$2.5 billion bad aircon habit could see Aussie energy bills soar this summer

Summer is officially here, with Sydney set for a scorching two-day heat wave that will see temperatures hit 40 degrees in the city’s west according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

With a hot summer ahead Australians will be looking to their air conditioners for some refreshing relief, but the relief might not extend to their wallets as bad aircon habits could cost Australian families nearly $2.5 billion according to new research from Mozo.

“It’s a case of less chill, lower bill for the many Aussies who are unnecessarily leaving the air-conditioning on to enjoy little luxuries like keeping the kitchen cool while you use the oven or returning home to a chilly house, as these bad habits could potentially add a whopping $686 to the summer energy bill,” said Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont. 

The survey found that Australians are particularly guilty when it comes to leaving the aircon running when they go out in order to keep their homes cool, with 42% of respondents admitting to the bad habit.

According to Lamont, even more expensive for summer budgets is the tendency to leave the aircon on while sleeping.   

“It seems many of us are not willing to kick off the covers on hot night, with nearly 3 in 10 admitting to leaving the air-conditioning on overnight so they can sleep under a doona. This is Australia’s most expensive bad habit, with an 8 hour a night AC habit adding around $270 to your bill over the summer, or $1.1 billion nationwide,” she said. 

Of chief concern during the summer heat are the nation's pets, with 26% of Australians admitting they would leave the aircon on for their furry friends during the day at an estimated cost to individuals of $216 over the summer period. 

“Leaving the AC on for a dog or cat might be necessary during a heat wave, but over a quarter of people are leaving the air on for a pet while they go out when there might be a cool shady spot outside or a fan that can keep them comfortable inside,” said Lamont. 

While it may seem like there’s no alternative to beat the heat over the summer period, Lamont encourages Australians to rethink their bad aircon habits with nearly $700 in potential savings on offer.

“Making the most of the balmy summer evenings to barbeque outside instead of blasting the air-con to keep the kitchen cool while you use the oven could slice $134 off the energy bill. And instead of pumping the air while you’re out, try switching it off and closing up the house, including drawing the curtains, to shave $67 off the bill.” 

“If it’s truly sweltering and you need to have the air on, there’s no need to mimic the Arctic – keeping the air-conditioner set to a comfortable 24 degrees in summer could save big dollars, with each extra degree cooler adding 10% to your bill,” she said. 

Energy saving tips for summer 

  • Relegate the doona to the cupboard and use a sheet - and only turn on the fan for really hot nights. 
  • Make the most of the cool night breeze by opening windows and doors (but install fly screens to keep out those mozzies). 
  • Make sure you’re getting the cheapest deal possible by comparing other providers and plans. 
  • Leaving home for the day? Keep the AC off and the house cool by closing windows and blinds.  
  • Install a cat or dog door so your furry friends can find the coolest place possible, unless it’s a heatwave and they really need relief. 
  • Make the most of warm summer nights by cooking on the BBQ, or sticking to salads and quick meals that don’t require an oven. 
  • Keep an eye on the forecast and make use of those hot sunny days to do your washing instead of putting them in front of the AC or in the dryer. 
  • If you do need the AC on keep it set to a comfortable 24 degrees rather than at Arctic chill, as each extra degree warmer can save you 10%. 
  • When the AC’s running close windows and doors and use a door snake to keep the cold air in and turn it off once the room is cool.


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