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Does AC Use a Lot of Electricity?



Ac maintenance worker

TL;DR:

The air conditioner is a vital component of your home. A properly working air conditioning unit is especially important when living in Las Vegas, or the surrounding areas. Temperatures are often 85 degrees or higher year-round, so a cool and comfortable home is undoubtedly a monthly requirement. 

Las Vegas residents who find their air conditioner running all month might ask, “Does AC use a lot of electricity?” An air conditioner’s power consumption is dependent on a variety of different factors. For homeowners wanting to cut down their electricity bill or get the most efficiency out of their AC unit, understanding how much energy the air conditioner uses is the important first step. 

How Much Electricity Does an Air Conditioner Use?

The amount of electricity your air conditioner uses depends on various reasons. On average, a home’s air conditioner can use about 3,000 watts of electricity an hour. If the AC is on all day, that number equates to 72,000 watts of electricity, but in “fan only” mode, that number goes down to 750 watts an hour. 

The different types of air conditioners, their size, season of the year, and location all play a role in determining a home’s electricity usage. Portable air conditioners can use around 4,100 watts; window AC units range from 500 to 1,440 watts depending on the model size. Most homeowner’s air conditioners run for an average of 1,600 hours annually and 132 hours a month given the season and location. 

How Can I Save Money on My AC Bills?

If homeowners notice their air conditioning bill is rising to an unfavorable amount, several methods can cut costs back down to a reasonable level. Troubleshooting tips homeowners can try around the house include installing drapes or shades in rooms that receive direct sunlight, closing curtains and blinds in rooms no one uses, and ceiling fans to circulate air throughout the house. 

Technology routes to consider would be running the air conditioner during off-peak hours, installing solar panels on your house, installing a smart thermostat to adjust itself automatically, and using eco mode to lessen the air conditioner’s demand on the home. 

What Affects the Cost and Electricity Usage of Air-Conditioning?

When considering what is affecting the cost and electricity usage of your home’s air conditioning, consider the unit size and the living space. One air conditioning unit in a 3,000-square-foot home will have to work a lot harder than the same AC unit in a 1,800-square-foot home. More square footage means a higher need for a larger unit to cool the entire home. 

Another factor for consideration is the energy efficiency of the unit. Units with higher EER (energy efficiency ratio) and SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings will use less electricity than units with lower numbered ratings. Other things that can also help are the use of fans, keeping the AC unit well-kept, and keeping the air at a steady rate. 

Is it Cheaper to Run a Window Air Conditioner or Central Air?

If homeowners just need a single room cooled, using a window air conditioning unit is the cheaper option at roughly $295 per install. But, to properly cool an entire home, a central air conditioning unit is undoubtedly the best route to take. Depending on the size and structure of the home, a central until costs anywhere from $1,700 to $10,900.  

Do Air Conditioners Use More Electricity Than Fans?

Even with the smallest units, air conditioning units consume a lot more energy than fans. Fans use 5-9 times less electricity than most air conditioning units. Fans are operating on efficiency with savings allocated to their blade spins, but the size of the home is the main aspect to consider when deciding between air conditioners and fans. 

When is the Most Expensive Time and Cheapest Time of the Year to Run Air Conditioning?

The most expensive time of the year to run your home’s air conditioning is during the hottest months of the year. During the summer, the air conditioning is going to be running a lot. The cheapest time of the year is the winter months when your home needs heat instead of cooling services. 

For Las Vegas residents, the region is hotter for longer periods during the year compared to a city like Chicago. So while Las Vegas might have some colder months, air conditioners are going to be on more times than not in each given year.

What Affects an AC’s Electricity Use?

The main factors that go into how much electricity is used through your air conditioner depend on climate, home size, comfort preferences, and the equipment itself. These are the factors that determine your AC’s electricity usage:

1. Local Climate 

Local climate plays a huge role in your electricity usage. If you are located in a region that is predominantly warm year-round, this will result in higher electricity usage. 

2. Home Size 

Bigger houses usually use more energy to efficiently cool the home. 

3. Home Layout

Big, winding, and spread-out estates require more cooling disbursement. Box-shaped homes are much easier to cool. Additionally, finished basements don’t require as much cool.

4. Home Weatherization

Improved insulation and fewer air leaks will help save energy in your home.

5. Existing HVAC 

An existing HVAC system with leaky or undersized ductwork may drive up energy costs. Ductless cooling is a much more efficient option in terms of the energy used.  

6. Thermostat Setpoint 

Keeping your thermostat at a good set point will require less energy consumption. If the thermostat is turned up; each degree tends to use around 3% more energy. 

7. Efficiency Rating 

The higher the efficiency rating on your unit, the more energy you are going to save. The only factor that affects this is humidity, but efficiency ratings still matter.

8. Your Contractor 

A sloppy installation can significantly increase your energy use and complicate the cooling process. Summit Air Conditioning in Las Vegas employs experts who work with efficiency and supreme care when installing, repairing, or maintaining your home’s AC unit. 

Why Is My AC Suddenly Using More Electricity?

Homeowners might question their air conditioner’s power consumption when there’s a sudden spike in electricity used. Here are the possible reasons why your air conditioner is using more electricity: 

  • Air Leaks

Leaks around doors and windows in your home can allow hot air to enter your home and increase the workload of your AC unit.

  • Old or Inefficient AC Unit 

With old or inefficient AC units, energy consumption will go up and your home will take longer to get to its desired comfort. 

  • Clogged Air Filters 

Dirty or clogged air filters in your AC unit will restrict airflow into your home, making it harder to circulate air properly. 

  • Blocked Vents or Registers

Obstructions in your vents or registers will restrict airflow into your home like dirty and clogged air filters. The result is making your air conditioner work harder to circulate air. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Air-Conditioning? 

An air conditioning unit has several benefits for homeowners, but some small downsides as well. 

Pros

  • Efficiently cools large rooms
  • Keeps house cool for extended periods
  • Less risk of dehydration
  • Better air quality

Cons

  • Not great for the environment, contributes to climate change
  • Initial and ongoing costs
  • Increases skin dryness
  • Can be noisy
  • Negatively adds to some allergies and respiratory issues 

Contact Summit Air Conditioning

An air conditioner’s power consumption depends on multiple factors like climate in the region, house size, condition of the unit, and other reasons. Las Vegas residents are in constant need of a properly running air conditioner to keep their homes cool, making AC services of the utmost importance. Contact Summit Air Conditioning now to book an appointment for any AC services including installation, repair, and maintenance. 

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