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    The Cost of Running Your Air Conditioner

February 2018

Ever wondered just how much that cool air is costing you in summer? Here, we crunch the numbers to help reduce the chance of bill shock at the end of a hot summer.

Switching on the aircon when it’s blisteringly hot outside is something many of us do, usually without a second thought. Have you ever paused to think about how much it’s costing you per hour or per day? Depending on the type of air conditioning system you use, the answer can vary quite significantly.

In Australia, heating and cooling makes up an average of 40% of household energy consumption.1 That’s a fair sum – pushed higher by those households that use reverse-cycle air conditioning systems throughout the whole house.

Of course, every household is different and the cost of running your air conditioner could vary widely to that of your neighbours. Let’s take a look at the things that can have an impact on your running costs.

How much does it cost to run an air conditioner?

Just like other appliances around your home, the cost of running an air conditioner can depend on the make and model of the appliance and how you use it. For example, the cost of cooling could depend on:

The wattage and star rating of the air conditioner Fan speed Size of space being cooled Temperature setting

It could range from $0.25 per hour for a small unit cooling a small space, up to more than $3.00 per hour for a reverse-cycle unit that’s ducted to cool your entire house.2 If you run the system on most days over summer, the cost can quickly add up.

Naturally, the overall cost of running your air conditioner over the course of the year depends on a multitude of variables, such as:

  1. The temperature in your state (for example generally, VIC summers are not as hot as QLD)
  2. Model / Brand of air conditioner chosen (and subsequent energy rating)
  3. How many hours it runs for during the day / night
  4. The effectiveness of insulation in your home
According to Choice’s review the cost of running an air conditioner can range between $286 to $586.4
Size Yearly Cost to Run
(up to 4kW)
(over 6kW)

How to reduce your air conditioning costs

There are plenty of cost-effective ways to cool your home, as well as more permanent adjustments that create a more thermally comfortable home. When it comes to using your air conditioner, simple strategies to reduce costs include:

  • Only cool a smaller space
  • Close off the room you are cooling to trap the air
  • Set the thermostat between 22-24°C in summer
  • Draw the curtains against the hot summer sun
  • Use fans to help circulate the air

If you’re keen to explore more energy efficient air conditioning units for your home, then you may want to consider this: systems using inverter technology and advanced design can show energy savings of up to 40% over standard units.3

Also, if you’re investing in a new system, then making sure it’s right-sized for the space you want to cool is important. If it’s too big, then it will consume lots of energy turning itself off and on; too small and it has to work extra hard to get the job done.

The final word

Stay cool and comfortable in your home, without the added guilt. These tips could help you lower the cost of running your cooling throughout the year, whilst also reducing your impact on the environment - which is a nice bonus.

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