Air conditioning: Getting the temperature right
What is the ideal temperature for air-conditioning? What temperature takes into account your comfort and your A/Cs optimal running conditions?
The optimal temperature for air conditioning in summer is 22-25°C
The costs of running your air conditioning vary a lot depending on the size and efficiency of that model. As a general rule, a medium-sized unit will cost you around $400-550 a year to run. (See Canstar’s cost of running air conditioning.) That cost can be reduced by running your unit at a higher temperature.
For each degree you increase your ACs temp you save 10%
We’ll all have our own level at which we find comfortable. Twenty-five might sound hot to some people but the important thing to remember is that air conditioning removes humidity. This changes your comfort level and is as important as the temperature during our humid Gold Coast summers.
This report in the Lancet refers to your comfort threshold. That is the threshold at which you’re still comfortable. It varies between person-to-person. The important finding from this research is:
Running fans with your air-con increases your thermal threshold by 3-4°
Many people think of fans and air-conditioning being mutually exclusive. You run one or the other. What this research shows is that running fans with AC allows you to run the AC warmer and decrease your cooling bills.
It’s hot! We want to cool down, but we also want to be smart about it. Most appliances that we use to keep us cool use energy, some more than others. A fan won’t cool the room but it will cool the individual. An overhead fan blowing directly on you will make you feel 3°C cooler. Fans are also relatively affordable to buy and install, and cheap to run at only 2 cents an hour. While air conditioners can cost quite a bit more, they are more effective in keeping a room cool. And with some sensible temperature management you can use air conditioning to stay cool and keep costs down.
A Brief History Of Air Conditioning
If it wasn’t for these people we wouldn’t be as comfortable in our homes and offices as we are today. Especially in the middle of a Queensland summer. But what is the perfect temperature to set your air conditioner?
The perfect air conditioning temperature
Research has shown that if you really can’t turn the air conditioning off then you should at least adjust the settings to the ideal temperatures of 25°C in summer and 19°C in winter.
Most offices set the thermostat at 22°C which is reported to be costing the economy billions of dollars and pumping hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. If we all stuck to the 19°C and 25°C rule, Australian businesses could save $100 million and 300,000 tonnes of carbon every year.
Air conditioning wars
We have all worked in offices where there has been the constant arguments over the air con temperatures. Women often turn the temperature up and men constantly turn it down. Scientists have recently discovered that, in the battle of the sexes over office air conditioning, women’s brains work better at higher temperatures. Men, on the other hand, work better when the temperature is cooler.
The study, conducted in Germany, tested the ability of 500 men and women to perform a series of tasks at a variety of temperatures. At higher temperatures, women perform better on maths and verbal tasks while the reverse is true for men. For women, the increase in performance while working in warmer temperatures was “significantly larger” than the decrease in male performance. “Our findings suggest that gender-mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the study found.