With Adelaide hitting record-breaking temperatures of 46.6°C last month, there’s only one vice we can turn to: the air conditioner. The back-to-back heat waves are a notorious part of Adelaide’s summer, but this year is predicted to be hotter (and drier) than average.

Blasting an air conditioner isn’t a luxury but rather, a necessity. And while we enjoy the relief of an ice-cold air conditioner during these days, the power bills that follow months later can send us into panic mode. So how can we keep the house cool in summer while conserving energy in a heat wave? Is it possible to use an air conditioner effectively, while staying comfortable?

There are strategies you can take to reduce your electricity consumption during those 40°+ stretches. While it’s unavoidable to use an air conditioner, you can use it wisely.

Set the ideal temperature for your air conditioner to save energy

While it’s tempting to play around with the thermostat, it’s better to set it at the most efficient temperature for air conditioning. Keep your system operating between 23-25°. This is the most efficient temperature for air conditioning to save energy, and you’ll stay cool enough, too.

Keep your body hydrated and dress lightly

It’s an obvious point, but we tend to reach for the AC remote before going to the kitchen to fill up our water bottles. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and pay attention to the material your clothes are made of. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and silk.

Low-cost air conditioner alternatives

If you can, find a cool getaway for the hottest part of the day so you don’t have to use your air conditioner. Community centres, libraries, malls, cafes, movie theatres and the beach will keep you refreshed. Then, when you get home, you can either turn it on for a couple of hours to cool the house down or open windows if the breeze is cool.

Schedule chores for cooler hours

For all those sweaty jobs around the home like vacuuming or cooking, complete them at the start or end of the day. During heat waves, overpowered grids are common, causing power outages. So keep this in mind for all those important jobs around the house.

If you can leave the washing machine and dishwasher ‘work’ until night time, there’s less of a chance that it causes an outage because there are fewer people blasting their air conditioner at that time.

Unplug energy vampires

Smaller appliances like old fans and hair dryers can cause big issues. They pull power from outlets, even when they’re not in operation. Idle appliances add an extra $100-200 on your annual electricity costs, so unplug that desktop computer and coffee machine. During a heat wave, these devices can increase the risk of outages. Leave these items near a power strip and only plug them in when you need them.

We can’t forget about the air conditioner itself. An overworked system can spike your bill and shorten the system’s lifespan. Invest in regular air conditioner maintenance and servicing. We’re happy to offer advice on how to use your air conditioner effectively. If you live in the Adelaide Hills, talk to our team of air conditioning specialists.