Green Oversite



Errors in Operation of the Air Conditioning System

By Bruce Barbour - September 2020

This page is about how the house is operated and how this can be improved so that the house uses less energy to maintain comfort.

I have been reading a few Facebook and other forums on housing. I have been surprised about the number of people who say when they get to winter they set the thermostat on the air conditioning to 20 or higher and leave the temperature there 24 hours per day for the whole house for all of winter.

Firstly 20 degrees is a good setting - it is what I use on my air conditioning in winter, though I certainly tolerate temperatures down to 18 degrees prior to turning the air conditioning on. However the setting of the temperature on the air conditioning to a figure and leaving it there for the whole of winter is incredibly wasteful.

Consider overnight when everyone is in their bedrooms. You do not need 20 degrees in the living rooms then when no-one is in the living rooms? It is a complete waste of energy. The air conditioning should be turned off in the living rooms overnight as soon as everyone goes to bed, if not earlier. I find that it does not take much time to reheat the house in the morning once I get up. If it is important for you to have a warm house in the morning then use the timer function, which most air conditioners have, to set the system to come on  half an hour (or an hour if necessary) before the first person gets up.

Also there is no need to have the bedrooms heated overnight to the same level as during the day. I recommend the air conditioning be turned off in the bedrooms once in bed. However if this is not acceptable at least set it to a lower temperature overnight, say 15 degrees.

During the day it is not necessary to have the whole house heated, unless everyone is home and all rooms are being used. So turn off the bedrooms and other rooms if they are not being used during the day. If the house is unoccupied at any time during the day turn off the air conditioning completely while the house is empty.

If you just want a set and forget operations then most air conditioners have timer functions - use it. The settings can always be over ridden by manual commands as necessary. You might find you save a fortune in heating energy costs.

Also see the page "How I Use My Air Conditioning System over Winter".

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