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Common Aircon Usage Mistakes and How to Correct Them

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.

Learning these common aircon usage mistakes, correcting them, getting your aircon serviced can help you manage your energy usage at home more efficiently. You also reduce the need for aircon repairs and replacements saving you money over time.

Check out our aircon servicing checklist to see which type of aircon servicing is right for you.

Yeobuild Homecool offers aircon repair, aircon servicing, chemical wash, and chemical overhaul for all air conditioner types and brands all over Singapore.

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