Air conditioning plays an integral role in many homes, especially during the summer months. In order to make smart decisions about air conditioning, you need to know how much electricity the unit will use and how that translates into your monthly energy bill. Here’s what you need to know to make an estimate of the cost of home air conditioning in your specific area and climate zone.
Factors affecting the Cost
In order to calculate how much it costs for you to cool your home, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration.
1. The size of your home:
If you have a very large house, you will likely be paying more than someone with a smaller home. It is because more energy is required to attain a required temperature in a larger space (square feet).
2. Capacity (BTU) of AC unit:
The capacity of your air conditioner is measured in tons, with a ton being equal to 12,000 BTUs. This means that if you have an air conditioning unit with a 5-ton capacity, it will produce 5 x 12,000 = 60,000 BTU.
3. Energy price in your area:
The cost of electricity varies from state to state, so you’ll need to know how much it costs in your area before you can determine how much it will cost you for home air conditioning.
4. SEER rating:
The higher your air conditioner’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, the more efficient it is and therefore, less energy will be required to cool your home. So if you have a high-efficiency unit installed in your home, you should expect to pay less.
5. AC usage (Hours):
The more hours your air conditioner runs, the more you’ll pay for home air conditioning. So if you run it a lot, expect to pay more than someone who only uses it occasionally.
Steps to Estimate the Energy Cost for Home Air Conditioning
Step 1: Calculate the energy consumption (kWh)
To estimate electricity costs, you must first determine how much energy is being used by your air conditioner. An Energy Guide label is found on most AC units with the Amps and Voltage but you can also find it manually.
Your AC unit’s energy consumption is measured in kWh. To calculate how much your air conditioner uses, divide its power rating (in watts) by 1,000. For example, a 2,000-watt AC system uses 2 kWh per hour.
Step 2: Find Cost per Hour as per Local electricity Rates
To find the energy cost per hour, multiply the calculated kilowatt-hours (kWh) by the electricity rate as per your local utility. For example, if it costs $0.15/kWh and you use 2 kWh in an hour, then it will cost $1.50 for that hour of air conditioning. If you turn on your AC for 4 hours a day at 2 kWh, then you will spend about $6 a day and monthly $180 on air conditioning.
How does “Time of use” affect the cost of electricity?
If you use an air conditioner during peak hours, then you’ll get charged more than off-peak times. Peak hours are usually between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and schedule your AC usage accordingly. Time of use (TOU) pricing is a cost-saving option for consumers who can adjust their electricity usage based on when they’re charged.
SEER rating in Cost Estimation of AC
The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating helps indicate how energy efficient an air conditioner is. The higher a unit’s SEER rating, the more efficient it will be. For example, a 16-SEER unit uses about 15% less electricity than a 10-SEER unit.
It is important to note that 2 AC units with the same BTU output may have different SEER ratings, resulting in a significant difference in electricity consumption. The SEER rating can be found on each unit’s nameplate label.