Energy Ombudsman forecasts sunny spells and possible storms over energy bills.

As summer fast approaches people turn to their air conditioning units to make their offices and homes more comfortable places to work and live. The Energy Ombudsman for Queensland is warning people not to underestimate how much running air conditioning units can add to your electricity bill during the summer months.

Barry Adams from the Energy Ombudsman Queensland says "Just one family-sized air conditioner would add over $200 to an energy bill if used for five hours a day over three months"

Barry also recommends "It's important to set your air conditioner to 24 degrees. For every one degree cooler you set an air conditioner, you will be charged around 10 percent more on running costs."

Make It Cheaper says "There are many steps you can take to prepare you for the summer heat, use the Recycle function on your air conditioning unit, it's cheaper to cool air from indoors rather than cool the warmer air from outside", "Service your air conditioning unit at the start of summer, clean the filters and make sure the fans and vents are clean. This will ensure the appliance is working as efficiently as possible."

When purchasing a new air conditioner make sure you buy one suitable for the size of the room you're trying to cool. A machine that is too small or too large for the room will lead to inefficiencies and higher energy usage.

Don't forget about ceiling fans! These run at a fraction of the price (2 to 3 cents per hour) of air conditioning appliances and can provide a welcome relief on a hot day. Sometimes however a fan just isn't enough, so a way to save money is to run your air conditioning unit at the same time as the fan but raise the thermostat 10 degrees. The room will remain cool and your air conditioning appliance will use less power.

Please revisit Make It Cheaper in a couple of days to view our new Energy Saving Tips section, aimed at saving small businesses money on their energy bills.