How Much Will It Cost Me to Run an Air Conditoner?

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Air temperature and quality are among the biggest factors in home comfort. For this reason, most homes are now equipped with some type of air-conditioning unit, whether in the form of a central air system or window air conditioners. Whether you're adding an air conditioner to your home or buying a unit for a property that doesn't have one (e.g., a rented apartment), it's important to know how much running the device will cost you.

Average Costs

  • Know what the average cost of running the conditioner is. This will help you determine if the air conditioner is running efficiently. As of 2009, homes in the United States were an average of 2,330 feet, and the average electricity bill was $400 per month. Up to half this bill, or about $7 per day, goes to heating and cooling costs. If you live in a much smaller house or apartment, however, you may have only one window air conditioner doing the cooling. In this case, if the conditioner is medium in size, at the average cost of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, your air conditioner will cost about $80 per month (about $2.60 per day) to run.

Controllers

  • Buy a programmable controller for your air conditioner. These units turn the air conditioner on and off based on your settings so that the air conditioner will not be on even if you forget to turn it off. It also helps keep your bill from spiking because the number of hours the unit runs is kept constant. A controller can reduce your electricity bill by up to 15%, or what amounts to up to a quarter of your air-conditioning costs.

Maintenance and Cleaning

  • Practice good cleaning and maintenance habits. When you do not maintain your property (e.g., you don't seal cracks around windows, don't put in enough insulation), cool air can escape from your home, while hot air can find its way inside. Additionally, not cleaning filters and ducts forces your heating and cooling system to work harder to circulate cool air through the house. Stepping up your game in these areas can reduce your air-conditioning bill by up to 50%.

Needs and Space

  • Run the air conditioner as needed, and only in the square feet that need to be cooled. If you are going to be gone for a few hours, don't leave the air conditioner running so the house will be cool when you get back. A good air conditioner should cool your home in a few minutes (not more than half an hour), so running the unit preventively is inefficient. If you know you won't be in particular rooms and have a window unit, close doors to the rooms you won't be in so that the air conditioner has to cool only the space you're using and can be turned off faster.

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