How can I save money when running my AC all day at home?

As temperatures rise in the UAE, experts advise how we should be maintaining the air conditioning in our homes

R0NMMR Someone changing the settings of a domestic AC or Air Conditioning unit with a remote control - focus on the remote. Alamy
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As we move into the warmer months, with more people working from home than ever before, an efficient air conditioning system is essential. However, it is not always clear if running your home's AC 24/7 is the most cost and energy-efficient way to use the cooling system. So what should we do?

Dubai maintenance company We Will Fix It advises that, in the long run, it is better to keep your AC running in summer months.

Not cleaning your AC air filter is like not cleaning or changing your face mask

"During the cooler months, only turning your AC on only when needed makes sense. However, during the summer months, turning your AC off when you leave the house could raise humidity levels and make it more difficult to reduce the heat again when you are back," the company writes on its AC FAQ page.

"Smart thermostats that include climate control will help to automatically manage the system to ensure the AC is not wasting unnecessary energy, but the humidity is still controlled," the company adds. "During the hotter months, instead of turning your system completely off when you leave the house, increase the thermostat to around 25 to 26°C instead. This will help to control the humidity levels whilst also ensuring that you are not running up your energy bill."

It is not, however, necessary to have the AC running in every room. Candoo Home Services's Arif Wibowo suggests customers to run units in the centre of their home to keep the temperature regular.

happy young woman using her laptop at home,sitting on the carpet in her living room. Getty Images
More people than ever are working from home, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images

"It is not necessary to have all of your AC units running at the same time to maintain an ambient temperature in your home," Wibowo tells The National. "Work out which of your AC units is most centrally located in your home and keep the internal doors open ... This should then maintain a constant temperature and save you money in the process."

The most cost-efficient temperature 

While 25 to 26°C is an ideal temperature to keep your AC set to while you're out, when in the house it is recommended that people set their thermostats to 23°C.

"Most AC units have an automatic actuator valve, which cuts the circulation off the chilled water once the set temperature has been reached (in auto mode)," Wibowo says. "Any cooler than [23°C] will likely cause the valve to remain constantly open, significantly increasing the use of the chilled water, which will cost you more money."

Keep your filters clean 

The most important advice, as we spend more time at home than ever before, is to make sure that your AC filters are clean and well maintained.

"Not cleaning your AC air filter is like not cleaning or changing your face mask," Wibowo says. "We recommend that AC units are serviced every four months."

"If you live in an apartment building, then your AC will likely be linked to the main chilled water system, [so] the main priority is to clean the filters and unclogging the drain lines," he says. "If you live in a villa or older property and have a split AC units, then in addition to cleaning the filters, the gas (compressor) will need to be checked and likely topped up (much like the AC in your car)."