How to save money on your air conditioning costs this summer

According to an energy expert.
Loading the player...

It’s no secret that the cost of electricity is going up. 

WATCH: Melissa King’s guide to preparing your garden for summer 

And with survery results like these from comparison website, revealing around one in four household leave the air-conditioning running when no one is home. Applied nationally, it works out to be the equivalent of 2.3 million Australian households running aircon when they don’t need it. 

Furthermore, the survey established that this aircon wastage is collectively costing Australian households $222 million each year.

That’s a lot of money. 

While running the aircon is non negotiable for some Aussie’s who hate the heat, there’s one thing you can do to try and keep the costs down (other than turning it off).

Typically, most people set their aircon to 22 degrees Celsius, but if these settings were changed, you could save yourself up to $187 each summer.

“Aussies can reduce their cooling costs by 30% if they simply drop the temperature of their thermostat to 25 degrees,” says Graham Cooke, energy expert at  “You don’t need to blast your aircon to the point where your home feels like Antarctica.”

Graham says Australian households forget that keeping the aircon set to an appropriate temperature, and only running it when you’re home, will save money. “Aussies are leaving their aircon on for almost an hour each day when they’re not even home. It’s costing them around $100 over summer and it’s money they could keep in their pockets.”

air-conditioning unit on blue wall
(Credit: Getty)

So, what are the optimum settings for aircon?

“Research shows that the perfect temperature for your body to feel comfortable is around 25 degrees. Anything lower and you’re simply cooling beyond comfort,” says Graham. “Although setting the fan level to low will use slightly less electricity, it does reduce the efficiency and cooling capacity of your aircon.”

“The only time you really need to set your fan speed on low is during humid weather.”

Is there a particular time of the day that is most expensive or cheapest to run aircon?

“The time of day you use your aircon doesn’t generally impact the cost,” says Graham. “It all depends on what kind of electricity tariff you are on. If you’re being charged for peak and off-peak use that can impact how much you pay at certain times of the day, and might influence your cooling habits.”

hand holding remote control to aircon unit
(Credit: Getty)

What are other ways families could try to stay cool for lower costs?

“Don’t completely disregard your fan just yet. If you use it in tandem with your aircon it’ll circulate the cooler air around the room. You can also position it by a window later at night so that it draws in a night breeze,” says Graham. “By keeping your blinds closed during the day, you’ll shut out the hot summer sun and keep your room cool.”

You might also like:

This is what the Australian dream home looks like in 2018

5 benefits of sleeping with the fan going

This is how much Christmas costs the average family 

Our top picks for portable air conditioners

delonghi portable air conditioner

DeLonghi 2.9kW Pinguino portable air conditioner, $739, Amazon

According to Canstar, DeLonghi portable air conditioners consistently receive great feedback from consumers for reliability, functionality and overall satisfaction. This machine features ‘Silent Technology’ for quiet operation while you sleep. 


kogan pertable air con

Kogan SmarterHome 3.5kW portable air conditioner, $419, Kogan

Stay cool at a more accessible price with Kogan’s SmarterHome air conditioning unit. Not only will this unit keep a room cool, it also has excellent connectivity features, including voice control (via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa) and can be controlled from your phone when you download the Kogan SmarterHome app.


Love a discount? Find your Kogan Discount Code here.

portable air con

Devanti portable air conditioner with dehumidifier, $334.95, Amazon

This air conditioner by Devanti has three heat-beating appliances in one: an air conditioner, a 2-speed fan and a dehumidifier. Even at the affordable price point, this unit has features, including a 24-hour timer function, remote control operation and a smart LED display.


Related stories