ENEA’s 14 tips for making the most of your air conditioner


Emma Potter

With the arrival of summer, the use of air conditioners becomes essential for many Italian families. According to the ISTAT dataalmost half of Italian families own an air conditioning system, with a greater diffusion in the South.

However, not all air conditioners are the same and using them efficiently can make a big difference for both energy savings and the environment.

What are the best practices for using air conditioners optimally? How can we reduce energy consumption and improve the comfort of our homes?

Let’s explore together the 14 tips practical provided by theAENEAS.

Diffusion and use of air conditioners in Italy

During the summer months, air conditioners are turned on for an average of over six hours a day, with peak use in the afternoon and moderate activity at night. Families living in small municipalities turn on air conditioners more frequently.

The most common type of system is the heat pump mono-split, followed by old generation air conditioners and centralized systems.

Choosing highly energy efficient devices, such as heat pump air conditioners, can significantly reduce consumption and CO2 emissions.

Regular and regulatory maintenance

To ensure optimal operation and prolong the useful life of air conditioners, it is essential to carry out a regular maintenanceCleaning the filters and checking the tightness of the gas circuit are fundamental operations.

Italian legislation provides for the obligation of a system booklet and periodic checks for systems with power greater than 12 kW for summer ones and 10 kW for winter ones. Correct maintenance not only improves energy efficiency, but also prevents the proliferation of mold and bacteria that are dangerous to health.

Choice of energy class

Opting for an air conditioner with a high energy class is crucial for reduce consumption and reduce costs on your bill. The models with energy class A or higher guarantee lower consumption than those of a lower class.

For example, a class A+++ appliance can consume up to 40% less electricity than a class B one. Investing in a highly energy efficient air conditioner translates into significant savings over time.

Inverter technology

Air conditioners equipped with inverter technology constantly regulate the speed of the compressor, adapting it to actual needs. This system allows for optimal performance, reducing energy consumption and noise, while ensuring greater comfort.

Although they are more expensive than traditional on-off models, inverter air conditioners are particularly suitable for prolonged use, offering significant energy savings in the long term.

Optimal positioning and use

During installation, it is important to place the air conditioner in the high part of the walls, since cold air tends to descend and mixes more easily with rising hot air.

Avoid placing the air conditioner behind curtains or furniture, which would hinder the diffusion of fresh air. Furthermore, closing shutters and curtains during the hottest hours of the day reduces the heat input from the outside, decreasing the work of the air conditioner and improving its efficiency.

Tax incentives

Until December 31, 2024, it is possible to take advantage of tax deductions for the purchase of air conditioners. The “air conditioner bonus” allows you to obtain a 50% deduction for purchases made as part of building renovation works and 65% for the purchase of high-efficiency heat pump air conditioners to replace lower-class appliances.

These incentives make the purchase of efficient devices more convenient, helping to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Pay attention to humidity and temperature

For efficient use of the air conditioner, it is essential to correctly regulate the internal temperature. During the summer, the legislation suggests do not go below 24-26 degrees centigrade. In many cases, reducing the temperature by just two or three degrees compared to outside is enough to achieve a comfortable environment.

Using the dehumidification function can be very effective, as high humidity makes the temperature feel higher than it actually is, making the environment less bearable.

Avoid dispersion of cold air

To optimize the operation of the air conditioner, it is important not to leave doors and windows open while the appliance is in operation. The air conditioner cools and dehumidifies the environment, transferring heat and humidity outside.

The entry of warm air from outside forces the appliance to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, thus increasing energy consumption. It is advisable to open the windows only during the cooler hours of the night, if the air conditioner is not in use.

Using programmable thermostats

Setting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature and using cooling programs helps optimize energy consumption, especially when you are not at home or at night. Programmable thermostats allow you to turn the air conditioner on and off even remotely, ensuring operation only when necessary.

The “night” function regulates the temperature to respond to changes in body temperature during sleep, improving comfort and reducing consumption.

Combination with photovoltaic systems

A significant advantage is obtained by combining the heat pump air conditioner with a photovoltaic system. This combination allows you to use the energy produced by solar panels to power the air conditioner, thus reducing energy costs.

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Synchronizing the operation of the air conditioner with the production of solar energy, maximum during the central hours of the day, optimizes efficiency and makes the most of the available resources.

Reduce internal heat input

During the hottest hours, it is advisable to limit the use of equipment that emits heat, such as computers, televisions and household appliances. These devices raise the indoor temperature, forcing the air conditioner to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.

By reducing the number of appliances in operation, you can improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system and reduce overall energy consumption.

Importance of thermal insulation

Thermally insulating the refrigerant circuit pipes outside the home is essential to avoid unnecessary energy dispersion. Also, it is important to ensure that the outdoor unit of the air conditioner not exposed directly to the sun or bad weather, as these conditions can negatively affect the performance of the appliance.

Good thermal insulation helps maintain the efficiency of the air conditioner, reducing consumption and improving internal comfort.

Knowing your system

To make the best use of a heat pump air conditioner, it is essential to understand how it works. Heat pumps transfer heat from a low-temperature source, such as outdoor air, to a higher-temperature indoor environment, using a limited amount of electrical energy.

Reversible machines, which can operate in both heating and cooling, offer remarkable efficiency. The parameters to consider to evaluate the efficiency of a heat pump are the COP (Coefficient of Performance) for heating and the EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) for cooling.

The higher these values, the greater the efficiency of the air conditioner and the lower its energy consumption.

Energy check-up

An energy audit of your home, carried out by a qualified technician, is an important step in improving the efficiency of your air conditioning system. The energy diagnosis evaluates the state of the thermal insulation of walls and windows and the efficiency of existing systems, suggesting targeted interventions to optimize consumption.

These interventions, supported by tax deductions for the energy requalification of buildings, can significantly reduce summer air conditioning costs and improve living comfort.