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How Much Does It Cost To Run an Air Conditioner?

How Much Will It Cost Me to Run My Air Conditioner?

The weather is hot and you’re almost to the point that you don’t care how much it costs, but let’s take a look!

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The Cost Equation

Although costs can vary, you can generally predict the cost of running your air conditioner by doing a little math!

Disclaimer: the following is based on costs for Ohio homes and average electricity costs. If you live in a different state you may need to research your individual costs.

Let’s assume that you live here in Columbus, Ohio and you want to predict what it will cost to run your air conditioner.

Let’s say that it’s REALLY hot out and your air conditioner runs for 10 hours per day (during a 24 hour period).

Right now, the average cost per kilowatt hour of electricity in Columbus, Ohio is about 12.65 cents.

Sounds cheap right? Well we have some bigger numbers we are about to throw in the equation.

Important Equipment Numbers Needed

Air conditioners are powered based on a measure of total amperage. Here’s a basic breakdown:

  • 2 Ton AC = 15 amps
  • 3 Ton AC = 18 amps
  • 4 Ton AC = 21 amps

Also, we need to note that the standard power plug for an air conditioner is a standard 240 volts. If yours is different, adjust accordingly.

Now, we need to calculate the total wattage utilized based on these numbers. So, let’s do some math! We will use a standard 3 ton AC as an example.

18 amps x 240 volts = 4,320 total watts used.

Divided this by 1,000 to get your kilowatt per hour usage.

So 4,320 is now 4.32 kilowatts used per hour.

Calculating Using Your Electricity Costs

Now, let’s throw the electricity costs in!

4.32 killowats used per hour x 12.65 cents (cost per kilowatt hour in Columbus) = 54.65 cents an hour.

Yep, a standard 3 ton AC will cost you a whopping 55 cents an hour to run assuming the previous numbers.

This may not sound like much but it can add up quick. Let’s keep calculating.

55 cents (cost to run AC for 1 hour) x 10 hours per day = $5.50 per day to run air conditioner

Let’s say it’s hot every day of the month and you run it for 30 days. So:

$5.50 per day x 30 days = $165 per month to run your air conditioner for 10 hours per day. 

Add this onto your other electrical charges and your electric bill can get pretty big!

Variables To Consider

If you live in a different state or your cost per kilowatt hour is not 12.65 cents per hour, just change the numbers above to calculate your cost to run your air conditioner.

Keep in mind, if you have a high-efficiency air conditioner, your costs may be lower due to it not using as much power.

How much does it cost to run an air conditioning unit?

While all homes and usages are different, on average the US Department of Energy estimates that the typical family in the US spends about half of its annual energy bill on heating and cooling. The average electric bill is around $180 a month, and if you use half of that on heating and cooling alone, that means we are spending on average over $1,100 a year on simply heating and cooling our homes.

Do air conditioners use a lot of electricity?

Depending on the type of air conditioner you have, it could definitely use up a lot of electricity. Some studies have estimated that in the hot summer months, using an older non-energy efficient cooling system could generate between 60% – 70% of your electricity bill. 

If you keep noticing high energy bills and your AC running constantly, it may be time to consider replacing your old unit. While a large financial investment upfront, the US Department of Energy estimates that the switch to a high-efficiency unit coupled with regular maintenance could reduce the energy an AC uses by 20% – 50%.

To learn more about air conditioner replacements, we are here to help. Contact Sears Heating & Cooling for a free estimate on a new unit! 

Is it cheaper to run AC all the time?

While it seems like you would save a bunch of money by turning your AC off while you are not home, it actually doesn’t work out that way. Air conditioners work better when they are running constantly, not being repeatedly turned on and off. 

For instance, if you leave your AC off for eight hours in the summer during the hottest part of the day, when you come home it has to play catch up and crank out a lot of cool air to reach its temperature goal. The catching up the AC has to do uses a lot of energy and you will notice that you are paying for it on your next power bill. 

Ideally, the best way to save money on your AC costs is to use a programmable thermostat. During the hours when you are not at home, you can program it to run a few degrees warmer. Then, you’re using less energy while away from how, but when you come back home your unit doesn’t have to work very hard to play catch up because your home is still relatively cool and comfortable.

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