How Much Electricity Does An Air Conditioner Use

Australia is known to have various climates in different cities. Therefore, some cities inevitably have drier, tropical weather. To beat the heat, people tend to buy air conditioners, which is an obvious solution for the unbearable weather. But with every purchase comes questions.

Many people tend to wonder how much it costs to run an air conditioner per hour or day and how much electricity it uses. This is usually because people ask themselves if their unit is the cause of their excessive electricity bills.

How much does Air conditioning cost to run?

There are several factors to consider to fully understand the dynamics behind getting the operating costs of your air conditioner without using any device to measure consumption. But, for discussion’s sake, on average and optimal conditions, running a 2.5 kW air conditioning unit costs around $22 cents per hour. While a 9 kW Air conditioning unit registers at around $6.30 per hour when running at its full capacity. 

These two sizes mentioned represent both ends of the wide array of different sizes and capacities.

Table: Accompanying Cost to Run Air conditioner per hour

Size (kW)Per HourPer 8 Hours

How to reduce Air conditioner running costs:

  • Consider your unit’s power and available cooling space. See our air conditioner sizing chart.
  • Maintain the unit’s cleanliness regularly.
  • Keep all doors and windows shut to avoid overworking the unit.
  • To keep the cold in and the heat out, invest in “blackout” drapes or blinds.
  • Use a fan to distribute the unit’s cold air.
  • If at all possible, keep the temperature of the unit at regular levels, as colder levels increase your energy use.

Most Australian households blame their air conditioners for their high electricity bills. Less than half of the population considers EER ratings before making their purchase. More people need to be informed of EER-rated air conditioners as they consume significantly less electricity and cost considerably less compared to standard air conditioners. For future reference, try assessing how much your air conditioner costs to run and how to control it effectively to avoid high power costs. And mind you, the EER rating can be used for various household appliances as well.

Note: The calculations made are only intended to be used as a guide for future calculations.

Calculating your Air Conditioner’s running costs

People tend to wonder how much the cost is to run an air conditioner per hour. Assessing your air conditioning unit’s wattage may answer this question for you. The formula for calculating your unit’s cost per hour before considering its energy efficiency is presented below. Including how much electricity does an air conditioner use per day?

kW (unit capacity) x price/hour (based on electricity provider) = cost to run per hour (price/ kWh)

Price/kWh x total hours used a day = daily cost

Daily price x 30 days = monthly cost

Now, if we compute the cost of running an old, inefficient 3.5kW air conditioner in a 25m2 room on a 26 cents per hour electricity rate, we get:

3.5kW x 26 cents/hour = 91c/kWh or $ 0.91/kWh

Daily cost (on an 8 hour usage): 728 c or $7.28

Monthly cost: $218.4 

Keep in mind that these estimates are not accurate costs because air conditioners today are much more efficient in terms of technology. As a result, we must compute appropriately using the star rating.

Use star ratings to calculate running costs accurately 

Consumers today are warier regarding costs to run air conditioners per hour or day and how much electricity an air conditioner uses. Because of this, manufacturers have come up with techniques to make their products more cost and energy-efficient. This, together with technological developments, resulted in the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings that we see in today’s air conditioners.

In light of the EER, a different precise calculation is required for newer air conditioners with energy star ratings today:

(KW capacity/EER) x price/hour = price/kWh

Based on the previous example, if we calculate the cost to run a 3.5kW air conditioner with an EER of 3.21, we get:

(3.5kW/3.21) x 26 c/hour = 28 c/kWh or $ 0.28/kWh

Daily cost (on an 8 hour usage): 224c or $2.24

Monthly cost: $67.2

Notice how EER-rated air conditioners cost less than half as much as older, inefficient models. Get with the times and update your units and you will see drastic results in your bills. Air conditioners with EER ratings won’t only cut your costs, but they will help you save energy while keeping you cool under Australia’s blazing sun as well.