How to save money on your aircon – if you dare

Aussies are “wasting” millions of dollars each year on aircon, a new study has shown.

I’m not sure if the author of the study has ever lived in Queensland – but I don’t think you can ever call airconditioning in our scorching state a “waste”.

For instance last night in our household, we held off as long as possible in turning on the artificial cooling. By 6pm, after serving my kids dinner and with sweat literally accumulating in puddles all over my body, I waved the white flag of surrender and agreed to turn on the ducted aircon.


The whole house shuddered to life with the low buzz of the air-con motors, battling against the elements to project cool air into each room.

It was heaven.

And to be honest, I don’t know how we would have slept without it?!

Turning to aircon is a habit that wastes around $55m each year, according to Finder research, particularly as too many people leave it on when they go out.

Energy expert Graham Cooke argues that we’ve become “too indulgent with our cooling”, adding that airconditioners should be viewed as a last resort.

“Save the aircon for a heatwave or those nights where you just can’t possibly fall asleep because it’s so hot,” he says.

“If your aircon is blasting to the point where you’re reaching for a jumper or blanket at night, it’s time to readjust your settings.”

While that is a fair point – aircon should be used to take the edge off the heat, not transform you into an eskimo – I’d have to say that it’s a bit of a necessity in Queensland, rather than being “indulgent”.

You can minimise your expenses (and the impact on the environment) by watching your degrees. The typical household ran their airconditioner at 22 degrees, according to the research, which is three degrees lower than the optimal temp of 25.

“We need to stop putting comfort above cost and the environment,” Cooke said.

“There are a number of things we can be doing to keep cool during summer and your aircon should be the last option.”

Cooke added that on average, most households can save $50 or more during the summer by turning the thermostat up by two degrees.

I have to put it out there: fans are great and all, and I love my pool. But the incentive is going to have to be a hell of a lot greater than $50 to allow our house to survive under a sweltering 30 degree-plus sky without turning to our trusty cooling system.