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Air Conditioning Bills Hurting Air BNB

A sensor to save on Airbnb energy bills

With almost 5,000 Airbnbs available for the Commonwealth Games, some newbie host may be in for surprise when the electricity bill drops into their letter box.

Sharyn Watson, director of Gold Coast-based electrical contractor Watmar, said many people when away on holiday are more cavalier with how they use power. “Because they are not paying the bill, people leave the doors open with the air con on or they go out for the day, leaving the air con cooling an empty room,” she said.

“It is all part of being on holiday, indulging in activities that you would not do at home because there are consequences – a higher than usual electricity bill.

“You only need to go onto Airbnb’s community forum to see the volume of comments about increasing power costs.”

Maria Hobbs, from Maria Hobbs Real Estate, said she manages an Airbnb and finds people can be very disrespectful of other people’s property. “I’ve seen the most unlikely people gladly cranking up the air conditioning, leave it on, complain it’s not warm enough, cold enough and then go out leave it on, leave windows open with it on,” she said.

“There is a sense of entitlement that comes with paying for a high-end rental for some reason. Treat nothing with respect and when it gets broken, the guest expects you to drop everything to fix it and then demand a refund.”

People’s pain point with air con is the cost to run it and even more painful are units in Airbnb, hotels and motels where the owner cannot control whether the unit is on or off.

Nicky Wood, owns an Airbnb 2-bedroom unit in Palm Beach “As an owner, it would give me peace of mind having a sensor on an appliance like an air con unit. That way I don’t have to rely on leaving instructions for my guests,” she said.

“As a local, I am used to the weather but a guest from another country can find our summers really hot. They tend to leave the air con on even when they are out.”

Sharyn agrees. “People go on holidays, check in, turn the air con onto 16, morning and night, leaving it there for the three days they’re visiting, snuggled up under the doona when it is 35 degrees outside, even though they know it is chewing up power,” Sharyn said.

“Imagine if you could have a sensor on the wall that detects movement in the room, turning the air con off when no one is there?”

Sharyn said there is such a device called Aircon Off. “Quite simply, Aircon Off will monitor a room to see if it’s being used, if it’s not occupied for a pre-determined time and if the air conditioning is running, Aircon Off will automatically switch it off or if preferred, put it into economy mode,” she said.

“This will save hosts thousands of dollars a year, slicing up to 50% off their power bill.”

“Our personal experiences within the holiday rental industry have shown that up to 80% of air conditioning provided to clients was wasted on keeping empty rooms cool or hot.

“A typical (2.5kw input KW/h) lounge room A/C split system currently costs up to 50c per hour to run. If it is running 70 hours a week that’s $160.00 per month.”

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