Being in the ballooning business, we get to meet all kinds of folks, locals and tourists alike. Once we are in the balloon and up in the air over Oudtshoorn, relaxing sets in and we often getto have long conversations with our clients. Most often they have questions about the hot air balloon and it’s origins and how the heck we manage to keep it up in the air. But, there are also times when we get to meet some really interesting customers who share some of of their own knowledge with us. Recently we were fortunate to have the owners of Go Green Guys, a local business dedicated to reducing energy consumption and our carbon footprint. These guys sell everything from an induction geyser in Cape Town to pool covers and LED bulbs.
Air Conditioning is a welcome relief in our summer time, but a luxury many people do not have. The costs being one of the main reasons many people don’t consider installing one. So if you are one of the lucky ones that keep cool with an air conditioner, here are a few tips on how to save energy and cut the cooling costs.
1. Using your air conditioner at night
Make sure to lower your air conditioner temperature or to use the sleep mode option that can be found on most systems. Turning the air conditioner on only for a short while to cool the area and then switching it off for the rest of the night.
2. Natural ventilation and ideas
Install window coverings, shades or tint the windows, this helps prevent heat from coming into the building and ultimately will save you on cooling costs. This will keep the room cooler throughout the day and then you can use the air conditioner less at night. Open windows at night if it is cooler rather than turning on the air conditioner. A fan can also help to cool a room down and costs less to use. Planting some nice trees in your yards if possible can also make things cooler in the long run.
3. Regular maintenance
A basic maintenance plan to keep your air conditioner running smoothly can help to reduce costs. Clean or change the filters regularly as dirty filters can make your air conditioner work harder and therefore increasing your costs.
4. Think about a portable unit
You can save up to 50% of your energy costs by using a smaller portable unit, which can cool a specific area down instead of the whole house.
5. Think about new things
An old air conditioning unit might not be working properly and costing you more than it should, maybe it’s time to think of upgrading. In the long run a new system will definitely be saving you more. Your old house could also be causing some problems. Air could be seeping out the windows and other poorly insulated areas. Finding and fixing these problems can make your home more energy efficient. Fortunately most of the older houses in Oudtshoorn have thick walls which keep them cool in the day and warm at night.
6. Getting a Thermostat
Getting a thermostat will help you to regulate your temperature better. Placing your thermostat in the correct place will also be helpful. Putting it next to somewhere that is hot, like next to a window where the sun comes in will make the air conditioner start up more often than required. It is therefore very important to pick the right wall for your thermostat.
Try not to place a TV set or lamp next to your thermostat as this also gives off a fair amount of heat. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible, the less of a temperature difference from outside to inside will help to lower overall cooling expenses.
After spending an hour or so up in the air looking down at the gorgeous Oudsthoorn landscape (I never get tired of it), I was pretty much sold on the idea of buying one their Cape Town solar geysers. It seems absolutely ludicrous for anybody living in Oudtshoorn not to be using one !
The oven, dryer and dishwasher, all electrical appliances give off heat. Try to use most of these in the evening when it is cooler and the demand for cooling is lower. Switch off any unnecessary lights in the house as this will save on electric costs and reduce the amount of heat given off.
In the summer months it is also a great idea to cook outside on the gas braai or other methods of cooking to save on electricity and lessen the heat produced inside the house.
Apparently choosing the correct air conditioner for you can also help to keep costs down.
• Check the energy consumption of the different models available and choose one with the least energy consumption.
• Choosing the correct size for your business or house is important to prevent higher costs.
Control options: Looking for adjustable thermostats and variable speed models, this can help to control the air conditioner for maximum output and help to minimize energy consumption.