HVAC & The Rising Energy Cost Crisis

April 29, 2022

With the cost of energy rising, those of you with HVAC installed, or those thinking of getting HVAC installed, will be wary of how much it might cost to actually run. In this article, we’ll cover how much it is likely to cost, what impacts the efficiency of your equipment, as well as provide tips on how to reduce your energy bills when running your HVAC equipment.

Do You Know How Much It Costs? 

With the rising cost of energy, it is useful for you to understand the average cost to run your air conditioning, whether that’s in your home or at work. As an example, depending on where you live & who your energy provider is, having an air conditioning unit fitted can increase your energy bills between 10-40%.

Example Costs of Running An Air Conditioner

2000 Watt air conditioners – £136

3500 Watt air conditioners – £238

The estimates we have given you above have been calculated at an average cost of £0.28 per kWh, with the air conditioning being on for 8 hours per day for a month.

What Factors Can Affect Running Costs

There are a number of factors that can affect the running costs of your HVAC system. Some of these include:

  • The age of your system: Older systems cost more to run. A low-efficiency HVAC system today can be more efficient than a high-efficiency system from 15 years ago, due to improved designs and technologies. 
  • The efficiency of your model
  • How long it is running for
  • The size of the room it is cooling
  • How often the AC unit is serviced
  • The changing costs of energy prices. Prices are rarely static and can change by the minute.

How Can You Reduce Your Bill?

Increasing energy prices doesn’t mean that you have to stop using your air conditioning system, or give up on getting one. There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of your energy bill when running air conditioning:

Adjust Your Settings

Adjust your settings. If you’re cooling your room to 21 degrees, try cooling it to 22 degrees. Your system will have to work a little less hard and you’re not likely to notice the change too much. 

Generally speaking, anything under 21 degrees is too low and a waste of electricity. Similarly, in heating mode, setting it higher than 24 degrees is too high. 22 degrees is a good middle ground. 

Install A Smart Thermostat

Buying a smart thermostat will allow you to turn off the air conditioning while you’re out, but also allow you to turn it on before you get home via your smartphone. No need to keep the air conditioning on all day, if you’re not going to be in! 

Some modern systems even use geo-location, turning on when you are approaching your property, or turning off when you leave. 

Regularly Maintain Your System

Regularly servicing your AC unit reduces the likelihood of it developing worn parts. Replacing AC filters and your coils can help your system to run much more efficiently. Dirty filters will increase energy consumption. 

We would recommend getting your unit serviced once a year, preferably in the spring before you start using it through the summer months.

Regularly maintaining your air conditioning system can reduce running costs by up to 15% and also reduces the risk of a complete breakdown and expensive replacement costs. 

Pair Air Con With Ceiling Fans

Pairing an air conditioning system with ceiling fans makes for an efficient cooling system. The air conditioning can cool the air in the room and the ceiling fans can help to circulate the air, making the room feel more comfortable.

An example use would be, cooling your bedroom down using the air conditioning and using the ceiling fans to circulate the newly cooled air. You can then switch off the air conditioning overnight and just use the ceiling fans to circulate the air, which uses much less energy.

Reduce The Heat In The Building

To help your air conditioning systems workload, you can try to limit the amount of heat in the building, thus using less energy to cool it. Some examples could be:

  • Limiting the use of heat-producing appliances, such as washing machines and cookers. Pretty much all appliances produce heat during use so limiting their use, or changing when you use them could help reduce the overall temperature of the room. For example, you could do your washing or cooking earlier in the morning or later in the evening 
  • Fitting blinds to limit the impact of the sun’s heat on your property.
  • Plant trees around the outside of your home to provide shade and again limit the sun’s heat on your property. 

Stop Cold Air Escaping & Stop Warm Air Entering

Most properties are inefficient at stopping cold air from escaping and warm air from entering. If you’ve cooled the air in your property, stop it from escaping through open windows or doors, or broken seals. Conversely, those open doors allow warmer air to enter meaning the air conditioning system needs to run longer to cool the room. 

If there is a room in your property that is always hot, block it off from the rest of the building by closing the door and focusing on cooling other rooms. This will limit the work done by your air conditioning system. 

Upgrade your system

Newer air conditioning systems run more efficiently than older systems. Upgrading your system will come with an upfront cost in replacing the system, but will likely save you money over the long term due to the improved technology and efficiency. 

A++ units will have SCOP & COP ratings, with the higher number the more efficient the system is. A COP of 4 would produce 4kw of heat using 1kw of energy. Similarly, if an air conditioner has an EER of 4, then it generates 4kw of cooling using 1kw of energy. 

Final Thoughts

Increasing energy costs shouldn’t put you off running your air conditioning, or getting a system installed. With smart choices and some simple changes, you can save money and get the benefits of air conditioning.