How Much Energy Does an AC Unit Use a Month?

While it can be hard to place a price on comfort, the sweet relief from air conditioning comes at a cost, and the bills only get higher as summer moves in. Your HVAC can easily account for more than HALF of your electric bill, especially during hot Florida summers. You might be surprised at how much energy an AC uses each month. Here are some estimates, and some strategies to help minimize these energy costs:

How Much Energy Does Central Air Use?

There are many factors that will contribute to your energy costs each month, so there is no one-size-fits-all estimate for how much it will cost to cool YOUR home. These are a few factors that can affect your monthly cooling costs:

Size of your air conditioner
The age of your air conditioner
Square footage of your home
The climate of where you live ( Hello hot, humid Florida!)
Where you set your thermostat
Price per kWh of electricity where you live
Insulation quality
Whether you have single-pane or multi-pane windows
Any air leaks, or drafts

Based on these factors, your next-door neighbor might have quite a different energy bill each month than you do! There is a simple way to estimate how much you’re spending to cool your home though. You just need to know the wattage of your air conditioner, how many hours you run it each day, and the price per kWh of electricity.

How To Calculate Cooling Costs

To find the wattage of your air conditioner, you can check the label on the unit itself that lists its technical specs, or the user manual. You can also find this info by searching the model number online. Most HVAC systems consume between 3,000 and 6,000 watts.

Obviously how much you run your AC depends on the season and weather conditions, but try to track the number of minutes that your air conditioner runs in one hour. Do this at the hottest part of the day, and again after it gets dark. Multiply both of these numbers by 12, then add them together. Divide the sum by 60 for a rough estimate of the number of hours your unit is running each day. Easy!

Finding your kWh rate is easy. Just take a look at your monthly electric bill.

Finally, to calculate your estimated air conditioning costs, divide your air conditioner’s wattage by 1,000 to convert it to kilowatts. So let’s say that you have a 4,000-watt unit:

4,000 watts divided by 1,000 = 4 kilowatts

Next, multiply the number of kilowatts by your estimated number of hours that your AC runs each day. This will give you roughly how many kilowatt-hours ( kWh) that your AC uses each day. Let’s say that your unit runs about eight hours in a day.

4 kilowatts x 8 hours = 32 kWh

Take this number, and multiply it by the price per kWh that is listed on your electric bill. If your rate is say 12 cents kWh, it would look like this:

32 kWh x $.12 = $3.84

In this example, the AC costs about $3.84 to run per day. If you multiply that by 30, you will see that your AC costs about $115.20 a month.

How to Save on Energy Costs

Here are some tips to help minimize the frequency of your air conditioning cycles, and decrease your energy bill!

If your AC is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new unit can have a BIG impact
Upgrade the insulation in your attic
Install a smart thermostat
Use reflective window shades on sun-facing windows
Circulate air with ceiling fans
Get your AC tuned up seasonally
Avoid the use of the oven or dryer during the hottest part of the day
Replace your air filter regularly
Save on Energy Costs in Tampa Bay, Florida

We all want to save money on energy costs, so it’s time to take control of your HVAC system and schedule seasonal AC maintenance before the heat of summer sets in. Call on the pros at Super Heat & Air for preventative maintenance and save some money this summer! Schedule an appointment today.

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