How Much Power Does Air Conditioning Use? A Comprehensive Guide
Power vs Energy: Defining the difference between a kW and a kWh
Your air conditioner’s power is measured in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). Power is the rate at which energy is used. Energy, on the other hand, is the total amount of power used over time and is typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Your air conditioner’s EER (energy efficiency ratio) will tell you how many British thermal units of heat (Btu/h) of cooling it produces for each watt of power it consumes. The higher your unit’s EER rating, the more efficient it is.
In most states, residential customers pay about $0.11 per kWh while commercial customers can expect to pay closer to $0.15. So, if your air conditioner has a power rating of 1000 watts (W) or one kilowatt (kW), and it runs for eight hours a day, you would use eight kWh of energy in a day. If your electricity costs $0.11 per kWh, that means your air conditioner would cost 88 cents to operate each day, or about $25 per month during the summer.
Arizona, as we all know, is more expensive. In fact, it often ranks as the most expensive state for air conditioning, which is why keeping your air conditioner in top condition is vital to cost-reduction strategies.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of power and energy usage, let’s take a look at how much power different types of air conditioners use.
Window Air Conditioners: Power Usage Based on BTU Output
The British thermal unit is a measurement of heat energy. One Btu is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound (lb) of water by one degree Fahrenheit (F). Air conditioners are typically rated by how many Btu/h of cooling they provide. The higher the BTU output, the more powerful the air conditioner.
A small window air conditioner with a BTU output of 6000 might use 500 watts or less, while a larger unit with an output of 12000 could use 850 watts or more. So, how much power your window air conditioner uses depends on its size and cooling capacity.
Air Conditioning Maintenance = Lower AC Costs
What we do for our customers:
- Checking air filters
- Checking electrical amp pulls
- Checking evaporation and condenser coils for cleanliness
- Checking temperature splits
- Checking electrical connections for weak wire connections
- Checking freon levels
Central Air Conditioners: Power Usage Based on Tons
Central air conditioners are usually rated in tons, which refers to how much heat they can remove from a home in an hour. One ton is equivalent to 12000 BTU/h. Most homes in Arizona have a two- or three-ton air conditioner, which means they can remove 24000 to 36000 BTUs of heat per hour.
Central air conditioners typically use 3000 to 4000 watts of power, so a two-ton unit would use about 6000 watts and a three-ton unit would use 9000 watts. However, keep in mind that central air conditioners only run for part of the day, so their actual power usage will be less than this.
The Bottom Line: How Much Power Does Air Conditioning Use?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “How much power does air conditioning use?”, let’s recap the main points.
- Power is the rate at which energy is used and is measured in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW).
- Energy is the total amount of power used over time and is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
- Your air conditioner’s EER rating tells you how many British thermal units of heat (Btu/h) of cooling it produces for each watt of power it consumes.
- In Arizona, residential customers can expect to pay more than the average $0.11 per kWh while commercial customers can expect to pay closer to $0.25 or greater.
- Window air conditioners typically use 500 watts or less, while larger units can use 850 watts or more.
- Central air conditioners typically use 3000 to 4000 watts of power.
- So, a two-ton central air conditioner would use about 6000 watts and a three-ton unit would use 9000 watts.
Powering Your Air Conditioner
Now that you know how much power your air conditioner uses, you might be wondering how to keep your cooling costs under control. Here are a few tips:
- Use ceiling fans to circulate cool air throughout your home.
- Close blinds and curtains during the day to keep the sun’s heat out.
- Use awnings to shade windows and keep your home cooler.
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible, especially when you’re not home.
- Have your air conditioner serviced regularly to ensure it’s running efficiently.
- Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model if your air conditioner is more than ten years old.
By following these tips, you can save money on your cooling costs and keep your home comfortable all year long!
If you have any further questions about how much power air conditioners use or need help selecting the right unit for your home, contact the experts at Lee Collins Air Conditioning!
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