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If there’s one thing I appreciate when working in the office, it’s the free air conditioning.

When working from home during the CB, there are times when the weather gets too hot for me to function, and the fan alone isn’t enough to cool me down. As such, we have to turn on the air conditioner for an entire day, which incurs a hefty cost on our electricity bill.

Now, you can turn on your air conditioner with a peace of mind with these handy hacks shared by some experts in the field.

Clean the condenser

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Linda Louskos, marketing manager for air conditioning at LG Australia, shared with Homes to Love that one of the best things to do to save money is by cleaning the outdoor condenser. 

However, if you’re living in an HDB apartment in Singapore it’s too dangerous to climb out onto the aircon ledge. 

Oasis Aircon, an aircon service provider in Singapore, says: “Call a trusted aircon services company and make cleaning the outdoor aircon ledge part of the regular maintenance routine.”

On how often one should clean the condenser, Oasis suggests “dedicating a day out of the month for cleaning the aircon ledge”. It’s a refrain echoed by Louskos, who uses her electricity bills as a timely reminder. 

Lousko also advises against hanging anything on the unit, such as plants or clothes, as these items will make it work harder and it can also be potentially dangerous. 

Use curtains and blinds, close off excess spaces

An easy way to keep the hot air out is by drawing your curtains and blinds while the air conditioner is on. 

“You want to minimise the cool air escaping and the heat seeping in, so make sure you draw your blinds or curtains on hot days,” says Louskos.

This can help to keep the temperature in the room at a constant and prevent the air conditioner from working too hard. 

Another tip by aircon company, AC & Heating Connect, is using medium-coloured draperies with white-plastic backings as these will help to reduce heat by up to 33 per cent when used on windows that usually receive direct sunlight. 

If you’re using a split system air conditioning unit, you’ll also want to close off any excess spaces so that the air conditioner only needs to cool down a smaller area.

Turn up the temperature

We tend to set our air conditioner at a lower temperature when the day gets hotter, but Lousko suggests otherwise.

Says Lousko: “When selecting a setting, try not to deviate too far from the outside temperature.”

She recommends turning it up to 24 to 25 degrees Celsius when the weather outside is 35 degree Celsius. This is so that the system doesn’t have to work harder to reach and maintain the temperature in the room.

“Believe it or not, you can save a lot of money for each degree of cooling or heating you do without,” she says.

On that note, “blasting your air-con right when you get home won’t [cool down your house]”, says Lousko.

Turn on the ceiling fan

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As counterproductive as it may sound at first, you may think turning on both the ceiling fan and the air conditioning will cause the electricity bill to skyrocket. 

In contrast, SFGate explains: “At typical utility rates, a central air conditioner costs US$0.43 (S$0.61) per hour to operate. Running a ceiling fan costs about 1 cent per hour. If you can push the thermostat setting up four degrees, you’ll reduce central air conditioning costs by 17 cents per hour.”

“Because the average central air conditioner runs at least six hours per day during the summer cooling season, you can save at least $30 per month by running a ceiling fan with an air conditioner,” it adds.

The ceiling fan helps with air movement in the room and creates a feeling of coolness with no reduction in comfort when you turn the air conditioning settings up, says AC & Heating Connect.

Energy-saving settings

These days, air conditioner comes with a range of settings that can help with overall efficiency and cut down on energy consumption. 

Lousko suggests having a look at the user manual to see what the system offers, “or if you’re in the market for a new one, make sure you do your research before making a decision”.

 This article was originally published on AsiaOne.