will greatly determine the type of aircon unit that will work for you and your family. The general size of your home spaces, the activities you do at home, and the overall average temperature of your home are the common indicators of this.
For your aircon repair and servicing needs, contact Yeobuild Homecool now at 6591 8747