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How Much Electricity Does Your AC Use?

piles-of-moneySummer is a time when people see a rise in their electric bills. There are several reasons for increased electrical use after the lull of spring, but the biggest source is air conditioning systems. When you start to run the AC in your home for the first month of summer heat, you know you can expect to see a rise on your next electric bill.

There are ways you can keep this under check. We recommend always having air conditioning maintenance done in spring to stop the AC from declining in energy efficiency. As soon as you notice anything wrong with your cooling system, call us for AC repair in Burton, MI—not just to prevent the system from breaking down, but to keep the malfunction from draining energy. Maintain a steady setting of 78°F on the thermostat during the day when people are home.

But no matter what conservation steps you take, you’ll still see an increase in electrical use because of how much electricity the AC consumes to run. And how much is that…?

Electrical Power and Your AC

The electrical use of an air conditioner is measured in watts per hour. Most of the electricity goes to powering the motor for the compressor. This is why simply running the air conditioner’s fan uses far less power. Watts per hour varies based on the size of the air conditioner. Below are several approximations for different AC sizes:

  • Large window AC: 1,400 watts per hour.
  • Mid-size central AC: 30,000 watts per hour
  • Large-size central AC: 41,000 watts per hour

To give you a sense of how much electricity this is, the watts per hour required to run the AC in fan-only mode is 750. That’s an enormous difference. In fact, the only appliance in a home that’s likely to use more electricity than a central AC is an electric water heater. The amount you’ll pay per hour to run the AC will depend on the cost of electricity in your area: it can range from $0.06 to $0.88 per hour.

Many factors affect electrical consumption. First is the efficiency rating of the air conditioner. The numbers above are for air conditioners that meet the minimum guidelines for the ENERGY STAR rating. There are higher efficiency systems that cost less to run, although they also cost more to install. Lack of maintenance also affects electricity use since it causes a unit’s efficiency to drop by around 5% per year. So an air conditioner that consumes 30,000 watts per hour could be consuming almost 36,000 watts per hour after only a few years of skipped maintenance. 

If you are currently looking to install a new air conditioner, energy efficiency is likely a significant concern. Our expert installers can help you determine the general cost to run a specific air conditioning system so you can balance out potential savings against the price tag of the new AC. We’ll ensure you end up with the ideal new air conditioner for your needs.

First Choice Heating & Cooling serves Fenton, Linden, Holly, and the surrounding areas. If your home had a voice … it would call First Choice.

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