Why You Should Think About Summer When Heating Your Home This Winter

Why You Should Think About Summer When Heating Your Home This Winter
© Provided by Domain

By Larissa Dubecki, Domain

You don’t have to be paying too much attention to the news to know that rising heating bills are getting Australians hot under the collar. Cost-of-living pressures are on everyone’s mind, especially at the start of winter when the heaters are turned back on after their summer break.

But anyone looking to reduce their bills – and their environmental footprint – ought to consider all 12 months of the year when it comes to choosing the most efficient climate control system for their home.

Electrician Adrian Dakin says Australian houses have historically failed to achieve great design standards to protect us from either the summer heat or winter cold, mostly due to the fact that weather conditions here are mostly mild in comparison to Europe.

“All that has changed now, as we consider energy conservation and the pluses it brings,” he says. “Not to mention the possible financial savings that can be achieved.”

The first step towards energy efficiency is to insulate a home correctly. “A lot of people think that’s only relative to winter, but the same is true for cooling in the summer heat,” Adrian says.

“Reducing the large temperature fluctuations in a home can be a big factor in energy conservation.”

Proper wall and roof insulation is the starting point, and sealing gaps in homes also makes a significant difference to a home’s energy efficiency levels. The added investment in your home can mean installing double glazing, tightly sealing window frames with gaskets, and tinting windows to reflect the sun’s rays.

But the biggest transformations in this space are the advances in technology. “One of the latest advancements that is surprisingly efficient is reverse-cycle air conditioning,” Adrian says.

“Sometimes referred to as ‘split systems’, these have the ability to warm your home in winter and cool it in the summer.”

Reverse-cycle systems are efficient for heating in winter due to the way they work. “They’re different to a conventional gas or electric heater in that they don’t ‘create’ the heat energy to warm us,” he says. “They actually absorb heat from the air outside and use this to heat the air inside. It’s a more efficient way of working as, ultimately, it takes less energy to do the same amount of work.”

In summer they work by taking the hot air inside the room and dispersing it outside.

“In this way, a reverse-cycle system is one of the most efficient formats on the market today,” Adrian says.

“Not to mention we can achieve both a heating and cooling effect from the one device, negating the need for multiple pieces of equipment to achieve individual tasks.”

The technology behind split systems is evolving constantly to become smarter, more efficient, and cheaper to run, says Kyle Rafter, head of product ANZ at Fujitsu General Australia. The Fujitsu General reverse-cycle air conditioning split system from the Lifestyle range, for instance, includes a suite of advanced energy management features.

“An in-built human sensor can detect if a room is occupied or unoccupied and adjust the set temperature of the room accordingly to help save energy,” Kyle says.

“The fan design also increases airflow velocity, allowing conditioned air to be circulated effectively throughout a room. Plus, the reverse-cycle air conditioning units also feature an indoor and outdoor heat exchanger which can achieve greater energy efficiency.”

Fujitsu General’s anywAiR® technology enables users to control their air conditioner remotely anytime, anywhere by smartphone or tablet using the myanywAiR® app.

“This means indoor comfort can be managed throughout the day, even if the user isn’t home,” Kyle says.

“If the user forgets to turn the air conditioning off before leaving home, or forgets to set the timer to switch the unit on before they get home, this can be actioned remotely.”

As for the all-important temperature you should aim for? While it can be tempting to lower or increase the air conditioning temperature indoors to cool or heat the home faster, it can put unnecessary pressure on the system and contribute to an increase in energy use.

In summer, setting the thermostat at 23 degrees creates a comfortable environment while minimising energy consumption. In winter, a recommended 19 to 21 degrees will achieve comfort and savings.

See more at Domain

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