How A lot Power Does an Air Conditioner Use?

IT occurs yearly: Summer time climate begins, the AC kicks on and your electrical invoice shoots up. Your air conditioner can add fairly a bit to your private home’s power use. 

How a lot power your AC makes use of relies upon so much on the local weather in your space, however elements like the sort and age of your air conditioner, the power effectivity of your private home and your most well-liked temperature can all have an effect on your electrical invoice throughout the scorching summer season months. 

There are a number of other ways to inform — or at the very least estimate — how a lot power an air conditioner makes use of. You can even make modifications starting from small changes to large-scale tasks to cut back your air conditioner use, preserve your private home snug and reduce these excessive power payments. 

How a lot electrical energy does a typical air conditioner use?

Air con is a good portion of annual power use in American houses. In keeping with the US Energy Information Administration knowledge, air con accounted for 19% of the power use in US houses in 2020 — a whopping 254 billion kilowatt-hours. The EIA additionally discovered that in 2022, nearly 90% of American households used air conditioning, and two-thirds of households used a central air con unit like a compressor or warmth pump. 

A typical central air con unit makes use of someplace between 3,000 and three,500 watts, whereas window items vary from round 1,000 to 1,500 watts. IT‘s essential to notice that as a result of an air conditioner’s efficiency might be affected by so many variables that your AC’s power use and value to run might range considerably. 

IT is determined by the dimensions of the home, the wattage and the BTUs,” stated Eric Goranson, a Seattle-based designer and residential renovation skilled who hosts Around the House, a podcast and nationally syndicated radio present. “However the common month-to-month price for most individuals is wherever from $70 to $144 a month in the summertime.”

The kind of cooling system in your house can even have an effect on power use, however not as a lot as you may suppose. Central HVAC methods with warmth pumps use a comparable quantity of power as a traditional air conditioner, Goranson stated. The power and value financial savings of a warmth pump are usually extra vital with winter heating. 

In keeping with the US Environmental Protection Agency, a central air con unit in a typical American dwelling consumes 2,500 kilowatt-hours of power every year. With a median price of $0.175 per kilowatt-hour of electrical energy in Could 2024, in line with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, working the air conditioner provides a median of $437.50 to Individuals’ utility payments every year.   

Methods to decide how a lot power my air conditioner makes use of

If you wish to pinpoint how a lot power your air conditioner makes use of, there are a number of methods you possibly can go about IT. One is to assemble some fundamental Information about your private home and home equipment and calculate a ballpark quantity your self. 

Your electrical utility may present some Information about your power utilization, both in your month-to-month invoice or on their web site. Along with the change in utilization over time, you might be able to see a breakdown of several types of home equipment or methods in your house and the way a lot power they’re utilizing for every pay interval. 

Nonetheless, Goranson notes, your utility’s utilization breakdown will not be primarily based solely on particular knowledge out of your family however from dwelling monitoring methods of different clients in your space and previous utilization in your house. To get personalised, immediate utilization knowledge, he suggests putting in a house power monitor. Gadgets made by manufacturers like Sense, Wiser Energy and Curb can provide you real-time Information about which electrical home equipment and gadgets add essentially the most to your invoice.

“I’ve a product referred to as Sense that hooks into {the electrical} panel and screens that system,” he stated. “IT makes use of AI Technology to know, say, an AC unit from a curling iron. Then you possibly can take a look at the app and know precisely what is going on on along with your power use.” 

What impacts an air conditioner’s power use?

When IT involves particular person air con items, power use ranges extensively. The dimensions, age and kind of unit, the temperature outdoors and your required temperature within the dwelling, amongst different elements, will all have an effect on how a lot power your air conditioner makes use of to chill your house. 

Conserving your AC unit in good condition additionally makes an enormous distinction. Cleansing or changing filters, cleansing coils, straightening fins and unclogging channels can enhance an air conditioner’s airflow, power effectivity and total efficiency. IT‘s a good suggestion to get your HVAC system serviced yearly to carry out needed upkeep and forestall small points from turning into larger efficiency issues down the street. 

The set temperature in your thermostat may even decide how exhausting the unit has to work to chill your house. As a result of an air conditioner can solely cool your private home down to fifteen to twenty levels Fahrenheit beneath the temperature outdoors, blasting the AC at a a lot decrease temperature in hopes of cooling the house quicker can really waste power and value you extra. 

Methods to cut back your air con prices

Probably the greatest methods to chop down on air con use is to chill your private home naturally when doable. In the event you’re in a area the place summer season means cool mornings and scorching days, you possibly can open home windows within the morning to decrease the temperature inside. When the temperature begins to creep up, shut your home windows, shut the blinds and switch in your AC — which will not must work as exhausting to maintain your private home snug.

One other is to guard your own home throughout the hottest elements of the day with shade — whether or not by planting timber, putting in awnings or closing the drapes or blinds. Even fundamental window coverings can assist insulate your private home from the solar’s warmth, however energy-efficient window therapies like window movies and mobile shades can have extra of an affect. Search for objects rated by the Attachment Power Score Council, or AERC. 

One other approach is to bump up the set level of your thermostat to attain optimum effectivity. The US Division of Power recommends setting your thermostat between 74 and 78 levels Fahrenheit throughout the day in summer season to maintain your house cool and cut back humidity whereas permitting your air conditioner to function most effectively. The beneficial temperature at night time is 82 and 85 F whenever you’re away from the home. 

Conserving your air conditioner clear and maintained will prevent cash in the long term. 

“You actually need to remain on upkeep,” stated Goranson. “Having any person come out yearly and repair your unit and clear IT out makes an enormous distinction. Your outdoors compressor unit on the market can get stuffed with dust and mud within the coils, which makes IT lose that effectivity. Then cooling your private home is dearer, as a result of IT has to work tougher.”

But when your system is getting on in years — most air conditioners have a lifespan of 15 to twenty years — IT could also be time to think about an improve. Whether or not you are excited about putting in a brand new air conditioner or getting a warmth pump, a brand new, extra environment friendly system might be well worth the funding. Inflation Discount Act tax incentives might additionally assist offset the fee.

“In the event you’ve acquired a 20-year-old system, IT‘s in all probability a single-stage system. When IT kicks on, IT‘s one hundred percent, form of how window air conditioners work,” Goranson stated. “Newer, extra environment friendly fashions have variable pace compressors, which means they will run at decrease speeds to regulate the temperature and never use all that power.”

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